Devo

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Devo
Forecastle Devo.jpg
Devo performing live at the Forecastle Festival, in Louisville, Kentucky, 2010
Left to right: Gerald Casale (bass), Mark Mothersbaugh (vocals; keyboards), Bob Casale (keyboards; guitar), and Bob Mothersbaugh (guitar)
Background information
Origin Kent and Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Genres
Years active
  • 1973–1991
  • 1996–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website clubdevo.com
Members
Past members

Devo ( /ˈdv/ , originally /dˈv/ ) [7] is an American rock band from Akron, Ohio formed in 1973. Their classic lineup consisted of two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs (Mark and Bob) and the Casales (Gerald and Bob), along with Alan Myers. The band had a No. 14 Billboard chart hit in 1980 with the single "Whip It", the song that gave the band mainstream popularity.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Akron, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Akron is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Summit County. It is located on the western edge of the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Cleveland. As of the 2017 Census estimate, the city proper had a total population of 197,846, making it the 119th-largest city in the United States. The Greater Akron area, covering Summit and Portage counties, had an estimated population of 703,505.

Mark Mothersbaugh American musician

Mark Allen Mothersbaugh is an American singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, author and visual artist.

Contents

Devo is known for their music and stage shows mingling kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor and mordantly satirical social commentary. Their often discordant pop songs feature unusual synthetic instrumentation and time signatures that have proven influential on subsequent popular music, particularly new wave, industrial, and alternative rock artists. Devo was also a pioneer of the music video, creating clips for the LaserDisc format, with "Whip It" getting heavy airplay in the early days of MTV.

Stage (theatre) designated space for the performance of productions

In theatre and performing arts, the stage is a designated space for the performance of productions. The stage serves as a space for actors or performers and a focal point for the members of the audience. As an architectural feature, the stage may consist of a platform or series of platforms. In some cases, these may be temporary or adjustable but in theaters and other buildings devoted to such productions, the stage is often a permanent feature.

Kitsch Art or other objects that appeal to popular rather than high art tastes

Kitsch, also called cheesiness or tackiness, is art or other objects that, generally speaking, appeal to popular rather than "high art" tastes. Such objects are sometimes appreciated in a knowingly ironic or humorous way. The word was first applied to artwork that was a response to certain divisions of 19th-century art with aesthetics that favored what later art critics would consider to be exaggerated sentimentality and melodrama. Hence, 'kitsch art' is closely associated with 'sentimental art'. Kitsch is also related to the concept of camp, because of its humorous and ironic nature.

Deadpan, dry humor or dry wit is the deliberate display of a lack of or no emotion, commonly as a form of comedic delivery to contrast with the ridiculousness of the subject matter. The delivery is meant to be blunt, ironic, laconic, or apparently unintentional.

History

1973–1978: Formation

The name Devo comes from the concept of 'de-evolution'—the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society. [8] In the late 1960s, this idea was developed as a joke by Kent State University art students Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis, who created a number of satirical art pieces in a devolution vein. At this time, Casale had also performed with the local band 15-60-75 (The Numbers Band). They met Mark Mothersbaugh around 1970, a talented keyboardist who had been playing with the band Flossy Bobbitt. [9] Mothersbaugh brought a more humorous feel to the band, introducing them to material like the pamphlet "Jocko Homo Heavenbound", [10] which includes an illustration of a winged devil labelled "D-EVOLUTION" and would later inspire the song "Jocko Homo". The "joke" about de-evolution became serious following the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970. This event would be cited multiple times as the impetus for forming the band Devo. [11] Throughout the band's career, they would often be considered a "joke band" by the music press. [12] [13]

Devolution, de-evolution, or backward evolution is the notion that species can revert to supposedly more primitive forms over time. The concept relates to the idea that evolution has a purpose (teleology) and is progressive (orthogenesis), for example that feet might be better than hooves or lungs than gills. However, evolutionary biology makes no such assumptions, and natural selection shapes adaptations with no foreknowledge of any kind. It is possible for small changes to be reversed by chance or selection, but this is no different from the normal course of evolution.

Herd mentality, mob mentality and pack mentality, also lesser known as gang mentality, describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affected by mob mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually.

Kent State University public research university in Kent, Ohio, United States

Kent State University (KSU) is a public research university in Kent, Ohio. The university also includes seven regional campuses in Northeast Ohio and additional facilities in the region and internationally. Regional campuses are located in Ashtabula, Burton, East Liverpool, Jackson Township, New Philadelphia, Salem, and Warren, Ohio, with additional facilities in Cleveland, Independence, and Twinsburg, Ohio, New York City, and Florence, Italy.

The first form of Devo was the "Sextet Devo" which performed at the 1973 Kent State performing arts festival. [9] [14] It included Casale, Lewis and Mothersbaugh, as well as Gerald's brother Bob Casale on guitar, and friends Rod Reisman and Fred Weber on drums and vocals, respectively. This performance was filmed and a part was included on the home video The Complete Truth About De-Evolution . This lineup performed only once. Devo returned to perform in the Student Governance Center (featured prominently in the film) at the 1974 Creative Arts Festival with a lineup including the Casale brothers, Bob Lewis, Mark Mothersbaugh, and Jim Mothersbaugh on drums.

Bob Casale American rock musician

Robert Edward "Bob" Casale, Jr., or Bob 2, was an American multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer and audio engineer.

Rod Reisman was the original drummer for the band Devo, joining the band at its inception in 1973 in Kent, Ohio. He played their very first concert only; at the time, the band was named Sextet Devo, and Reisman was the only band member to be paid for playing. He was replaced by Jim Mothersbaugh, and later by Alan Myers, David Kendrick, and more recently Josh Freese.

<i>The Complete Truth About De-Evolution</i> 1993 video album by Devo

The Complete Truth About De-Evolution was the third home video release by new wave band Devo. It is a collection of Devo's music videos from 1976 to 1990. It was released on LaserDisc in 1993 by Voyager and on DVD by Rhino Records in 2003. MVD released a new version of the disc in 2014.

The band continued to perform, generally as a quartet, but with a fluid lineup including Mark's brothers Bob Mothersbaugh and Jim Mothersbaugh. Bob played electric guitar, and Jim provided percussion using a set of home-made electronic drums. Their first two music videos, "Secret Agent Man" and "Jocko Homo" featured on The Truth About De-Evolution , were filmed in Akron, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, the hometown of most members. This lineup of Devo lasted until 1976 when Jim left the band. Bob Lewis would sometimes play guitar during this period. In concert, Devo would often perform in the guise of theatrical characters, such as Booji Boy and the Chinaman. Live concerts from this period were often confrontational, and would remain so until 1977. A recording of an early Devo performance from 1975 with the quartet lineup appears on DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years , ending with the promoters unplugging Devo's equipment. [8]

Bob Mothersbaugh American musician

Robert Leroy Mothersbaugh, Jr., or "Bob 1", is an American singer, songwriter, composer and musician.

Electronic drum modern electronic musical instrument

An electronic drum, also known as electric drums, digital drums, or electronic percussion, is a modern electronic musical instrument, a special type of synthesizer or sampler, primarily designed to serve as an alternative to an acoustic drum kit or other percussion instruments. An electronic drum consists of an electronic or digital sound module which produces the synthesized or sampled percussion sounds and one or more electric sensors to trigger the sounds. Like regular drums, the sensors are struck by drum sticks or by the hands and they are played in a similar manner to an acoustic drum kit.

"Secret Agent Man" is a song written by P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri. The most famous recording of the song was made by Johnny Rivers for the opening titles of the American broadcast of the British spy series Danger Man, which aired in the U.S. as Secret Agent from 1964 to 1966. The song itself peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Following Jim Mothersbaugh's departure, Bob Mothersbaugh found a new drummer, Alan Myers, who played on a conventional, acoustic drum kit. Casale re-recruited his brother Bob Casale, and the lineup of Devo remained the same for nearly ten years.

Alan Myers (drummer) drummer

Alan Myers was an American rock drummer whose music career spanned more than 30 years. He came to prominence in the late 1970s as the third and most prominent drummer of the new wave band Devo, replacing Jim Mothersbaugh.

Drum kit collection of drums and other percussion instruments

A drum kit — also called a drum set, trap set, or simply drums — is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments, typically cymbals, which are set up on stands to be played by a single player, with drumsticks held in both hands, and the feet operating pedals that control the hi-hat cymbal and the beater for the bass drum. A drum kit consists of a mix of drums and idiophones – most significantly cymbals, but can also include the woodblock and cowbell. In the 2000s, some kits also include electronic instruments. Also, both hybrid and entirely electronic kits are used.

The front and back covers of Devo's first release, the 45rpm single "Mongoloid" b/w "Jocko Homo" (1977), released on the band's Booji Boy Records. Devo Jocko Homo Mongoloid.jpg
The front and back covers of Devo's first release, the 45rpm single "Mongoloid" b/w "Jocko Homo" (1977), released on the band's Booji Boy Records.

Devo gained some fame in 1976 when the short film The Truth About De-Evolution directed by Chuck Statler [15] won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. This attracted the attention of David Bowie, who began work to get the band a recording contract with Warner Music Group. In 1977, Devo were asked by Neil Young to participate in the making of his film Human Highway . [16] Released in 1982, the film featured the band as "Nuclear garbagemen". The band members were asked to write their own parts and Mark Mothersbaugh scored and recorded much of the soundtrack, his first of many. [17]

In March 1977, Devo released their first single "Mongoloid" b/w "Jocko Homo", the B-side of which came from the soundtrack to The Truth About De-Evolution, on their independent label Booji Boy. This was followed by a cover of the Rolling Stones' " (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction ".

In 1978, the B Stiff EP was released by British independent label Stiff, which included the single "Be Stiff" plus two previous Booji Boy releases. [18] "Mechanical Man", a 4 track 7" EP of demos, an apparent bootleg but rumored to be put out by the band themselves, was also released that year. [19]

1978–1980: Recording contract, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, and Duty Now for the Future

Devo performing live in Atlanta, Georgia, 1978: Bob Casale and Gerald Casale. Devo, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 27, 1978 Agora Ballroom.jpg
Devo performing live in Atlanta, Georgia, 1978: Bob Casale and Gerald Casale.

Recommendations from David Bowie and Iggy Pop enabled Devo to secure a recording contract with Warner Bros. in 1978. After Bowie backed out of the business deal due to previous commitments, their first album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! was produced by Brian Eno and featured re-recordings of their previous singles "Mongoloid" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". [20] On October 14, 1978, Devo gained national exposure with an appearance on the late-night show Saturday Night Live , a week after the Rolling Stones, performing "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Jocko Homo".

After the band achieved this success, co-founder Bob Lewis asked for accreditation and compensation in 1978 for his contributions to the band. The band refused to negotiate, and sued Lewis in Los Angeles County Superior Court, [21] seeking a declaratory judgment stating that Lewis had no rights to the name or theory of de-evolution. Lewis then filed an action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, alleging theft of intellectual property. During discovery, Lewis produced articles, promotional materials, documentary evidence and an interview [21] recorded at the Akron Art Museum following the premiere of In the Beginning was the End in which Mothersbaugh and other band members credited Lewis with developing the theory of de-evolution. The band quickly settled for an undisclosed sum.

The band followed up with Duty Now for the Future in 1979, which moved the band more towards electronic instrumentation. While not as successful as their first album, it did produce some fan favorites with the songs "Blockhead" and "The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize" [ sic ], as well as a cover of the Johnny Rivers hit "Secret Agent Man". "Secret Agent Man" had been recorded first in 1974 for Devo's first film and performed live as early as 1976. In 1979, Devo traveled to Japan for the first time, and a live show from this tour was partially recorded. Devo appeared on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert in 1979, performing "Blockhead", "Secret Agent Man", "Uncontrollable Urge", and "Mongoloid". Also in 1979, Rhino—in conjunction with the LA radio station KROQ-FM—released Devotees, a tribute album. It contained a set of covers of Devo songs interspersed with renditions of popular songs in Devo's style. [22]

Devo actively embraced the parody religion Church of the SubGenius. [23] In concert, Devo sometimes performed as their own opening act, pretending to be a Christian soft rock band called "Dove (the Band of Love)", which is an anagram of "Devo". They appeared as Dove in the 1980 televangelism spoof film Pray TV .

1980–1983: Mainstream breakthrough, Freedom of Choice, and New Traditionalists

Devo gained a new level of visibility with 1980's Freedom of Choice . This album included their best-known hit, "Whip It", which quickly became a Top 40 hit. The album moved to an almost completely electronic sound, with the exception of acoustic drums and Bob Mothersbaugh's guitar. The tour for Freedom of Choice was ambitious for the band, including dates in Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Canada. [24] The band used a minimalist set including large custom light boxes which could be laid on their back to form a second, smaller stage during the second half of the set. Other popular songs from Freedom of Choice were "Girl U Want", the title-track, and "Gates of Steel". The band released popular music videos for "Whip It" and "Girl U Want". Devo made two appearances on the TV show Fridays in 1980, as well as on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, American Bandstand , and other shows. The band members often wore red, terraced Energy dome hats as part of its stage outfit. The dome was first worn during the band's Freedom of Choice campaign of 1980. It reappeared in the 1981, 1982, and 1988 tours, as well as in most of their performances since 1997. Devo also recorded two albums of their own songs as elevator music for their fan club, Club Devo, released on cassette in 1981 and 1984. These were later re-released on the album E-Z Listening Disc (1987), with all but two of the original Club Devo songs. These songs were often played as house music before Devo concerts.

In August 1981, the band's DEV-O Live EP spent three weeks at the top of the Australian charts. [25] In 1982, they toured Australia and appeared on the TV show Countdown . Devo enjoyed continued popularity in Australia, where the nationally broadcast 1970s–1980s pop TV show Countdown was one of the first programs in the world to broadcast their video clips. They were given consistent radio support by Sydney-based non-commercial rock station Double Jay (2JJ) and Brisbane-based independent community station Triple Zed (4ZZZ), two of the first rock stations outside America to play their recordings. The late-night music program Nightmoves aired The Truth About De-Evolution.

In 1981, Devo contributed a cover of "Working in the Coal Mine", recorded during the Freedom of Choice sessions, to the film Heavy Metal . They offered the song to be used in the film when Warner Bros. refused to include it on the album. Warner then included it as an independent bonus single accompanying their 1981 release, New Traditionalists . For this album Devo wore self-described "Utopian Boy Scout uniforms" topped with a "New Traditionalist Pomp"—a plastic half-wig modeled on the hairstyle of John F. Kennedy. Among the singles from the album was "Through Being Cool", written as a reaction to their new-found fame from "Whip It" and seen as a response to new fans who had misinterpreted the message behind the hit song. The album's accompanying tour featured the band performing an intensely physical show with treadmills and a large Greek temple set. That same year they served as Toni Basil's backing band on Word of Mouth, her debut album, which included versions of three Devo songs, recorded with Basil singing lead. [26] [27]

1982–1987: Oh No! It's Devo, Shout, and Myers's departure

Oh, No! It's Devo followed in 1982. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker, the album featured a more synth-pop-oriented sound than its predecessors. According to Gerald Casale, the album's sound was inspired by reviewers alternately describing them as both "fascists" and "clowns". [28] The album's tour featured the band performing seven songs in front of a 12-foot high rear-projection screen with synchronized video, an image recreated using blue screen effects in the album's accompanying music videos. Devo also contributed two songs, "Theme from Doctor Detroit" and "Luv-Luv" to the 1983 Dan Aykroyd film Doctor Detroit , and produced a music video for "Theme from Doctor Detroit" featuring clips from the film with live action segments.

Devo released their sixth album, Shout , in 1984 to poor reviews. The album has been criticized for its overuse of the Fairlight CMI digital sampling synthesizer and weak songwriting. However, the band's cover of the Jimi Hendrix song "Are You Experienced?" and the accompanying music video received some praise. Following the critical and commercial failure of Shout, Warner Bros. dropped Devo. Shortly after, claiming to feel creatively unfulfilled, Alan Myers left the band, [29] causing the remaining band members to abandon the plans for a Shout video LP, as well as a tour. In the interim, Mark Mothersbaugh began composing music for the TV show Pee-wee's Playhouse and released an elaborately packaged solo cassette, Musik for Insomniaks , which was later expanded and released as two CDs in 1988.

1987–1991: Total Devo, Smooth Noodle Maps, and breakup

In 1987, Devo re-formed with former Sparks drummer David Kendrick to replace Myers. Their first project was a soundtrack for the flop horror film Slaughterhouse Rock , starring Toni Basil. The band released the album Total Devo in 1988, on Enigma Records. This album included two songs used in the Slaughterhouse Rock soundtrack. The song "Baby Doll" was used that same year in the comedy film Tapeheads , with newly recorded Swedish lyrics, and was credited to (and shown in a music video by) a fictitious Swedish band called Cube-Squared. Devo followed this up with a world tour, and released the live album Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace . However, Total Devo was not a commercial success and received poor critical reviews. [30]

In 1989, members of Devo were involved in the project Visiting Kids, releasing a self-titled EP on the New Rose label in 1990. [31] The band featured Mark's then-wife Nancye Ferguson, as well as David Kendrick, Bob Mothersbaugh, and Bob's daughter Alex Mothersbaugh. Their record was produced by Bob Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, and Mark also co-wrote some of the songs. Visiting Kids appeared on the soundtrack to the film Rockula , as well as on Late Night with David Letterman . A promotional video was filmed for the song "Trilobites".

In 1990, Smooth Noodle Maps , Devo's last album for twenty years, was released. It too was a critical and commercial failure which, along with its two singles "Stuck in a Loop" and "Post Post-Modern Man", hold the distinction of being Devo's worst-selling efforts; all failed to appear on the U.S. charts. [32] Devo launched a concert tour in support of the album, but poor ticket sales and the bankruptcy and dissolution of Enigma Records, who was responsible for organizing and financing the tour, caused it to be cancelled part way through. They had a falling out and played one final show in March 1991 before breaking up. In an interview with Mark Mothersbaugh from excerpts on their 1996 computer game Devo Presents Adventures of the Smart Patrol , "Around '88, '89, '90 maybe, we did our last tour in Europe, and it was kind of at that point, We were watching This Is Spinal Tap on the bus and said, 'Oh my God, that's our life.' And we just said, 'Things have to change.' So we kind of agreed from there that we wouldn't do live shows anymore." Around this time, members of Devo appeared in the film The Spirit of '76 , except for Bob Mothersbaugh. Two albums of demo recordings from 1974–1977— Hardcore Devo: Volume One (1990) and Hardcore Devo: Volume Two (1991)—were released on Rykodisc, as well as an album of early live recordings, DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years .

1991–1996: Hiatus

Following the split, Mark Mothersbaugh established Mutato Muzika, a commercial music production studio, along with Bob Mothersbaugh and Bob Casale. [33] Mothersbaugh meant to further a career as a composer, and the latter worked as an audio engineer. Mothersbaugh has had considerable success writing and producing music for television programs, including Pee-wee's Playhouse and Rugrats , video games, cartoons, and films, where he worked alongside director Wes Anderson. David Kendrick also worked at Mutato for a period during the early 1990s. Gerald Casale began a career as a director of music videos and commercials, working with bands including Rush, Soundgarden, Silverchair and the Foo Fighters. In the wake of Devo's dissolution, Bob Mothersbaugh attempted to start a solo career with The Bob I Band, recording an album that was never released. The tapes for this are now lost, though a bootleg recording of the band in concert exists and can be obtained through the bootleg aggregator Booji Boy's Basement. [34]

While they did not release any studio albums during this period, Devo sporadically reconvened to record a number of songs for various films and compilations, including a cover of the Nine Inch Nails hit "Head Like a Hole" for the 1992 film Police Story 3: Super Cop and a new recording of "Girl U Want" on the soundtrack to the 1995 film Tank Girl . [35]

1996–2007: Reunion

In January 1996, Devo performed a reunion concert at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The band performed on part of the 1996 Lollapalooza tour in the rotating Mystery Spot. On these tours and most subsequent tours, Devo performed a set-list mostly composed of material from between 1978 and 1982, ignoring their Enigma Records-era material. Also in 1996, Devo released a multimedia CD-ROM adventure game, Adventures of the Smart Patrol with Inscape. The game was not a success, but the Lollapalooza tour was received well enough to allow Devo to return in 1997 as a headliner. Devo performed sporadically from 1997 onwards.

The Oh, No! It's Devo era outtakes "Faster and Faster" and "One Dumb Thing", as well as the Shout era outtake "Modern Life", were restored, completed and used in the video game Interstate '82 , developed by Activision and released in 1999. Also that year, Mothersbaugh started the Devo side-project The Wipeouters, featuring himself (keyboards, organ), Bob Mothersbaugh (guitar), Bob Casale (guitar), and Mutato Muzika composer Josh Mancell (drums). The Wipeouters performed the theme song to the Nickelodeon animated series Rocket Power , and in 2001 they released an album of surf rock material, titled P'Twaaang!!!. [36]

In 2005, Devo recorded a new version of "Whip It" to be used in Swiffer television commercials, a decision they have said they regretted. During an interview with the Dallas Observer , Gerald Casale said, "It's just aesthetically offensive. It's got everything a commercial that turns people off has." [37] The song "Beautiful World" was also used in a re-recorded form for an ad for Target stores. Due to rights issues with their back catalog, Devo has re-recorded songs for films and ads.

In 2005, Gerald Casale announced his "solo" project, Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers (the Evildoers themselves including the other members of Devo), and released the first EP, Army Girls Gone Wild in 2006. A full-length album, Mine Is Not a Holy War , was released on September 12, 2006, after a several-month delay. It featured mostly new material, plus re-recordings of four obscure Devo songs: "I Need a Chick" and "I Been Refused" (from Hardcore Devo: Volume Two ), "Find Out" (which appeared on the single and EP of "Peek-a-Boo!" in 1982), and "Beehive" (which was recorded by the band in 1974, at which point it was apparently abandoned with the exception of one appearance at a special show in 2001). Devo continued to tour actively in 2005 and 2006, [38] unveiling a new stage show at appearances in October 2006, with the Jihad Jerry character performing "Beautiful World" as an encore.

Also in 2006, Devo worked on a project with Disney known as Devo 2.0. A band of child performers was assembled and re-recorded Devo songs. A quote from the Akron Beacon Journal stated, "Devo recently finished a new project in cahoots with Disney called Devo 2.0, which features the band playing old songs and two new ones with vocals provided by children. Their debut album, a two disc CD/DVD combo entitled DEV2.0, was released on March 14, 2006. The lyrics of some of the songs were changed for family-friendly airplay, which has been claimed by the band to be a play on irony of the messages of their classic hits." [39]

Mark Mothersbaugh performing live with Devo at the Festival Internacional de Benicassim, 2007. Devo.JPG
Mark Mothersbaugh performing live with Devo at the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, 2007.

In an April 2007 interview, Gerald Casale mentioned a tentative project for a biographical film about Devo's early days. [40] According to Casale, a script was supposedly in development, called The Beginning Was the End. Devo played their first European tour since 1990 in the summer of 2007, including a performance at Festival Internacional de Benicàssim.

2007–present: Something for Everybody and current activities

In December 2007, Devo released their first new single since 1990, "Watch Us Work It", which was featured in a commercial for Dell. [41] The song features a sample drum track from the New Traditionalists song "The Super Thing". Casale said that the song was chosen from a batch that the band was working on, and that it was the closest the band had been to a new album.

Devo performing live at Festival Hall, in Melbourne, Australia, 2008: Casale and Mothersbaugh. Devo two.jpg
Devo performing live at Festival Hall, in Melbourne, Australia, 2008: Casale and Mothersbaugh.

When Devo performed at SXSW in March 2009 [42] the band presented a new stage show with synchronized video backdrops (similar to the 1982 tour), new costumes, and three new songs: "Don't Shoot, I'm a Man!", "What We Do", and "Fresh". The album, Something for Everybody was eventually released in June 2010, preceded by a 12" single of "Fresh"/"What We Do". [43]

On September 16, 2009, Warner Bros. and Devo announced a re-release of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and Freedom of Choice, with a tour performing both albums. [44]

Devo was awarded the first Moog Innovator Award on October 29, 2010, during Moogfest 2010 in Asheville, North Carolina. The Moog Innovator Award has been said to celebrate "pioneering artists whose genre-defying work exemplifies the bold, innovative spirit of Bob Moog". [45] Devo was scheduled to perform at Moogfest, but Bob Mothersbaugh severely injured his hand three days prior, and the band was forced to cancel. Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale collaborated with Austin, Texas, band The Octopus Project to perform "Girl U Want" and "Beautiful World" at the event instead. [46]

The band split from Warner Bros in 2012 and launched a new "post-Warner Brothers" website that would offer "new protective gear" and "unreleased material from the archives in vinyl disc format". [47]

In August 2012, the band released a single called "Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro (Seamus Unleashed)", [48] dedicated to the Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney's former pet dog Seamus. The title relates to the Mitt Romney dog incident, which occurred in 1983 when Romney traveled twelve hours with the dog in a crate on his car's roof rack. Alan Myers died of stomach cancer [29] [49] in Los Angeles, California, on June 24, 2013. He was 58. News reports at the time of his death incorrectly cited brain cancer as the cause. [29] [50] [51] Bob Casale died on February 17, 2014, at 61. According to his brother Gerald, it was a "sudden death from conditions that led to heart failure". [52]

Gerald Casale mentioned plans to release a collection of demos from the sessions of Something for Everybody , with potential titles being Devo Opens the Vault, Gems from the Devo Dumpster, or Something Else for Everybody. [53] The album was eventually titled Something Else For Everybody and was released on May 20, 2014.

The band toured the US and Canada in June and July 2014, playing ten dates consisting of their "experimental music" composed and recorded from 1974–1978. Planned as a 40th anniversary tour, this outing was billed as the "Hardcore Devo" tour. Partial proceeds for the ten shows went to support Bob Casale's family after his sudden death. [54] The June 28 Oakland show was filmed and turned into the concert film Hardcore Devo Live! , released on Blu-ray, DVD, and Video on Demand on February 10, 2015, along with CD and double-vinyl audios. [55] [56] Following the Hardcore tour, Devo performed several more tours throughout late 2014, with former Elevator Drops guitarist Josh Hager (a.k.a. Garvy J) replacing Bob Casale.

Robert Mothersbaugh, Sr., father of Mark, Bob, and Jim Mothersbaugh, who portrayed General Boy in various Devo films, died on May 22, 2016, according to the Mothersbaugh family. [57]

A documentary film about Devo, entitled Are We Not Men? and directed by Tony Pemberton, [58] had started production in 2009 but was still in post-production as of 2018. On September 23, 2017, the official Twitter account for the documentary, operated by music and film producer Jeff Winner, stated that "the film was finished years ago" and that "mm [Mark Mothersbaugh] is blocking its release". [59] Winner, who is also the Consulting Producer for the Devo documentary, went on to state that he and Pemberton had "delivered the film that was contracted, and on schedule. It's now in the hands of the band to decide when/how it's released/distributed." [60]

After a four year hiatus from live performances, Devo headlined the Burger Boogaloo festival in Oakland, California on June 30, 2018. Comedian and former Trenchmouth drummer Fred Armisen filled in for Josh Freese on drums. [61]

In October 2018, Devo was announced as a nominee to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Band members

Timeline

Devo

Notes

Discography

Studio albums

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Oh, No! Its Devo</i> 1982 studio album by Devo

Oh, No! It's Devo is the fifth studio album by the American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in October 1982, on the labels Warner Bros. and Virgin. The album was recorded over a period of four months, between May and September 1982, at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles. By the time of its release, Devo were a full-fledged synth-pop act, with guitar-based new wave sounds pushed more towards the background. Most of the music on Oh, No! It's Devo was created by electronic means, giving it a much different sound than the band's earlier albums, such as their 1978 debut Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, which relied more on guitars than synthesizers. This alienated some fans, despite the band stating since at least 1978 that their goal was to "de-emphasize" guitars. The album was produced by prominent producer Roy Thomas Baker, who had notably worked with, among others, Queen and The Cars.

<i>New Traditionalists</i> 1981 studio album by Devo

New Traditionalists is the fourth studio album by the American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in August 1981, on the labels Warner Bros. and Virgin. The album was recorded over a period of four months between December 1980 and April 1981, at The Power Station, in Manhattan, New York City. The album's sound continued in the vein of their previous studio album Freedom of Choice, with synthesizers moved even further to the forefront and the guitars became more subdued. Some of the tracks featured drum machines for the first time on a Devo album. In addition, the lyrics are frequently dark and vitriolic. It features the minor hits "Through Being Cool" and "Beautiful World."

Gerald Casale American musician

Gerald Vincent "Jerry" Casale is an American musician, composer, music video director, and vintner.

Mongoloid (song) 1977 single by Devo

"Mongoloid" is the first single released by American new wave band Devo in 1977, on the Booji Boy Records label. It was backed with the song "Jocko Homo". "Mongoloid" also had one of the first music videos made using collage. "Mongoloid" would later be re-recorded by Devo and appeared on the album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! in 1978. It is also a staple of Devo's live shows.

<i>Shout</i> (Devo album) 1984 studio album by Devo

Shout is the sixth studio album by American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in October 1984, on the labels Warner Bros. and Virgin, two years after their previous album, Oh, No! It's Devo. The album was recorded over a period of ten months between July 1983 and Feb 1984, in sessions that took place at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, California. The album retained the synth-pop sound of their previous few records, with an extensive focus on the then-new Fairlight CMI Series IIx digital sampling synthesizer. Despite the popularity of synth-pop in 1984, the album was a critical and commercial failure, peaking at only No. 83 on the Billboard 200 and ultimately leading to Warner Bros. dropping the band from their label. Shout was the second Devo album in which co-founder and bass player Gerald Casale sang the majority of the lead vocals, which are usually performed by Mark Mothersbaugh.

Booji Boy is a character created in the early 1970s by the American new wave band Devo. The name is pronounced "Boogie Boy"—the strange spelling "Booji" resulted when the band was using Letraset to produce captions for a film, and ran out of the letter "g". When the "i" was added but before the "e," Devo's lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh reportedly remarked that the odd spelling "looked right."

<i>Total Devo</i> 1988 studio album by Devo

Total Devo is the seventh studio album by the American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in May 1988, their first album on Enigma Records, four years after their previous album, Shout. The album was recorded between 1986 and 1988, with the basic tracks recorded at Devo studios, in Marina del Rey, and the additional tracks at Master Control, in Burbank, California.

<i>Devo Live 1980</i> 2005 live album (DualDisc) by Devo

DEVO Live 1980 is a DualDisc release by pioneering new wave band Devo.

Jocko Homo 1977 single by Devo

"Jocko Homo" is the B-side to Devo's first single, "Mongoloid," released in 1977 on Devo's own label, Booji Boy Records and later released in the UK on Stiff Records. The song was re-recorded as the feature song for Devo's first album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! on Warner Bros. Records in 1978. The original version peaked at #62 on the UK Singles Chart. It is based on a chant from the 1932 movie Island of Lost Souls. "Jocko Homo" introduced the call-and-response "Are we not men?" / "We are Devo!" It is generally considered to be Devo's anthem. The title is taken from a 1924 anti-evolution tract called Jocko-Homo Heavenbound by B. H. Shadduck, where it is explained as meaning "ape-man." The song revolves around an idiosyncratic descending guitar riff and absurdist lyrics.

<i>Smooth Noodle Maps</i> 1990 studio album by Devo

Smooth Noodle Maps is the eighth studio album by the American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in June 1990 and would be their last album released through Enigma. The album was recorded over a period of three months between October 1989 and January 1990, at Master Control Studios, in Burbank, California. Smooth Noodle Maps was Devo's last full-length studio album until the release of Something for Everybody in 2010, as well as the last Devo studio album to feature David Kendrick on drums.

<i>DEV-O Live</i> 1981 live album by Devo

DEV-O Live is a live EP by American new wave band Devo. It was recorded during the Freedom of Choice tour of 1980, at the Fox Warfield Theatre. Initially only six songs from the show were released on an EP in 1981, intended for airplay use. It featured the otherwise-unreleased "Freedom of Choice Theme Song" and a reworked version of "Be Stiff".

<i>Devos Greatest Misses</i> 1990 compilation album by Devo

Greatest Misses is a collection of songs by Devo released in 1990. The album includes several photos from previous albums, and the second half of an article on the band by Howie Klein. The first half of this article appears in the accompanying material for Devo's Greatest Hits. Greatest Misses contains lesser-known tracks and alternate versions of tracks from other albums. It has a Parental Advisory label because of the song "Penetration in the Centerfold".

In Devo's music videos, early concerts, literature, and short films, the band created a pastiche and parody of the real world via the idea of "Spudland". Many characters and concepts reoccur in different media.

<i>DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years</i> 1992 live album by Devo

DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years is a live album consisting of recordings from three early Devo performances.

The Truth About De-Evolution was the first music video for the band Devo, directed by Chuck Statler. Filmed in May 1976, it contains two separate songs: "Secret Agent Man" and "Jocko Homo". It won First Prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1977, and was routinely screened before Devo live concerts. It is included as an extra on the Criterion release of Island of Lost Souls (1932).

<i>B Stiff EP</i> 1977 EP by Devo

B Stiff is the first EP by new wave musicians Devo, released in 1977. It is a compilation of the three 7-inch singles released by the band on Stiff Records in the UK. The cover was created by graphic designer Barney Bubbles and photographer Brian Griffin.

<i>Something for Everybody</i> (Devo album) album by Devo

Something for Everybody is the ninth studio album by the American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in June 2010 on their original label Warner Bros., and was their first issued on that label since their sixth studio album Shout in 1984. The album was recorded between July 2007 and mid-2009, at Mutato Muzika, in West Hollywood, California. The album is the last Devo album to feature Bob Casale, who died in February 2014.

<i>Hardcore Devo Live!</i> 2015 live album (CD, LP, DVD, Blu-Ray) by Devo

Hardcore Devo Live! is a concert film and live album, showcasing the June 28th, 2014 performance at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, California of Devo's 2014 "Hardcore Devo Live" tour. The tour commemorates the 40th anniversary of the band, and pays tribute to former band member, Bob Casale who died February 17th, 2014. The set list exclusively focuses on songs written between 1974 and 1977, before Devo had a recording contract. Many of the songs had not been performed by the band since 1977. While the music is largely performed as a quartet, the band is augmented, off-stage, by Brian Applegate on additional keyboards and bass guitar. The tour was also the last tour to feature Josh Freese on drums.

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Further reading