Remembering: Alan Vega + Cover Versions: Suicide’s Ghost Rider by Rollins Band + Dream Baby Dream by Bruce Springsteen + Sweetheart by HTRK

This is happened about a month ago now but because I kind-off stop writing here last month I’ve missed writing about him so I guess better late than never. The ultimate minimal synth punk band’s Suicide singer Alan Vega passed away middle of last month at the age of 78, not bad really maybe compared some others. I’ve write posts here this year after David Bowie, Prince and Megadeth‘s Nick Menza. So I’ve got to write about this guy too. I guess each of those artist mean different things to me and everyone else too or maybe they mean nothing to you but it makes me stop and think about each of them, I might as well write something down here.

I was a bit of a late comer to Suicide to tell the truth but I would been two years old when their debut album came out. Even so I didn’t get those albums until, I think it was early 2000’s. I guess that’s why I really have to included these cover in this because they’re my into to them really. Each one totally different than each other but all still great.

To start will I just have to included this tribute by Arcade Fire’s Win Butler DJ Windows98 project with a very minor remix, don’t call it a cover of Keep You Dreams as a bit of an intro or opening track here.

Henry broken the news last month and over the years he’s done more than most for this band, endlessly raving about then, interviewing so much he could most likely now publish a book. Here’s the very last interview and it’s very long to say the least, then he sung live will the band in July last year at London’s Punk Mass which has end up being the final show.

Now back to 1993 with this epic cover, this was Suicide’s opening track on the debut album from 1978, now simply called The First Album. I didn’t have any idea about that at the time of the release of this cover, I love Rollins and his bands, both Black Flag and the Rollins Band at the time but this was one of those real not digging it moments I remember on the first listen. I loved the other songs on that album so much more at the time but as the years have gone by I just skip to this track now, then skip back to it again, it’s now by far and away my fave on the album. The album I’m talking about is a soundtrack for the 90’s movie The Crow, would people even listen to it as it was release back in the day. Lately when I spot it in friends music collections which are all on computers now, it’s only one or two maybe three tracks but never the whole thing, I guess now you can just download the ones you want. I have spot the CD lately but that’s a very rare site to see now. It’s one of those Cult 90’s films now, at the time of release goths live their live by it and you couldn’t say a bad word about or they would kill you with their eyes like you were one of his victims in the movie. I watch again a little while ago and it’s really dated by that’s beside the point, it’s just a fun film. The soundtrack does have some great artists/tracks on and I still listen to the whole thing but hands down Ghost Rider by the Rollins Band is the best track, well my fave.

I have to put up here the unedited version which was found somewhere else but it’s so much more, it’s over ten minutes long so fasten your seatbelts, this is insane!

Next is Bruce Springsteen, the biggest name ever to cover a Suicide song. Mostly likely it the most well known track of theirs too. I still like the 2008 Alan Vega 70th Birthday Limited Edition EP Series version so much better than the studio version from his album High Hopes.

The story goes he and Suicide met for the first time at Power Station studios when Springsteen was recording The River and Suicide was recording The Second Album in the late 70’s, fuckin’ hell image being a fly on the wall for that. “I’ve liked Suicide for a long time,” Springsteen once told Mojo magazine in an interview. “I met the guys late in the ’70s in New York City, when we were in the studio at the same time. You know, if Elvis came back from the dead I think he would sound like Alan Vega. He gets a lot of emotional purity. I came across ‘Dream Baby Dream’ again because Michael Stipe included it on a compilation and I thought maybe I could do it.” He’s using only a looping organ here unlike the HH album one. Someone on YouTube has made it using the classic old silent film called Sunrise and it’s a prefect match.

I do have one of those 10″ which was #2815. Oh, also got the Primal Scream & Conrad Standish ‎– Diamonds, Furcoat, Champagne 10″ one too which was #2901 and I really should have the other six 10″ in the set at the time but I didn’t in the end but they’re some other great versions there but here’s Broooooce!

HTRK might just be the best cover of them all or am I just a little biased because they’re one of my fave bands of all-time. This is the only official released cover song they ever done even if I’ve found another one here. This was recorded for the same 70th Birthday project as the above track but didn’t come out until a couple years later.

Thinking about it now Nick Cave and his Grinderman was report doing a cover too but I’ve never ever seen/heard that. The only thing thing was both bands played live together in 2007 which which was a bit of a trainwreck but you can find bits here and here. It was the very first Grinderman show with Suicide playing too but the good idea just turn into a terrible jam session, I remember reading some bad reviews about that show but not as bad as when Grinderman support The White Stripes at Mansion Garden, NYC but both gigs now seem pretty funny.

Anyway HTRK cover track was released as the b-side to Eat Yr Heart on 12″ in August 2011, the a-side is from the now classic album Work (Work, Work) released in September of the same year, I’ve got this 12″ too which is #173. This cover and that album was the last one Sean Stewart, founding member worked on with them before passing away on 18.3.10. Amazing both this song and that album are five years old now, almost I should say. I found it is still on Bampcamp so that what I’ve got here, can’t just have endless YouTube clips, hey? Originally the track was on The Second Album as track three which came out it the end in 1980. These two guys was so ahead of there time, it’s unbelievable.

Somewhere along the way I picked up both The First Album and The Second Album by Suicide around 2000’s somewhere, I think it at Dadas. My copy of the debut album is only got the red print on the cover, the black highlights over the top of red is missing. Someone fuck-up at the factory that day, did wonder if it was worth more or something like that but I think that’s only with first editions vinyl. I enjoy these albums the most out of all early electronic music, mos def better than say Kraftwerk but not saying they’re bad anything I enjoy Suicide better. LOL, those last four words are pretty funny out of context of the rest: I enjoy suicide better. Or do I just have really bad taste in humor?

So for the main image I’ve got below and top is Alan Vega (middle) with two member of yet another all-time fave band The Drones, Gaz on the left and Dan on the right. Another happy snap taken from Facebook page but notices how they’re standing in front of Family Fun, yes it’s fun for the whole family with Suicide & The Drones. A little note on the same page reads:

RIP alan vega… what a guy. we got to play with him and suicide a couple of times and got to see one of his exhibitions too. we were so lucky. he was a dude… like instead of saying “goodbye” or “seeya” to people he would actually say “keep your dreams man” for real. just the coolest guy ever.

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 I forgot until now The Drones did a bit of a re-working of Alan Vega’s song from one of his solo albums, you couldn’t call it a cover too. The Drones used that title and some of the lyrics but also included words from John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme which I could never figure out why? Anyway here’s it to finish off, bonus track or outro song. It’s from the mid-2000’s comp album of old songs called The Miller’s Daughter. I Believe is the earliest recording of them, recorded in his lounge room in Perth 1999 with a totally different line-up, only Gaz is still in the band today.

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