From the name you'd probably assume they're a Heavy Metal bandnote . But, in fact, Suicide has been an incredibly influential electronic Punk Rock band. Besides the fact that they were the first to use the phrase "punk music" to advertise one of their concerts way back in 1970, their "synthpunk" style proved to be an enormous influence on Synth-Pop, Techno, Industrial and many other electronics-based styles.
Suicide was formed back in 1970 by artist-turned-vocalist Alan Vega and multi-instrumentalist Martin Rev. After gaining some attention for their confrontational antics in concerts, they finally got around to releasing their first album Suicide in 1977. At this point, their sound was largely defined by Vega's Rockabilly-styled, creepy vocals and Rev's minimal arrangements, which consisted of primitive drum machines and simple, endlessly repetitive keyboard riffs, played initially on a beaten-up Farfisa organ before he could actually afford a synth. During this time they also released a famous live recording, 23 Minutes Over Brussels, which showed a Suicide concert degenerating into a riot.
By the time of their second Self-Titled Album in 1980, they hooked up with Ric Ocasek of The Cars as a Record Producer. Consequently, their second album was slightly more accessible and Synth-Pop-oriented than their nightmarish debut. Afterwards, Suicide lay dormant for a long time as Vega and Rev released solo albums - the most high-profile thing Vega did in this period was to contribute to The Sisterhood's album Gift. During their long hiatus they began to be recognized as an important influence on electronic and Alternative Rock music, and they came together every once in a while to release new albums.
Beside heavily influencing electronic music, Suicide have also had a major influence on various rock artists as varied as Joy Division, Radiohead, and most notably Bruce Springsteen, whose critically acclaimed album Nebraska clearly showed their influence. (Springsteen later covered their "Dream Baby Dream".) And as noted, Ric Ocasek was another fan.
On July 16, 2016, Alan Vega died at the age of 78 of natural causes.
- Suicide (1977)
- 23 Minutes Over Brussels (1978) - live album
- Suicide (1980) - later reissues include the 1975 rehearsal tapes as a second disc
- Half Alive (1981) - live album with additional demo recordings
- Ghost Riders (1986) - live album
- A Way of Life (1988)
- Why Be Blue? (1992/2005) - issued in two formats; the original Y Be Blue was produced by Ocasek, and Rev completely remixed the album for the 2005 reissue.
- American Supreme (2002)
- Live 1977-1978 (2008)
"Rocket rocket USA/Troping on down the highway..."
- Bath Suicide: The original cover of their second self-titled album, which shows blood running into a bathtub drain and a hand. The back cover shows that it's just a woman who's cut herself shaving her legs.
- Careful with That Axe: "Frankie Teardrop" has ear piercing screams standing in for gunshots.
- Cool Old Guy: Alan Vega was pushing 40 when the first album was released, though this was only revealed later. He certainly qualified in his later years.
- Cool Shades: Martin Rev is almost never pictured without his oversized biker shades.
- Cover Version: Frequently in live shows, they'd do a version of Garage Rock classic "96 Tears" by ? And The Mysterians. Thanks to Martin Rev, their rendition is a minimal fragment of the original.
- Epic Rocking: "Frankie Teardrop," "Harlem", "Do It Nice", "Dream Baby Dream."
- Intentionally Awkward Title: If you like this band on Facebook, your friends will wonder if you really need help.
- Large Ham: Alan Vega with all of his stage antics, mannerisms, and method of delivery place him on the far more bizarre side of this.
- Lighter and Softer: Why Be Blue, in some respects.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Rocket USA", from the first album, is as catchy and upbeat as early Suicide gets. And then you read the lyrics:Riding around in a killer's car
It's doomsday doomsday
Speeding on down the skyway
100 miles per hour
And I don't care
- Metal Scream: "Frankie put the gun to his head..... mmm...ahhhh... mmmm.... AND WENT..... YYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"
- Murder Ballad: "Frankie Teardrop".
- Pater Familicide: "Frankie Teardrop" again.
- Proto Punk: They are seen as a progenitor to punk, eventually evolving into a punk band.
- Three Chords and the Truth: In their own unusual way.
- Ur-Example: For Synth-Pop and Industrial.