Arturo Vega, RIP

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Arturo Vega, Punk Icon
johnnyramone.com

Arturo Vega, creative designer and lights operator for the de facto inventors of punk rock the Ramones, died this morning. He was 65.

Vega, a Mexican national who emigrated to New York in the '70s, was the designer of the "Hey Ho Let's Go" eagle/baseball bat/band member's name logo that adorned their shirts for 20 plus years. He was also the band's virtual lifeline in their formative years, providing a home for bassist Dee Dee and singer Joey in his Bowery loft. 

He was a gentleman and a warm hearted, soft spoken genial man with a dry wit. He was also a champion of punk rock and its bands--when my first group (Thrills) first started playing CBGB and Hurrah, Arturo would store our gear for us at the Ramones loft and when off the road, always cheer us on--his approval meant a lot, because if Arturo thought you were OK, you were OK.

Later in his life, he became a fitness fanatic and chronicler of all things Ramone. Was always a joy to hear from him.

Like it was 1979 forever. We'll miss you, Artie.

Comments

Rest in peace Arturo. One more Ramone gone.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

I lived upstairs for 5 of the best years of my life. What the hell happened Artie? How are we supposed to carry on now. Knowing you were around was a constant inspiration .

Thank you for your years of friendship. And incredible hard work.

Your pal Don

PS dumping on the band is lame.

Posted by Guest Dancin' Don Geyra on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 5:59 am

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Posted by music and arts on Feb. 06, 2014 @ 2:58 am

Rip Arturo Vega.

HEY HO LETS GO!

Posted by Guestjean on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

...only if your life was never impinged upon by The Sonics and The MC5 a decade before The Ramones recorded their first note...

Posted by King Daevid MacKenzie on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

not to mention The Stooges , Johnny Thunders and The New York Dolls!..Ramones were great but HIGHLY OVER rated..

Posted by GuestJimi LaLumia on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

Jimi LaLumia..... you're an f'in retard!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

Guest, you are correct, sir!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

Thanks for the validation. I mean the Ramones did suck but they were hardly overrated.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 9:01 pm

Did you really just say The Ramones were "overrated"? They got the shaft by the music industry, and if anything they were grossly underrated.

Posted by aryke on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

The New York Dolls are my favorite band of all time. I played in a Sonics tribute band ("Strychnine Witch"). No jam I was ever in post 1977 didn't include "No Fun" or "I Wanna Be Your Dog". I think I know every note on "Kick Out The Jams" by heart.

All four of those unbelievably fantastic bands are part of any punk rocker's palette.

But the Ramones invented it. Period. Because before the Ramones, even the punk roots bands like these or the VU or Troggs had more than a little blues or R/B in them. The Ramones squeezed all of that syncopation out of the mix, all of the unnecessary counter melodies or wailed vocals. They were pure NOISE! And melodic, chanted direct NOISE at that.

I never saw anything in my life before or after that affected me as much as seeing them with the Real Kids in December of 1976. They were perfect.

Arturo was part of that perfection. He's part of that thing of theirs that is eternal.

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

Yes, exactly! You hit the nail on the head with this comment.

Posted by YS on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 7:54 pm

Well said. Thank you.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 8:30 pm

A great post, I totally agree with you except I personally
never heard The Ramones as noise, ever, even from my first
listen to Rockaway Beach or I Wanna Be Sedated on the radio
in the '70s, I heard a melodic punk/almost power-pop band with a
tiny hint of metal, with catchy songs and a distinctive look and sound.
And that was when I was all of 12 years old and had no idea of
punk or power pop beyond first getting into Blondie or Cheap Trick,
The Knack, what have you (a bit later on). But you're spot-on
that The Ramones refined rock and proto-punk and The Stooges,
The Dolls, all their earlier influences right down to the bone, and combined
it with their own unique wry point of view sick twisted sense of humor
that could only have come from four punks from Forest Hills.

Anyway, very sorry and sad to hear that Arturo passed away, he
was an integral part of the Ramones story and aesthetic, to
put it mildly. One thing I will say about Johnny's guitar sound was that
it was NEVER out of control, if it was noisy it was in a disciplined manner,
and he doesn't get enough credit for coming up with a melodic, metal-inspired
but streamlined punk sound with his Mosrite guitar that just chugs along
with crunching steamrollering precision but always delivering melody,
and carrying those songs along no matter how brief (or not, as with
later singles like Bonzo Goes To Bitburg or Pet Sematary, let's say).
Only a band like Motorhead, I think, delivers those types of guitars
equally as well. They might be noisy but NEVER undisciplined or
unconsidered, or gratuitous.
I never met Arturo but my friend did and he told me he was a gracious
guy. I did meet Joey once, and he was super, super nice and super
shy!

Posted by Scott B. (LI, NY) on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 11:23 am

When I heard mention of noise, I right away thought to the Velvet Underground's first which preceded the Ramones by a decade. At least we're done with referring to Sonny Bono and punk in the same breath?

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 11:51 am

The man who created arguably the most recognisable logo in music has died, but aye, let's all bicker about who did punk first. Bravo.

RIP

Posted by GingerPimpernel on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

the only intelligent comment so far

The day you fucktards do as well as the Ramones did, you will be able to comment. Artie was a lovely gentle man and all who knew him will mourn and miss him- you guys are insignificant to us and music history

Posted by Magpie on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

The man who created arguably the most recognisable logo in music has died, but aye, let's all bicker about who did punk first, that's way more important. Bravo.

RIP

Posted by GingerPimpernel on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

Thank you for your years of service with my favorite band, as well as designing the coolest logo, ever.
And thank you for being my roadie roommate all three days!
RIP my friend....
- George Tabb

Posted by George Tabb on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

Thank you for your years of service with my favorite band, as well as designing the coolest logo, ever.
And thank you for being my roadie roommate all three days!
RIP my friend....
- George Tabb.

PS- Thank you for letting us know, Johnny.

Posted by George Tabb on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

It's always about you, George, you self centered, miserable shit.

Posted by Harris Pankin on Jul. 01, 2013 @ 11:25 am

Thank you for being a kind hearted man who kept the Ramones spirit alive through mentoring up and coming punk rockers, my husband and I will be forever thankful for your positive influence. My son lost a friend, and his mentor today. You guided him well Arty. We love you for that.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

the only intelligent comment so far Ginger

The day you fucktards do as well as the Ramones did, you will be able to comment. Artie was a lovely gentle man and all who knew him will mourn and miss him- you guys are insignificant to us and music history

Posted by Magpie on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

Said the biggest fucktard of them all

Posted by Dee Dee Don't Moan on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 5:10 am

R.I.P. Punk Icon

Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 12:31 am

I meet Arturo at Performance Studios here in NYC back in the early 70's when the Ramones were first starting out and developing their one of a kind music and look. In those days Arturo dressed pretty wildly in colorful mesh and stripped shirts, wide belts and large sunglasses. We both were there from the first days of the Ramones to over 22 years of touring with the band. The Ramones couldn't pay Arturo at first so he would make the tee shirts by hand and then sell them at the venues just to be able to tour with the band. Being a great artist helped him develop a unique look for the Ramones stage lighting when he became the bands light tech. Of course he's most famous for creating the Ramones eagle logo now an iconic image. Arturo would create and hand paint most of the bands large backdrops and also that wonderfully quirky Pinhead sign (Gabba Gabba Hey!). He was a multi-talented guy and my very good friend ... Adios Amigo.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 4:18 am

Arturo was a real piece of shit! He ripped off a lot of people in the day and the stupid cocksucker was responsible for dozens of drug=related deaths with his sick heroin.

See ya, asshole!!!!

Posted by Scott Severin on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 5:16 am

Dear Artie:

You gave us an image.
The image we all know the Ramones for.
The image we all love and identify ourselves with around the world. You unified us through your art.
Punk Rock has lost an amazing artist today.
Thank you for your precious gift.
We hope you're getting some Chinese rocks.
Rest In Peace.

We will miss you.

Posted by Batuke on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 9:26 am

It's an obit for a friend.

That it turns into a pissing match over the significance of his employers (which I got into, my bad) is pretty dumb.

As far as Arturo's "sordid side", I never saw it. I'm sure it was there--I have one also and so do you. And getting holier than thou because "he was worse" is a matter of opinion now moot because he's fucking dead.

The Internet's flotsam and jetsam in one lovely place...

Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 9:56 am

Artie and Monte were the 5th and 6th Ramones. Without either of these guys, the Ramones would never have been as famous as they are.

When one passes from this earthly plane to the next, all that is important is what we leave behind.

Artie left a lot of great paintings, about a million t-shirts and a logo that will live forever.

–RIP Arturo Vega

Posted by Guest George DuBose on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 11:37 pm

I can't believe another life force is gone. I lived upstairs for five of the best years of my life and saved all Artie's loft paintings for his last exhibit. He had thrown them in the street. What happened? I feel a huge emptiness inside, personally too many people dying lately.
PS if you don't like the Ramones, fine. Just reread your History of Rock textbooks and get a life instead of dumping on people you know nothing about.

Posted by Guest Dancin' Don Geyra on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 5:51 am

God Bless you Arturo and all those who work so hard to" keep it beatin' for all the hoppin' creatins". We will never see another full stage backdrop or have our eyes singed by a full battery of stage lights to complement the Marshal stack. Kudos to John Markovich and Monty of course for surviving the assault.

Here's to vitamin B12 at the Soho Clinic after a world tour.

Here's to the memories that keep me from painting today. Always bring a Dom Split to the doormen at a new club.

Gabba Gabba Hey!!

Dancin' Don

Posted by Guest Dancin' Don Geyra on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 10:47 am

As someone who knew Arturo and was just with him a month ago helping him with his last art installation of a Jesus Christ painting on Elizabeth and Prince street I can say he was a great person in a world let alone a city of millions of assholes and losers. His artistic ability and vision was iconic and will stand the test of time forever proving his talent. He treated me like he knew me his whole life even though we only knew each other for 20 years and everytime we would see each other he was awesome. R.I.P. my dear friend...

Posted by DJ STRIP on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 11:16 am

I met Arturo @ the ol' Shaboo Inn in 1978 @ the rare double set show of Tommy's final CT gig and remained friends for over 30+ years. I am heartbroken - Rest in Peace Dearest Friend to All of Us.

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