Alan Vega, Alex Chilton, Ben Vaughn
The unlikely union of Suicide's Alan Vega, Big Star's Alex Chilton, and singer-songwriter Ben Vaughn happened in December 1994 in a fog of cigarette smoke during two barely-lit, all-night improv sessions at Dessau Studios in New York. What transpired was the group’s only release, a brilliant album called Cubist Blues.
It was nothing short of alchemy, though the elements were quite disparate–Vega, known for Suicide’s grinding, pre-industrial drone, Chilton for his ultra-melodic FM rock, and Vaughn for his outsider art. When fused together, the result was something totally unexpected: a long, mesmeric incantation built on Elvis-meets-Ian Curtis vocals, rockabilly guitar, growling synths, and metronomic drums. A jam session at heart–albeit a very productive one–the songs took shape as they were recorded. “I showed up with lyrics for one song and figured we would see what happened,” recalled Vega. “Little did I know, we would record for hours and hours. By the last song, my brain was burning up. I literally felt myself on fire. I was depleted. Yet, we could have gone on and on.”
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