Often referred to as the fifth Ramone, artist Arturo Vega died on Saturday in Manhattan at 65. He served as a spokesman, logo designer, t-shirt salesman, lighting director, and overall handyman for the legendary band.
Vega was born in Mexico and moved to New York in his early 20s to become an artist. One day he was playing music in his loft on East Second Street in Manhattan when a young man peeked into his open door in 1973. The stranger said he liked Vega's music and said he himself was starting a band. That stranger was bassist and songwriter Dee Dee Ramone.
By the year 1976 when the band released its first self-titled debut album, Vega decided to put all of his energy into The Ramones. Amazingly he attended all but two of their live shows from 1974 to 1996. In the early days Vega sold t-shirts before and after the concerts that bearing a logo he designed that has since become iconic. “They sold more T-shirts than records,” said the band's early manager, Danny Fields, “and probably they sold more T-shirts than tickets.”
Following the breakup of the band, Vega still designed and sold Ramones memorabilia. He also worked with other bands and focused on his paintings. In fact, he created a mural in March. The music world recently lost another iconic artist. Storm Thorgerson, who designed Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, died this past April.