ARTURO VEGA (RIP), CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE RAMONES

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2) OR RETURN TO MAIN PAGE OF RAMONESHEAVEN.COM.

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

SECTIONS IN THIS MY MEMORIAL SECTION FOR ARTURO VEGA:
1) INTRODUCTION / FIFTH RAMONE (CLICK HERE).
2) MESSAGE FROM RICHIE RAMONE (CLICK HERE).
3) RAMONESWORLD.COM....(CLICK HERE).
4) MY SMALL INTERVIEW WITH ARTURO OF HIS ARTISTIC SIDE (CLICK HERE).
5) ST. MARKS CHURCH MEMORIAL FOR ARTURO. TEXT BY DR. DOT (CLICK HERE).
6) INFORMATION OF SOME DISCUSSION AND ART EVENTS RELATED TO ARTURO VEGA (CLICK HERE).
7) MY MEMORIAL TEXT FOR ARTURO VEGA WRITTEN ON JUNE 12, 2013 (CLICK HERE).


1) INTRODUCTION / FIFTH RAMONE:

1) 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 2261 shows, and only missed 2 Ramones shows altogether. Arturo has said: "I just couldn't make it to the (two) shows - and I have the police records to prove it.", said Arturo.
He definitely was one of their closest friends.
In this site I do mention often Howl! Happening gallery. Howl! Happening gallery opened its doors on March 29, 2015, with having exhibition of Arturo Vega's art. Gallery was established to honor Vega, his life and work, and his support for East Village artists.

I have taped with him many interviews since 1998. 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.

Ramones' signed first record deal in a table what he had in his house and table was in house till the end. When you scroll this page a bit down, you can in a right photo of Arturo Vega, Tommy Ramone and I (Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone) behind that table in May 2012.

Arturo 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. I did my first interview with Arturo in 1998 and I asked also then how Dee Dee had different lifestyle in those 70's days.
Arturo: Very, very different lifestyle. Dee Dee was taking drugs and stuff like that etc. Me and Joey didn't like that. Joey lived with me many many years. He lives near by me now. I used to paint before the band though I was going to do rock'n'roll life: maybe for five years, ten the most. But it was 5, 10, 15 years and... I started to paint again 1989. 1996 Ramones retired and I thought this is it - no more bands for me now, told Arturo to me in Misfits tour in 1998.
Jari-Pekka: How you now decided to do tour with the Misfits as a crew member?
Arturo: I met them on last summer (1997). They liked me a lot and I liked them a lot. I didn't think to work with band touring anymore but I'm very happy when I am with them. But I really wanted to paint, it's what I really wanna do and I'm running the New York City marathon on next November (1998). I want to train really hard for that.

Arturo organized Joey Ramone memorial show at CBGB in May 19, 2002, where played for example CJ Ramone, Marky Ramone and Daniel Rey. Only 2,5 weeks later we lost Dee Dee...
After Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Ramone passed away, some people in the Ramones family started talking shit of Arturo. And there were also so cruel moves from those few people when Arturo was still alive, and also cruel moves after he had gone. Those things were against his wishes.
I definitely know how mad Johnny, Dee Dee, Joey and Tommy 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.

There was really great Rampe3 Festival in Augsburg, Germany in 2003. Main men behind it were Lothar Felkel and Gerhard "General" Seckler (there is . They were in really Ramones' tours in Europe in 80's and 90's. Lothar saw the Ramones for the first time in 1978. They invited Arturo, me etc. as being guests. Great surprise visit was by George DuBose who is the man behind many great Ramones album covers and promo photos etc. Lothar and General were asked many of his and Bob Gruen's works to Rampe3.
Arturo brought with him to exhibition early flyers he had designed with Ramones members, original manuscripts for Blitzkrieg Bop and Here Today Gone Tomorrow from 1974, other rarities and promo items, Joey's original stage outfit from 1978 etc.
Wow, was the first word that came to mind for many people when they saw the first Ramones poster and T-shirt that was used in that photograph. The photo was taken in a photo booth in NYC in 1974 for 25 cents. Arturo told me that he was working at a hamburger bar and he used a photo booth located in a subway station. He said that this was on his mind so it just made sense to do this, plus having an eagle seemed right for the Ramones.
For many was also totally exciting to see many paintings by Dee Dee. Some Dee Dee had created together with Paul Kostabi. Lothar and General had leant paintings from Kostabi and Heidi Follin.
Arturo had Amanda as his assistant and we were staying at General's and Edith's house (his then girlfriend).

In 2006-09 I posted to my site for example information of Arturo being in famous Warped Tour's in the USA, Canada etc. He had awesome exhibition of the Ramones memorabilia in 2006, and especially lot of Dee Dee Ramone related stuff (paintings etc.) in 2008. In 2009 had chance check out the awesome CBGB 360' virtual tour, and the Ramones at CBGB photo exhibit. Warped Tour was also in Indonesia etc. (see photo in right).

In 2011 I posted on my site for example information of his 30th Anniversary exhibition: "From May 2011 to first week of September 2011, is 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 are collaborations with James Rubio from 2011."

In late 2012 and early 2013 I E-mailed with Arturo of his big exhibition called Love Life Lust at La Estacion Arte Contemporaneo in Chihuahua, Mexico. So Arturo was born there. Arturo asked me to promote exhibition etc. and he also sent photos you can see in right. Exhibition was on November 10, 2012 - February 2, 2013. Here are some information of it that I posted then in late 2012 and early 2013:
Exhibition has his works since 1970. The Casa Redonda Museum is a large state museum.
Great AD artist Gonzalo Facio translated to me from Spanish to English some details of exhibition from one newspaper article. Here are lines he translated: "Arturo Vega is part of the punk movement, working with the Ramones not only as a friend but as artistic director, who created the bands iconic logo, oversaw the design of album covers and produced products that were a closer link between the band and his followers. Parallel Arturo Vega performs a series of paintings with text fragments irreverent and frank: a cocktail of insults and mystical thoughts painted in primary colors that reflected the harshness of the society in which he lived, often causing confusion in the viewer and ambivalence." Thanks Gonzalo.
There was in a exhibition also portrait of John Lennon. John Lennon and Arturo Vega paintings are by NYC artist Curt Hoppe. Arturo Vega explained the use of the Lennon image:
"The government of Mexico has been battling the drug cartels for the last six years. That campaign mixed with the wars between the cartels themselves, and the crimes from all kinds of organized crime against the people has left 60 000 dead. Chihuahua is the Mexican state with the worst death statistics so I decided to use the John Lennon image to convey a message of Peace and Love to the people of Chihuahua," Arturo Vega E-mailed me.

Probably one of last Arturo's public performances in New York happened on December 13, 2012. I posted this on my news a bit earlier:
"As many of you knows, CBGB club at Bowery, New York, USA, was one kind of original home of punk movement. Parallel Lines: Visual Art, CBGB, and Downtown Nightlife / Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969- 1989 a panel discussion is at New Museum Of Contemporary Art (235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002) at 7PM on December 13, 2012.
A panel discussion is with Ramones' artistic director Arturo Vega, Punk Magazine founder John Holmstrom, Marcia Resnick and Pat Place. It is moderated by Marc H Miller."
I wrote memorial text of Arturo on June 12, 2013. Only four days after we had lost Arturo. It tells lot basic information of Arturo, but also personal memories (as Rob Russo was hoped me to write) and unique information. Read it here.





2) 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.






3) 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.
Arturo and Ramones members sold lot merchandise through site and there were all kind of auctions: lot signed Ramones photos, singles, albums, posters... Also signed T-shirts specially from Joey. All kind of stuff. Items were sold with certificate of authenticity from officialramones.com.

After Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Ramone passed away, some people in the Ramones family started talking shit of Arturo. And few relatives of certain members and 1-2 managers wanted his site to be unofficial. Arturo had to change address from http://www.officialramones.com to http://www.ramonesworld.com.
That was so cruel move from few people. And also cruel moves happened after he had gone. Those things were against his wishes.

At his site you found the most fun and extensive selection of Ramones merchandise. One or few years after Arturo had passed away, his site went offline. Here I had collected some things of activities in his site.

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.





4) 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.





5) 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.





6) INFORMATION OF SOME DISCUSSION AND ART EVENTS RELATED TO ARTURO VEGA.

MARCH-APRIL 2017: EXHIBITION
Howl! Happening is delighted to announce Empire: An Arturo Vega Retrospective - originally curated by Jade Dellinger for the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery of Florida SouthWestern State College - opening in New York with a public reception on March 23, 2017 at 6 PM. This ambitious survey runs through April 20. A presentation event by Sandra Schulman and Ramones' tour manager Monte A. Melnick is at 7PM on March 24, 2017.
Howl! Happening was established to honor Vega, his life and work, and his support for East Village artists, and we are particularly proud to be the second stop for the late Mexican-born artist's U.S. museum retrospective. The exhibition features photography, collage and a number of iconic canvases from the artist's Supermarket and Silver Dollar series (begun in the 70s); his Flags and so-called "word paintings" from Insults; and other series produced during the 80's, 90's and aughts. Of special note is his last major work, Life isn't tragic, love is just being ignored, a mural commissioned in 2013 that hung on the corner of Prince and Elizabeth streets.


MARCH 2017: PANEL DISCUSSION:
Empire: Arturo Vega Above and Beyond panel discussion at Howl Happening in New York, USA, with special guests Jade Dellinger, Carlo McCormick, Anthony Haden-Guest and Adam Lehrer at Howl Happening at 4-6 on March 26, 2017.
Address of Howl Happening is 6 E 1st St, New York 10003, USA.
A critical and personal discussion of Arturo Vega's life and work, this panel of experts brings years of cumulative experience with the worlds of creativity and music that fed his artistic production.
Carlo McCormick is a cultural critic, curator, and author of numerous books, monographs and catalogs on contemporary art and artists. He is the senior editor of Paper magazine, and brings his acute intelligence to bear, contextualizing Arturo's work in art, music and design with the tenor of the times.
Jade Dellinger, director of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida SouthWestern State College since 2013, has also worked closely on curatorial projects and exhibitions for the Tampa Museum of Art and the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. He has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogs and publications. Dellinger previously guest-curated Play What You Like: Fluxus, Music & More at Howl! and presented Empire: An Arturo Vega Retrospective at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery before the exhibition traveled to New York.
Anthony Haden-Guest is an art critic, writer, cartoonist, poet, and social commentator who brings his wit and wisdom in assessing Arturo's role within the culture of the times. He has written for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The New York Observer, and The Sunday Times (among other publications) and is the author of The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night, published by William Morrow & Co., and True Colors: The Real Life of the Art World, published by Grove Atlantic.
Adam Lehrer is an artist (working with photography and mixed media) and culture critic. He's the editor-at-large of Los Angeles art and culture magazine Autre and has contributed photography, art and fashion coverage to publications like i-D, SSENSE, Forbes and VICE. In his art practice, he combines journalistic snapshots with staged conceptual photography, often placing his own images alongside others sourced from the Internet, fashion magazines, pornography and film stills-blurring the line between his day-to-day existence and media consumption.


APRIL-JULY 2016 EXHIBITION
AND JUNE 19, 2016: CONVERSATION:

There was two conversations at the Queens Museum in New York, USA, on June 19, 2016. Conversations were hosted by Marc H. Miller, who is co-curator of the exhibition titled Hey! Ho! Let's Go: Ramones And The Birth Of Punk. Exhibition was at the Queens Museum from April 10, 2016 to July 31, 2016.
First conversation was at 1-2.30PM on June 19 and it was around Punk magazine. Then you had chance to listen conversation with Punk co-founder and cartoonist John Holmstrom and photographer Roberta Bayley. Holmstrom has made a great career. Man for example did several images for Ramones' albums Rocket To Russia (1977) and Road To Ruin (1978).
Roberta Bayley is Punk's principal photographer and photo editor, who has photographed for example the Ramones, Blondie and Richard Hell. Bayley shot the cover photograph for the Ramones first album.
Second conversation on June 19 was at 3-4.30PM and it was titled The Legacy Of Arturo Vega, Art Director Of The Ramones. On that second conversation were artist Ted Riederer and arts writer Sandra Schulman. Riederer worked with Arturo in his final years and is now the gallery director of the non-profit art space Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project. Schulman knew Vega from the Lower East Side art scene of the 1980's, and later curated an exhibition of his paintings in Miami Beach.


APRIL 2015: PANEL DISCUSSION:
Marc H. Miller of Gallery 98 and 98 Bowery moderated a panel discussion about the art of Arturo Vega in conjunction with the exhibition Arturo Vega: American Treasure. Along with recollections from participants Carlo McCormick, Sandra Schulman and John Holmstrom. The panel did include short excerpts from a 2005 video interview with Vega, courtesy of Curtis Cates.
Event was at Howl! Happening Gallery on April 23, 2015 at 7-9PM.





7) MY MEMORIAL TEXT FOR ARTURO VEGA WRITTEN ON JUNE 12, 2013.

Rob Russo and
Live And Loud Radio had a memorial radio show to Arturo on June 12, 2013. Only four days after we had lost Arturo.
Some people close to Arturo were interviewed by phone: Ramones' tour manager Monte A. Melnick, musicians Andy Shernoff and Dave U. Hall, Dee Dee Ramone's ex-wife Vera Ramone-King, Ramones' crew members Jimmy Marino and Rick Johnson, and Gaston Sanchez.
Rob Russo had asked me to write memorial text of Arturo and he read it. It was 7-8 minutes long reading. Thanks for asking Rob. Text is below and it tells lot basic information of Arturo, but also personal memories (as Rob was hoped me to write) and unique information.

Text of Arturo Vega by Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone. June 12, 2013.
Arturo Vega was the Ramones creative director since 1974 and as many of you know, he designed the Ramones' eagle logo and most all of the Ramones art, shirts, special collections etc. He worked as the Ramones lighting director and did whatever was needed. With the Ramones Arturo worked on 2 261 shows, and only missed 2 Ramones shows altogether.
There is no doubt who was fifth Ramone. Fifth Ramone was our Arturo Vega. He didn't say it by himself, but dear Arturo was a man who let works speak. He was around when band was formed and till the end. He was fair to every member when Ramones was on the road. He also cared so lot of fans and had time to talk with everyone.

I never seen him in a bad mood. Arturo was example to people in what kind of positive attitude people should have. Of course he had worries but those he told in private conversations, and I was and I am still so angry for some people in a Ramones family who not treated him right after September 2004. Then passed away Johnny Ramone who had earlier watched how things should go. One example is how Arturo's site became unofficial after Johnny died. When Johnny was alive, Johnny also wanted Arturo do his personal site.
Arturo saw Johnny for the last time on September 13, 2004. This was the day after the Ramones 30th Anniversary show in Los Angeles and two days before Johnny died.

I been crying many times since I got confirmation that Arturo became an angel. Everything happened so quickly and I am happy that he didn't need to suffer with any long-term sickness. We became good friends and when progressing sorrow, I am going back to my memories with Arturo and looking photos and videos I have taped with him. 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:
"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 stands alone, his dedication, work what he does is very extensive, wide and deep."
They also asked opinion from Johnny. What guy from Finland can say when listening that kind of interview? I wasn't asked or told about this honor until I opened letter in late 90's.
While now in sorrow, I been thinking my trips in New York when I got to stay in his loft. Arturo was so full of energy always since the morning, while I would sleep until 11AM in his couch. Expect if his dog Disel run to smell my head and gave a signal, it is time to wake up.
It was so special to sleep lot of nights next to table where Ramones signed first record deal. While signing a deal, there were in a room only Tommy, Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Arturo. So also because of that it was great to make interviews next to that table in last year with Arturo and Tommy. Only Tommy is alive of five people who were around in signing contract.

I of course spoke with Arturo also of other things in early days. On my video he explains how in one day in 1972 or 1973 Dee Dee just opened 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.
Here are some quotes from Arturo's interview on my books:
"Joey lived here for years. Dee Dee stayed here for months, maybe a year. But I don't even remember. We were always drinking. We were always drunk, taking Quaaludes or tuinals, or whatever we could. It wasn't pleasant being around Dee Dee, not because of him. We never had any problems, the three of us. It was with his girlfriends. Especially Connie, she was crazy, she was insane. Besides that, we got along fine. It was a lot of fun it was great. We were always in a party mood.
Everyday we were like a cartoon. I have never been someone who watches TV a lot but they were. I remember watching cartoons with them. And sometimes we would end up making more fun of the cartoons than the actual cartoons themselves. We would change the story. We would just joke about everything, or people. It was good."

We can just imagine those moments and miss so much of Arturo, Joey and Dee Dee. Also miss Johnny of other memories.
Rob, I would like to ask if you can play a song Chinese Rock, especially because Dee Dee wrote to its second line Arty.
I was thinking another song for one hour, like what is some of Arturo's faves. Here is one another part of my interviews with him, Arturo mention on that part Joey, Dee Dee and Johnny. Lyrical wise those aren't best choices for this kind of moment, but Arturo says...

Jari-Pekka (I ask): Arturo, I have wanted to ask this from many people. If you could have sung two songs at the show, what would you have sung?
Arturo: I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You and Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World. I always felt that, I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You was very much Johnny's attitude. I love the guitar parts. I always enjoyed and appreciated Joey's vocals. I think that now more than ever every time I listen to the Ramones. What really jumps at me more than anything else is the vocals. I think that since I was so used to listening to them live, I never really liked the records. I never did, I was too hooked on the live concert. The live effect, I guess is driven by the guitar. So, that was the part that really got me, you know what I mean? It was always the guitar and I just love the drive in those two songs. The guitar is like a tornado picking me up and swirling me around. So I think they are very much my favourite Ramones songs, but they are also Johnny's songs.

Jari-Pekka: Today Your Love Tomorrow The World was a surprise.
Arturo: The lyrics of course are all Dee Dee. That sense of humour, that sarcasm and the metaphors in all of that but the music is Johnny at his best.