Suicide – No Compromise
Suicide – No Compromise

Suicide have long been ignored by many Revisionist Punk Apologists – simply because they don’t fit. They didn’t fit back on the early 70s NYC Punk scene – they didn’t fit as support act to The Clash in late 70s UK - & they probably still don’t fit today. Which is exactly why, of course, we love them as we do.

Formed in 1970 by Alan Vega & ex-jazz band organist, Martin Rev, Suicide began life as a performance art style ‘installation’ – gigging sporadically around NYC. Suicide were actively using the term Punk to describe their music as early as 1972 – as a poster for a Mercer Arts Center show from October ‘72 confirms: ‘Suicide Perform A Punk Music Mass’. They eventually signed to Marty Thau’s Red Star Records in 1977. Ex-New York Dolls manager, Thau, was affectionately known on the scene as the ‘Mighty Thau’ thanks to his amazing hit ratio at Paramount, Cameo Parkway & Buddah Records respectively.

Suicide’s iconic debut LP remains one of the best dressed record sleeves ever made – the blood on the cover could even have come from Rev’s own wounds – whilst the sounds captured within its grooves are still as radical as they were almost 30 years ago. The beats slash at your ears like a bike chain being smashed against the walls & stages of NYC’s grimiest venues. The intensity & integrity of their sound has no acquaintance with compromise. We’ve waited a long time for a book about Suicide:

suicide - no compromise - book cover

Suicide – “No Compromise” by David Nobakht (SAF Publishing)

“No Compromise” by David Nobakht is that book – culled from extensive interviews with Vega & Rev – with contributions from luminaries such as Stipe, Rollins & one man who has truly spent much of his recording career attempting to emulate the aural trajectory of Suicide – Bobby Gillespie – “No Compromise” is essentially an oral history in the grand tradition of Legs McNeil’s “Please Kill Me”. As Vega recently told Record Collector’s Ian Fletcher:

“David wanted to tell the story of Suicide in our own words – not to project his own ideas onto it. Despite all the music books coming out in recent years on the history of NYC, Suicide were rarely mentioned. David stepped up to the plate & had the balls to take on a task that could have been pretty daunting.”

Perennial survivors – Suicide are still breathing today – releasing records when they feel like it – because they want to – as Vega expands:

“If we’d been in it to become pop idols we probably would have quit – we may be persistent bastards – but we’re not stupid. Music & art is what keeps me alive. If that inspiration ever leaves me then I’ll know my life is over”.

“No Compromise” is available now from:

Nobakht is no the only one out there protecting the legacy of Suicide – Blast First Records are doing their bit too:

Suicide – “A Way Of Life” – BFFP 178CD

“Way Of Life” was the 3rd Suicide LP - originally released back in 1988. Produced by The Cars Ric Ocasek – this release includes a bonus disc: “Live At The Town & Country London 13/12/87”.

Suicide – “Why Be Blue” – BFFP 191CD

“Why Be Blue” was the 4th Suicide LP - originally released in 1992. Again produced by Ocasek – this release includes a bonus disc: “Live At Le Palace Paris 1989”.

Both are essential purchases - & with that in mind, hit:

Mike Twat – tMx 18 – 01/05


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