Ramones Artist Arturo Vega Dies At Age 65
The man behind the iconic Ramones logo, artist Arturo Vega, has died. He was 65 years old.
No cause of death has been given. If there was a “fifth Ramone,” Vega may have well been him. He was not only the band’s artist in residence, but also a close confidant and lifelong friend to the legendary rockers.
The news was broken by another member of the legendary CBGB scene, ‘Punk’ magazine co-founder and ‘Please Kill Me’ author Legs McNeil, who said via Facebook: “RIP: ARTURO VEGA: 1948-2013. Sleep gently my dear friend, you were the must optimistic, jubilant and fun pal anyone could wish for. I don’t know what the world will be like without, nor do I want to even imagine it… But I know you will find eternal happiness wherever you end up….I love you Arturo.”
Vega befriended the Ramones early on, even letting Joey and Dee Dee move into his loft as they were finding their footing. It was during those early days that he envisioned what would become the Ramones logo. “I saw them as the ultimate all-American band,” he told author Jim Bessman in the book ‘Ramones: An American Band.’ “To me, they reflected the American character in general, an almost childish innocent aggression. I thought, ‘The Great Seal of the President of the United States’ would be perfect for the Ramones, with the eagle holding arrows to symbolize strength and the aggression that would be used against whomever dares to attack us, and an olive branch, offered to those who want to be friendly. But we decided to change it a little bit. Instead of the olive branch, we had an apple tree branch, since the Ramones were American as apple pie. And since Johnny was such a baseball fanatic, we had the eagle hold a baseball bat instead of the arrows.”
Vega also served as the band’s archivist, website operator and stage lighting director.