American Supreme by Suicide 2002


American Supreme by Suicide Alan Vega & Martin Rev
American Supreme by Suicide Alan Vega & Martin Rev


Listen to American Supreme by Suicide…………………………….

Televised Executions


Misery Train


Swearin’ To The Flag


Beggin’ For Miracles


American Mean


Wrong Decisions


Death Machine


Power Au Go-Go


Dachau, Disney, Disco


Child, It’s A New World


I Don’t Know





American Supreme  is the fifth and final studio album by the American band Suicide. It was released in 2002 on Mute Records and was the group’s first self-produced album. The album received generally favorable reception with positive reviews praising its experimental and difficult listening experience while negative reviews found the album sounding dated even in comparison to the group’s first two albums released decades prior.

Suicide was an American musical duo, intermittently active between 1968 and 2016, composed of vocalist Alan Vega and instrumentalist Martin Rev. The group’s pioneering music made use of minimalist electronic instrumentation and primitive drum machines, and their early performances were confrontational and often ended in violence. They were among the first groups to use the phrase punk music in an advertisement for a concert in 1970.

Suicide Alan Vega & Martin Rev
CANADA – SUICIDE Martin Rev & Alan Vega (Photo by Peter Noble/Redferns)

Though never widely popular among the general public, Suicide have been recognized as among the most influential acts of their era. Their debut album Suicide(1977) was described by Entertainment Weekly as “a landmark of electronic music,” while AllMusic stated that it “provided the blueprints for post-punksynth pop, and industrial rock.”Rolling Stone called them “an unmeasurable influence on the industrial dancenoisetechnoambient, and electronic scenes of the 1980s and 1990s.”

Suicide took its name from the title of a Ghost Rider comic book titled Satan Suicide, a favorite of Alan Vega. Rev’s simple keyboard riffs (initially played on a battered Farfisa organ combined with effects units, before changing to a synthesizer) were accompanied by primitive drum machines, providing a pulsing, minimalistic, electronic backdrop for Vega’s murmuring and nervy vocals. It was the first band to use the term punk to describe itself, which the band had adopted from an article by Lester Bangs. Some of the band’s earliest posters use the terms punk music and punk music mass.

Suicide Alan Vega & Martin Rev
Suicide Alan Vega & Martin Rev

Suicide emerged alongside the early glam punk scene in New York, with a reputation for its confrontational live shows. Many of the band’s early shows were at the Mercer Arts Center, alongside bands such as the New York Dolls and Eric Emerson and the Magic TrampsDavid Johansen once played harmonica with Suicide in an early show there. Vega and Rev both dressed like arty street thugs, and Vega was notorious for brandishing a length of motorcycle drive chain onstage. Vega once stated “We started getting booed as soon as we came onstage. Just from the way we looked they started giving us hell already.”  This sort of audience confrontation was inspired by Vega’s witnessing of an Iggy and the Stooges concert at the New York State Pavilion in August 1969, which he later described as “great art”. After the collapse of the Mercer Arts Center in 1973, Suicide played at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB, often sharing the bill with emerging punk bands. Their first album was reissued with bonus material, including “23 Minutes Over Brussels“, a recording of a Suicide concert that deteriorated into a riot.

Suicide Alan Vega & Martin Rev
Suicide Alan Vega & Martin Rev

The band’s first album, Suicide (1977), was released independently on Red Star Records. Although initial press reviews were divided (with Rolling Stone in particular giving it a scathing review), media recognition has changed over the years. One critic writes: “‘Che”, “Ghost Rider”—these eerie, sturdy, proto-punk anthems rank among the most visionary, melodic experiments the rock realm has yet produced.” Of note is the ten-minute “Frankie Teardrop“, which tells the story of a poverty-stricken 20-year-old factory worker pushed to the edge. Critic Emerson Dameron writes that the song is “one of the most terrifying, riveting, absurd things I’ve ever heard.” Nick Hornby in his book 31 Songs described “Frankie Teardrop” as something you would listen to “only once”.

Suicide Alan Vega & Martin Rev
Suicide Alan Vega & Martin Rev

Suicide’s albums of the late 1970s and early 1980s have now become regarded as some of the most influential recordings of their time and helped shape the direction of indie rockindustrial music, and dance music. Among others, Steve Albini (Shellac, Rapeman, Big Black), PanthéreGang Gang DanceThe Jesus and Mary ChainThe Sisters of MercyShe Wants RevengeHenry RollinsJoy Division/New OrderSoft CellNick CaveD.A.F.Erasure, the music of Giant HaystacksThe KLFMinistryNine Inch Nails OMDPet Shop BoysTears for FearsCassandra ComplexMudhoneyNitzer EbbSigue Sigue SputnikRadioheadKap BambinoSpacemen 3SpiritualizedAngel Corpus Christi (covers of Dream Baby Dream and Cheree with Alan Vega guest vocals), Michael GiraMGMTSky FerreiraSonic BoomLoopThe Fleshtones (both of whom have recorded cover versions of “Rocket USA”), Ric Ocasek of The CarsMi AmiDepeche ModeJello Biafra of the Dead KennedysThurston Moore of Sonic YouthR.E.M.DevoUltravoxMassive AttackAirAutechreThe Chemical BrothersDaft PunkAphex Twin and The KillsBono Vox and Bruce Springsteen have all listed Suicide as an influence.Bruce Springsteen was also influenced by the band, as evident by the song “State Trooper” from his album Nebraska. Furthermore, Springsteen also used a solo keyboard version of “Dream Baby Dream” to close the concerts on his 2005 Devils & Dust Tour, and released a studio version of his cover on his 2014 album High Hopes.

In 1986, Alan Vega collaborated with Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters of Mercy on the ‘Gift’ album, released under the name of ‘The Sisterhood’. Vega and Rev have both released solo albums, and Suicide released their first album in over a decade with 2002’s American Supreme. Sales, however, were slow and critical reception was mixed.

In 2005, SAF Publishing put out Suicide No Compromise, a “docu-biography” by David Nobahkt, which featured extensive interviews with Vega and Rev as well as many of their contemporaries and famous fans.

In 2008, Blast First Petite released a monthly, limited edition series of 10″ Vinyl EP’s and downloads by major artists, honoring Alan Vega’s 70th birthday. Among those paying tribute were Bruce Springsteen, Primal Scream, Peaches, Grinderman, Spiritualized, The Horrors, +Pansonic, Julian Cope, Lydia Lunch, Vincent Gallo, LIARS, & The Klaxons. The label also released “Suicide: 1977–1978”, a 6 CD box-set, the same year.

In September 2009, the group performed their debut LP live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties-curated Don’t Look Back series.

In May 2010 the band performed the entire first album live at two London concerts, double billed with Iggy & The Stooges performing Raw Power. The band performed their final concert at London’s Barbican Centre on 9th July 2015. Billed as ‘A Punk Mass’, the show featured solo sets by both Rev and Vega before a headlining Suicide performance. Henry RollinsBobby Gillespie and Jehnny Bethmade guest appearances. The concert received positive reviews.

Alan Vega died in his sleep on July 16, 2016 at the age of 78. His death was announced by musician and radio host Henry Rollins, who shared an official statement from Vega’s family on his website.



The Story of Suicide’s ‘Frankie Teardrop,’ the Most Terrifying Song Ever

The Story behind Suicide’s “Frankie Teardrop”

Bruce Springsteen called shocking tune “one of the most amazing records … I ever heard”

Alan Vega, who died Saturday July 16, 2016 at the age of 78, was a New York City-based visual artist who loved extremes, especially the confrontational rock & roll of the Stooges, the roaring drones of composer La Monte Young, and the beat-driven electronic art of Silver Apples. These influences all converged in “Frankie Teardrop,” a nihilist fable by his group Suicide. It was the ultimate expression of his proto-punk vision and one of the most terrifying songs ever recorded. Lou Reed once said he wished he’d written it.

How late singer channeled rockabilly into a nightmarish electro-punk sound

Vega — along with Martin Rev, his partner in sonic mayhem — was older than his CBGB peers. In fact, Suicide performed at the club before Patti Smith, Talking Heads, the Ramones, Blondie or Television, back in the early Seventies, when it was still called Hilly’s on the Bowery. For “Frankie Teardrop,” the group was influenced by their Sixties rock forebears, specifically the Doors’ “The End” and the Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray,” extended bad-trip murder narratives that unspooled like art-films over abstracted musical backdrops. Yet “Frankie Teardop”‘s howling electronic assault sounded like nothing that came before. Anticipating new wave, no wave, synth pop, industrial, electro and noise, it was in its way far more radical than the punk bands it preceded.

Suicide’s sound was so radical that, even amidst punk’s foment, the group didn’t get to record an LP until 1977. The 10-minute-plus “Frankie Teardrop” was the centerpiece of their debut. At the time, their electronic gear included little more than a beat-up Farfisa organ, a primitive drum machine, some Electro-Harmonix distortion pedals and a transistor radio good for ambient white noise and feedback generation. Suicide recorded with producer Craig Leon, a 25-year-old who helped create the debuts by Blondie and the Ramones. Leon had the idea to run Vega’s voice, along with some of Rev’s keyboards, through an early Eventide digital-delay pushed to the distortion point, a technique he’d learned from Jamaican producer Lee Perry during a Bob Marley session.

The song’s original name was “Frankie Teardrop, the Detective Meets the Space Alien.” But Vega transformed the narrative when he read a newspaper story about a guy who lost his factory job and, unable to cope, killed his wife, his kid, and then himself. Vega developed the narrative of a 20-year-old’s crash and burn: already a father, working 10-hour days to feed his family but unable to make ends meet, the character ultimately faces eviction, at which point he snaps. The breathless narration is interspersed with bloodcurdling shrieks, delivered over Rev’s relentless drum machine patter and a menacing turbine-like drone, culminating with the indictment, “We are all Frankies.”

The song taps into something primal and horrifically familiar. In a 1984 Rolling Stone cover story, Bruce Springsteen spoke about Suicide’s influence on his Nebraska LP. “Oh, my God! That’s one of the most amazing records I think I ever heard. I love that record,” he said of “Frankie Teardrop.” You could certainly hear the song’s influence on “State Trooper,” Nebraska‘s harrowing highway murder ballad.

Decades later, the sound of Vega’s leering “let’s hear it for Frankie!” says plenty about America’s society of spectacle, and its magnification by social media D.I.Y. myth creation. Offering no solutions or comfort, just bone-chilling empathy that’s difficult to confront, let alone accept, “Frankie Teardop” remains as tragically relevant as the day it was written.


By Will Hermes  July 18, 2016