Historic East L.A. punk venue The Vex is famous for epic shows in the '80s, featuring killer L.A. and Orange County lineups, everyone from the Adolescents and TSOL to Social Distortion. The club opened in 1976, and proprietor, Joe "Vex" Suquette brought the two counties' scenes together for the first time. But the punk rock madness started to take its toll on him, and in 1984 he walked away from the club.
Javier Cabral Joe "Vex" Suquette
His absence was felt right away, and the scene started to die down. Oddly, a couple of guys claimed to be him, using his name to throw shows. They even impersonated him in interviews. But as of last fall the East L.A. native is back, throwing shows again in El Sereno at a spot called The Vex/ Arts L.A., a spot with room for 1,200 people. We spoke with Suquette not long after he'd hosted Ian Mackaye's current band The Evens, talking in his office on the second floor of the venue, next to his private gallery of rare punk rock paintings and vintage flyers. It's one of his very few interviews since the Vex closed three decades ago.More »