Life on the creative edge with a New York City legend.
Few albums have stood the test of time like Suicide's 1977 debut. A mix of keyboard minimalism, rock & roll nostalgia and terrifying menace, it exemplified the sound that Martin Rev and Alan Vega had been sculpting for over half a decade in the hardscrabble downtown of New York City. Vega, the chain-swinging, self-mutilating frontman, led the band from empty rooms and artists' warehouses to riot-inducing opening slots for the likes of Elvis Costello.
But behind Vega's punk spirit, keyboardist Martin Rev stood as the musical backbone of the influential group. Born in the Bronx, Rev came up on a musical diet of classic rock & roll and free-thinking jazz. Despite Suicide's dalliances with fame, Rev has always felt most comfortable pushing the creative envelope. Starting out with his transcendent 1980 solo LP, Rev has weaved an unpredictable path over the course of his solo career. His latest album, Demolition 9, released on his old friend Craig Leon's label, alternates between MIDI-driven modern composition, desiccated punk and blistering noise that would make a Merzbow fan wince. Rev sat down with RA's Matt McDermott in his native NYC last month for a look back on a career that's influenced avant-garde and DIY culture alike.
Thanks for Alex from Queens for recording assistance.