Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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R.I.P Arturo Vega, 1947-2013

A belated goodbye to "the fifth Ramone" (he died June 8'th) Arturo Vega designed the famous Ramones logo which has since grown into a pop culture icon rivaling the popularity of Che Guevara' s image.

Mr. Vega not only created logos, backdrops and T-shirts for the band (reportedly the sale of the Vega designed T-shirts represented a bigger income for The Ramones than the sale of records...) he also designed the lights used when the band performed on stage.

I had the pleasure of witnessing that part of Mr. Vega's talents back in the late 1980's, when the Ramones played in Copenhagen's Pumpehuset . During their performance of "Surfin' bird" (a cover of the surf-rock classic by the Trashmen) there is a break in the song where the band stops playing and you only hear Joey Ramone saying "a-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba.." into the microphone, the sound of his voice shifting from the left side to the right side stack of amplifiers (and what a mighty stack that was..), additionally the lights have been turned off, we the humble audience are standing in complete darkness... eventually the Ramones slam back into the song, perfectly timed with the lights returning, aimed at an obscured angle, blasting a tri-fork of light down on the stage, the lights' colours representing those of the American flag:  RED-WHITE-BLUE...Dee-Dee and Johnny Ramone now standing on top of the amplifiers in their signature laid back poses,  guitar and bass resting potently between knee and thigh height, the song playing at maximum volume.

A rock-n-roll moment.

Thanks, Arturo Vega.

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