ARTURO VEGA (RIP), CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE RAMONES

BACK TO INDEX PAGE OF RAMONES MEMBERS.

Copyright: Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone, Richie Ramone, Dr. Dot etc.

SECTIONS IN THIS MY MEMORIAL SECTION FOR ARTURO VEGA:
1) INTRODUCTION.
2) FIFTH RAMONE (CLICK HERE).
3) MESSAGE FROM RICHIE RAMONE (CLICK HERE).
4) RAMONESWORLD.COM....(CLICK HERE).
5) MY SMALL INTERVIEW WITH ARTURO OF HIS ARTISTIC SIDE (CLICK HERE).
6) ST. MARKS CHURCH MEMORIAL FOR ARTURO. TEXT BY DR. DOT (CLICK HERE).


I want to explain here also story of Arturo Vega... June 8, 2013, dear Arturo Vega passed away at age 64, he had to fight with aggressive cancer, everything happened fast. RIP dear Arturo... Arturo was 64 even in many places is told he was 65 and born in 1947. Correct is October 13, 1948, I got information from Arturo's relative.
Always when I was staying at Arturo's apartment in New York, he was taking good care of himself: exercising lot and eating healthy. He was in a good shape.
But when Arturo found out of a cancer, it was too late. A time Arturo found out of cancer and went to hospital, cancer was all around in his body. Arturo was gone in around week.
Ramones' tour manager Monte A. Melnick griefed how same unfortunately happened with Johnny Ramone.
- Please, everybody go to the doctor (at least) once a year, please, Monte said in Live And Loud Radio's memorial program for Arturo.

Arturo Vega (born in Sierra, Chihuahua, Mexico, October 13, 1948) was the Ramones creative director since 1974, he designed the Ramones' eagle logo and most all of the Ramones art, shirts, special collections, etc. He worked as the Ramones lighting director. With the Ramones he worked on 2 261 shows, and only missed 2 Ramones shows altogether. He definitely was one of their closest friends.


2) FIFTH RAMONE
In my opinion, Arturo was the most important person in the Ramones after Ramones members. I mean with "important" word, that Arturo was the one who was always there with guys and to the end (2013) he did everything with a big heart. He really knew how Ramones history is. I of course spoke personally with Arturo also of early days. On my document interview he explains how in one day in 1972 or 1973 Dee Dee just opened his (Arturo's) door, put his head in and said I am Dee Dee. Dee Dee thought Arturo have to be a cool because Arturo listened and liked of similar music he liked. Dee Dee's girlfriend lived in same building. Dee Dee used to visit Arturo, talk and in one day he said he is getting a band together. Arturo says Ramones kind of was Dee Dee's idea.

Arturo has explained me how Joey lived in his apartment for years. Dee Dee stayed there for months, maybe a year. Arturo couldn't remember that exactly as they were partying a lot.
After Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Ramone passed away, some people in the Ramones family started talking shit of Arturo. I definitely know how mad Johnny, Dee Dee and Joey would get for those people. Every single one of Ramones members knew his loyalty was to the band as a whole and not to individuals. If anything, he was trying to protect whoever was the weakest in a certain situation.


3) MESSAGE FROM RICHIE RAMONE
I asked from Richie Ramone if he wants to write something of Arturo "Arty" Vega as a memorial text.
Richie Ramone wrote: "Arty was an amazing designer not only with his artwork, but the way he did the lighting for all our live shows. He knew every beat of every song and his style of lighting the stage was amazing. He was the same guy everyday with no ups and downs and truly enjoyed life. If you needed someone to talk to, Arturo was the man who made you feel better about yourself. You will be truly missed my friend but we do have a lot of memories with which to remember you by. Peace and love..., Richie Ramone".
Thanks Richie for writing honest and lovely words of Arturo which you wrote on June 20, 2013.


4) RAMONESWORLD...
Arturo Vega started the first official Ramones homepage in December 1999. By that point, I (Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone) was already into my fifth year of running my homepage. Arturo's site was known as
RamonesWorld.com.
After Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Ramone were passed away, few relatives of certain Ramones members wanted his site to be unofficial. That was so cruel move from few people.
At his site you found the most fun and extensive selection of Ramones merchandise. Arturo Vega has shared lot of his memories and photos in my books:
- Heaven Needed A Lead Singer: Fans Remember Joey Ramone (2002).
- Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone (2004).
- Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives (2009).

Arturo Vega's loft was around the corner where was CBGB's club. When Arturo was alive, loft was definitely one of the most historic Ramones related location what existed as it was originally. It was of course always really special to me to visit and stay at Arturo's loft, apartment where Joey and Dee Dee were living with Arturo when the Ramones were formed. Joey and Dee Dee were then only 22-23 years old. Arturo still had big work table where the record contract was signed for the first Ramones album. Arturo shares lot good memories also of those times in my books. It was great to include to my debut book also photos of Joey having his (last) 49th birthday party at Arturo Vega's loft in May 2000.

I have taped with him many interviews since 1998. As I do have mention, I was staying in his house also in May 2012 while being in New York. I had asked from Tommy Ramone if he can come to Arturo's place as Anu Vihma and Sasha Silvala did interview for a document with Tommy Ramone. Thanks to Anu, Sasha and Teemu Skinnari that now are also recorded Arturo's memories of me. First documentary trio made me to ask memories from Arturo in May 2011. Arturo remembered so well small details even of our meeting in 1998 etc. Also thanks to documentary crew that it is now taped how things happened in late 90's. Arturo tells on interview:
Arturo Vega: "When we dediced to launch the official Ramones website, Joey and I organized the show at CBGB's. Then we decided that it was good idea also to have a fan club. When I was designing a membership card, it came to my mind the fact that someone was gonna be a member number one. I think Joey and I were thinking maybe we will give it to a friend of Joey or another musician, maybe someone like Iggy Pop. But then we thought it is a fan club, it should be to number one fan. So then it just immediately came to mind that Jari should have it. I am used meeting hardcore Ramones fans, very dedicated but Jari (me, Jari-Pekka) stands alone, his dedication, work what he does is very extensive, wide and deep..", said Arturo Vega in May, 2011.
Joey, Arturo etc. also asked opinion from Johnny etc.





5) MY SMALL INTERVIEW WITH ARTURO VEGA OF HIS ARTISTIC SIDE

About Arturo's arts. Regardless of his strong belief in the revolutionary force of music that is able to provoke changes in society, in his visual works he was also influenced by North American pop art. He made a critique of the human necessity to form a part of capitalist systems, without really considering its consequences etc.

Arturo had a lot exhibitions. Here are information of his 30th Anniversary exhibition. From May 2011 to first week of September 2011, was the exhibition entitled Lie Cheat Steal at Galeria OMR in Mexico City, Mexico presented his works since 1973 (first were supermarket ads) to 2011. Exhibited: his general works and works related to the Ramones, like the logo of the Ramones, first Ramones poster (1975) signed by Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy, stage backdrop (1978-90), Gabba Gabba Hey sign autographed by Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Tommy, CJ and Marky, as well as posters of the band, and other items reflecting the strong influence of the advertising and music. Newest one were collaborations with James Rubio from 2011.

Here are some of his comments related to his paintings. Also a bit how Dee Dee started painting. So lot and lot Arturo's Ramones related memories you can read from my books (
Order them here). Also more of his artist career.

Jari-Pekka: Can you explain what kind of paintings you liked to do most in the 70's as opposed to now?
Arturo: I started painting around 1972, when I lived in New York. I think I started with what you may call pop art. I think the roots of everything I do are based on a pop art sensibility. The very first paintings in the 70's were the supermarket ads. Then I learned to silk screen. That's when I did the series of hands with a coin. From that experience, I got hooked on primary color things. A lot of the flags have a great deal of primary colors in them and I guess from the concept of the dollar representing commerce civilization. I started getting into the concept of buying and selling as a just commerce.

Jari-Pekka: When did you and Dee Dee decide to work on painting together?
Arturo: I started trying to convince him around 1992. My advice to him was to never do anything now that he couldn't do ten years from now. Start doing something now you can do for the rest of your life. You can write and paint your entire life. You are not going to be singing and playing punk when you are seventy! To make it easier for him to start, I suggested we do collaborations. I let him just draw or write something over some of my existing paintings I had already done.

Jari-Pekka: Can you explain about them?
Arturo: Well, the last paintings that I had been working on were very minimalist. Most of them were just squares. One side of the square was one color; the other side was another color. The very first time I gave one of these to him, he reacted to the high contrast between black and white and he did a piece called, The Good Dee Dee And The Bad Dee Dee. That's how he started. He would work on things that would represent duality. There were two elements of the square. He would work on the concepts or ideas that would either involve two individuals or some kind of duality. Since my backgrounds were of minimalist style, we called our collaborations minimal nihilism. I would do the minimalist part and he would do the nihilistic part.





6) ST. MARKS CHURCH MEMORIAL FOR ARTURO VEGA ON JULY 3, 2013

Arturo Vega is missed by some many people and many artists are honoured his memory. Blondie dedicated Johnny Thunders' song You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory to Arturo at their concert in UK in July 7, 2013.
Memorial event for Arturo Vega was held at St. Marks Church, NYC, USA on July 3, 2013. I got invitation but I had no chance to travel from Finland to memorial in New York. I asked if Dr. Dot wants to write of memorial event for my site. She did and also sent her speech of Arturo. Dr. Dot (a nickname given to her by Frank Zappa in 1988. She is multi-talented lady, as you can read from
her homepage. She tells her Ramones related memories also on my third book Ramones: Soundtrack Of Our Lives (2009). At the same time her stories are both strong and gentle in technique as are her massages. Dr. Dot is in this group photo taken at Arturo's loft (see photo in bottom).

HERE BEGIN DR DOT'S TEXT OF EVENT:
I am not that good at gauging the amount of people in any sort of venue but I am guessing about 60 people gathered at the St. Marks Church, 10th Street and 2nd Avenue. Jane Friedman, one of Arturo "Artie" Vega's closest friends for over 40 years, not only made sure Artie had the BEST room at the BEST Hospital and had all of his medical bills paid (she and another friend named Donovan - not THAT Donovan), she also made this very private, special gathering for Arturo happen.
It was heart wrenching to hear each friends story/speech of what Arturo meant to them. Sharing funny memories and golden pieces of punk/nyc history involving Arturo but each walked away from the MIC in tears.
This man was/is LOVED.
Everyone brought flowers and candles at an altar adorned by several sweet photographs of Mr. Vega.
Many wore Ramones shirts and chatted after in the catering section in the back. Everyone hugging each other in disbelief that our mutual friend was taken from us so abruptly.
Like Monte Melnick said: "He never went to the Doctor" which ultimately brought our dear friend down. I personally believe, Arturo was too busy making art and making people happy to even go to the Doctor. He simply never put himself first. Bless him.

BELOW IS DR. DOT'S SPEECH SHE READ AT ARTURO VEGA'S MEMORIAL AT THE ST. MARKS CHURCH.
I first met Arturo in 1983 in East Hartford, CT at a Ramones gig. He took me under his wing, let me sit next to him as he did the lighting. He introduced me to the band and we remained in touch up until a few weeks ago. Arturo was so many things for me. He was a Father figure, mentor, big brother and sometimes like a girlfriend (when we discussed younger men and clothing).
He was a Libra, like myself and we just clicked. He had a rare capability of making me (and all of his friends) feel like I was his closest friend. He had that special quality of making you feel like you were his BEST friend. He was special and made others feel special.

He would bring out the best in people, encourage them to do better, in every aspect of their lives. Even when Arturo got upset and pulled a diva attitude, he was hilarious. I actually enjoyed watching him create things, make things happen and instruct others how to help make those things happen. He was a perfectionist, a motivator, a NYC Icon. And without a doubt, NO ONE has done more for the Ramones than Arturo.
I've never really been Ramones "fan", if you know me you know I am a Beatles and Frank Zappa fan but I was very fond of Joey and Arturo, as people. It wasn't about the music for me, sorry to say, it was/is about those two people. When I wear a Ramones shirt, I wear it because I got it from Arturo. I was proud to show off his art work. I even paid for most of those shirts, because hey, I don't give free massages, so why should Arturo give away free shirts? He shouldn't. We understood each other perfectly.
I am distraught to know, each time I come into the city, I can't pop into the loft to see my friend. Or E-mail him new pictures of my kids. He was my longest friendship ever.
The only comfort I can find is knowing Arturo lived his life to the fullest. This Man NEVER WASTED A DAY (sure he wasted SOME time watching Sponge Bob but who hasn't?). He got shit done. So lets all learn from Arturo and make the most of each day, like he did. Goodbye my beautiful friend. You will never be forgotten.
Dr. Dot, July 3, 2013.


Thanks Dr. Dot for your lovely text of our Arturo.