Richard Fantina, Keyboardist for Alan Vega, Music Editor, Scholar, Teacher Dies by Iman Lababedi

Written by | January 15, 2010 12:25 pm | 5 responses


Killing time before the Julian Casablancas concert last night i went onto Facebook and I noticed one of those pics in the corner that said you haven’t contacted Richard Fantina in awhile. Why don’t you say hello? Why indeed? I hadn’t spoken to Richard, an old and dear friend, since last May when we failed to connect during a visit he had to New york. And I was shocked to read he died October 6th, 2009.

When I first wrote for East Village Eye, Richard was my editor and when I jumped ship to New York Rocker he jumped with me. From the mid-sixties till the mid-eighties Richard was one of the most popular figures on the underground East Village. He knew everyone , from Jim fouratt to Rudolph (owners of Danceteria) to Phoebe Legere to Alan Vega. And more importantly: he was loved by everybody.

I loved him to. When everybody else hated the latest article I was writing about some weird limey phenom, he was insisting it was published. Which is how we came to scoop the world on Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Also, we often wrote about politics together. We interviewed the head of the PLO’s delegation to the U.N. together right after the Sabra Shatilla massacres.

When not writing and editing about music and politics, he found time to write a novel and play keyboards for Alan Vega’s touring band, run a typesetting company and who knows what else. There was also a marriage in there somewhere.

And then we fell out of touch until he located me on Facebook. We caught up on old times and he told me he was a teacher and wrote scholarly tomes. Here is what he did after we fell out of touch:

University of Miami ’07

Ph.D. English, 19th & 20th Century Literature
Florida International University ’98
M.A. African-New World Studies, Afromexico
Florida International University
M.A. English, Literature

At the time of his death he described his work as: “I  teach Literature and Writing in an online setting to nontraditional students, primarily adults over 40.”

Me? I will always remember rolling back to Richard’s place on 2nd avenue, drunk as lords, after a night going from club to club to see set after set. My dear friend. I am so sad

5 Responses to “Richard Fantina, Keyboardist for Alan Vega, Music Editor, Scholar, Teacher Dies by Iman Lababedi”

  1. wolfgang


    don’t know who you are
    we might have met
    didn’t know richard passed
    but hearing about vega i was
    trying to contact him

    since i refuse facebook
    and all that stuff
    i googled and came across
    your kind words

    i actually was richard’s wedding photographer
    back in the days at danceteria
    we were both working for details mag. at the time
    i should get some negatives from his wedding scanned

    yeah, the good old days…
    give me a hello


    • admin

      so sorry to break the bad news… I knew him before details… would love to see the pictures. Was that to Celeste? – IL

  2. Sesu Coleman

    I played drums with Alan Vega (‘Collision Drive’) & (‘Saturn Strip’) 81.- 82′ – 83′) & Richard played with us in 83′ on – good guy – he was a pro…~ Sesu Coleman

  3. Anne Deon

    THANK you Serge. Richard was a wonderful man. I lost touch with him and searched for him on FB over the past few years and did not see him there. I have been hoping he was well, and just shunned FB. This is a shock, but I suspected it may be reality when I couldn’t find him. I read what you posted and I must say, he was a gentleman, a scholar, a great friend and a man of substance that was a privilege to work with and to know, and love. I realized today, that he was maybe in Miami working at Florida International University. To think that I might have found him there, as the University is just 27 miles from where i currently live, and did not know this, is very saddening for me. There aren’t enough great things I could say about him. He was an outstanding person. (I worked with Richard in my own band, The Internationals, and later we were both recruited for Alan Vega’s Band) Currently living in Florida, and an artist.) Also does Celeste live in Florida? If so I would love to re-connect with her.


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