Skip to comments.Arturo Vega, Ramones' Beloved Artistic Director and Confidant, Dead at 65
Posted on 06/09/2013 11:27:23 AM PDT by a fool in paradise
Vega designed the Ramones' legendary logo
Arturo Vega, the man who designed the Ramones' indelible logo, and was the band's artistic director for 22 years, died Saturday (June 8), announced friend and Please Kill Me author Legs McNeil on his Facebook page. First reported by Slicing Up Eyeballs, McNeil wrote: "Sleep gently my dear friend, you were the must optimistic, jubilant and fun pal anyone could wish for. I don't know what the world will be like without, nor do I want to even imagine it... But I know you will find eternal happiness wherever you end up....I love you Arturo."
Vega, an actor/painter from Chihuahua, Mexico, who lived in a Bowery loft near CBGB, befriended the group and even let Joey and Dee Dee live with him before the release of the Ramones' first album. It was during this time that Vega developed the band's classic American-bald-eagle logo. As he explained in Ramones: An American Band, the Jim Bessman biography: "I saw them as the ultimate American band. To me, they reflected the American character, in general an almost childish, innocent aggression. Then the first time I went to Washington, D.C., I was impressed by the official atmosphere...I thought, 'The Great Seal of the President of the United States would be perfect for the Ramones, with the eagle holding arrows to symbolize strength and the aggression that would be used against whomever dares to attack us and an olive branch, offered to those who want to be friendly. But...instead of the olive branch, we had an apple tree branch, since the Ramones were American as apple pie. And since Johnny was such a baseball fanatic, we had the eagle hold a baseball bat instead of the [Great Seal's] arrows."
From the beginning, Vega's t-shirts, silk-screened with the logo, provided the Ramones with their most consistent source of income. In later years, he became the band's most devoted archivist and historian, as well as an insightful pop-culture observer. In SPIN's 2012 oral history of Converse's Chuck Taylor sneakers, Vega noted wryly of the shoe: "Chuck Taylors had that retro-trash-Americana thing, and punk-rock style was all about going back to the '50s and pretending hippies didn't happen."
No further details of Vega's death are currently available.
My favorite Ramones song:
Hey! Ho! Let’s go...to heaven.
Is there anyone associated with this band still alive?
I like the baseball bat.
Sad. Way too young. The Ramones were the best of the punk Rock Era. True non-conformists. For those of you too old or too young to have followed the Ramones, when everything around them was going commercial and following the big liberal hollywood machine, here was Johnny Ramone at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony -
“God bless America and God bless President Bush”
He stuck it to the lefties in the audience one last time! Priceless to watch. Unfortunately, there is nothing around like this today for the current generation.
Tommy, the original drummer, and later their producer is still alive:
http://www.unclemonk.com/home.html He's now playing bluegrass infused music (generally gigging in NY and Tennessee).
As are Marky Ramone (formerly of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, don't know why Richard won't get back with the band to do a show with Ivan Julian and Mark Bell), Clem Burke (also of Blondie, played drums as Elvis Ramone), and Richie (another drummer (http://www.richieramone.com/)), and CJ Ramone (Dee Dee's replacement).
Also Danny Fields (formerly of Andy Warhol's Expanding Plastic Inevitable who performed along with The Velvet Underground and later the Ramones' manager).
John Holstrom (who worked at Punk magazine and drew the back cover for Rocket to Russia).
And maybe the guy who wore the pinhead costume at their concerts (his name eludes me at this point).
I didn't bother will listing all of the album cover artists or even producers. The above were the core associates.
Greg Calbi - senior mastering engineer at Sterling Sound - one of the great mastering engineers!