Gerald Casale

Last updated
Gerald Casale
DevoJerry78.jpg
Casale performing live with Devo, 1978
Background information
Birth nameGerald Vincent Pizzute
Also known asJerry
Born (1948-07-28) July 28, 1948 (age 70)
Ravenna, Ohio, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • multi-instrumentalist
  • record producer
  • music video director
Instruments
  • Bass guitar
  • vocals
  • synthesizer
  • guitar
Years active1972–present
Labels
Associated acts

Gerald Vincent "Jerry" Casale (born Gerald Vincent Pizzute; July 28, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, commercial and music video director, and vintner.

Contents

Casale's music career spans more than 40 years. He came to prominence in the late 1970s as co-founder and bass player of the new wave band Devo, which released a Top 20 hit in 1980 with the single "Whip It". Casale is one of the main composers of Devo's music and directed most of Devo's music videos. [4] He is one of only two members (along with lead singer and keyboardist Mothersbaugh) who have been with Devo throughout its entire history. Casale's brother Bob has also performed with the band.

New wave is a genre of rock music popular in the late 1970s and the 1980s with ties to mid-1970s punk rock. New wave moved away from blues and rock and roll sounds to create rock music or pop music (later) that incorporated disco, mod, and electronic music. Initially new wave was similar to punk rock, before becoming a distinct genre. It subsequently engendered subgenres and fusions, including synth-pop.

Devo American rock band

Devo is an American rock band from Akron, Ohio formed in 1973. Their classic lineup consisted of two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs and the Casales, 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.

Whip It (Devo song) Devo song

"Whip It" is a song by American rock band Devo from their third album Freedom of Choice (1980). It is a new wave and synth-pop song that features a synthesizer, electric guitar, bass guitar, and drums in its instrumentation. The apparently nonsensical lyrics have a common theme revolving around the ability to deal with one's problems by "whipping it". Co-written by bassist Gerald Casale and singer Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo recorded "Whip It" with producer Robert Margouleff at the Record Plant in Los Angeles.

Casale pursued a solo career in 2005 while still a member of Devo with the project Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers. The project received little promotion beyond a music video for the single "Army Girls Gone Wild." Jihad Jerry performed at several shows near the end of Devo's 2006 tour, performing the song "Beautiful World". He has also performed occasionally with other bands.

Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers

Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers is the solo project of American musician Gerald Casale, best known as a founding member and "chief strategist" of the influential band Devo. Jihad Jerry also includes contributions from Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Mothersbaugh, and his brother Bob Casale. It also adds drummer Josh Freese, who had previously only worked with them when Devo was on tour.

Beautiful World (Devo song) 1981 single by Devo

"Beautiful World" is a song by the American new wave band Devo, written by Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh. It appears on their fourth studio album New Traditionalists.

Casale has also directed music videos for other recording artists, including The Cars ("Touch and Go"), Rush ("Mystic Rhythms"), A Perfect Circle ("Imagine"), Foo Fighters ("I'll Stick Around"), Soundgarden ("Blow Up the Outside World"), and Silverchair ("Freak" and "Cemetery"), among others. [5]

The Cars American pop-rock band

The Cars were an American rock band that emerged from the new wave scene in the late 1970s. The band originated in Boston in 1976, with singer, rhythm guitarist, and songwriter Ric Ocasek; bassist and singer Benjamin Orr; lead guitarist Elliot Easton; keyboardist Greg Hawkes; and drummer David Robinson.

Touch and Go (The Cars song) single by The Cars

"Touch and Go" is a song by American rock band The Cars from their 1980 album Panorama. The song was written by bandleader Ric Ocasek.

Rush (band) Canadian rock band

Rush was a Canadian rock band consisting of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson (guitars), and Neil Peart. Formed in 1968, the band went through several configurations until arriving at its longest and most popular line-up when Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in July 1974, two weeks before the group's first tour of the United States.

Early life

Gerald Vincent Pizzute was born on July 28, 1948, in Ravenna, Ohio. He was born with the last name Pizzute because his father, Bob, had legally changed his name (his birth name having been Robert Edward Casale) to that of his foster parents. Four years after Gerald's birth, his father changed his name back to his birth name. Gerald Casale grew up in Kent, Ohio and graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1966. [6]

Ravenna, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Ravenna is a city in Portage County, Ohio, United States. It was formed from portions of Ravenna Township in the Connecticut Western Reserve. The population was 11,724 in the 2010 Census and estimated at 11,461 in 2017. It is the county seat of Portage County. Ravenna was founded in 1799, platted in 1808, and is named for the city of Ravenna, Italy. The city is part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area and the larger Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area.

Kent, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Kent is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the largest city in Portage County. It is located along the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio on the western edge of the county. The population was 28,904 in the 2010 Census and was estimated at 29,915 in 2017. The city is counted as part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area and the larger Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area.

Theodore Roosevelt High School (Kent, Ohio) high school in Kent, Ohio, United States

Theodore Roosevelt High School, often referred to as Kent Roosevelt (KRHS), is a public high school in Kent, Ohio, United States. It is the only high school in Kent and the Kent City School District and serves students in grades 9–12 living in Kent, Franklin Township, Brady Lake, and Sugar Bush Knolls as well as a small portion of southern Streetsboro. As of 2017, enrollment was 1,281 students with 110 teachers for a student–teacher ratio of 12:1. Recognition for academic performance over the years has come from the United States Department of Education, Ohio Department of Education, and U.S. News & World Report.

Career

The Numbers Band

Prior to Devo, Casale had played bass guitar with the Numbers Band. He caused friction in the band by suggesting that they should incorporate advertising jingles and other "low culture" elements into their music. [4]

The Numbers Band are an American blues rock and experimental rock band formed in Kent, Ohio, United States in 1969. They are part of the 'Akron Sound' that sprang forth from their home state.

Low culture A derogatory term for forms of popular culture that have mass appeal

"Low culture" is a derogatory term for forms of popular culture that have mass appeal. Its contrast is "high culture", which can also be derogatory. It has been said by culture theorists that both high culture and low culture are subcultures.

Devo

After leaving the Numbers Band and graduation, Casale attended Kent State University, majoring in Art (focusing on fine/performing arts and fashion-related studies). In the late 1960s, he was a self-described hippie until the May 4, 1970 shootings. Being involved with Freshman orientation at the KSU Honors College, he personally knew two of the victims, Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause, and was near Krause when she was shot. [7] Casale described that day in multiple interviews as being "the day I stopped being a hippie". [8] Together with Bob Lewis, Casale used the shooting as a catalyst to develop the concept of Devolution, forming the band Devo in 1973. [7] [9]

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.

Kent State shootings occurred at Kent State University in the U.S. city of Kent, Ohio

The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre, were the shootings on May 4, 1970, of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, during a mass protest against the bombing of Cambodia by United States military forces. Twenty-eight guardsmen fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.

Freshman person in their first year at an educational institution

A freshman, first year, or frosh, is a person in the first year at an educational institution, usually a secondary or post-secondary school.

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

According to Casale, the album Oh, No! It's Devo's sound was inspired by reviewers alternately describing them as both "fascists" and "clowns." [10] Following the commercial failure of their sixth studio album Shout , on which Casale sang the majority of the tracks, Warner Bros. dropped Devo. Shortly after, claiming to feel creatively unfulfilled, Alan Myers left the band, [11] causing the remaining band members to abandon the plans for a Shout video LP, as well as a tour.

In 1987, Devo reformed with new drummer David Kendrick, formerly of Sparks, to replace Myers. Their first project was a soundtrack for the flop horror film Slaughterhouse Rock , starring Toni Basil and they released the albums Total Devo (1988) and Smooth Noodle Maps (1990), on Enigma.

Devo had a falling out and played two shows in 1991 before breaking up. Around this time, members of Devo appeared in the film The Spirit of '76 , except for Bob Mothersbaugh. Following the split, Casale began a career as a director of music videos and commercials, working with bands including Rush, Soundgarden, Silverchair and the Foo Fighters.

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 , Casale said, "It's just aesthetically offensive. It's got everything a commercial that turns people off has." [12]

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. [13]

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

In an April 2007 interview, Gerald Casale mentioned a tentative project for a biographical film about Devo's early days. [14] According to Casale, a script was supposedly in development, called The Beginning Was the End. Casale stated that there might be some new Devo material coming as well, but whether it was related to the release of a film was unclear. Devo played their first European tour since 1990 in the summer of 2007, including a performance at Festival Internacional de Benicàssim.

In December 2007, Devo released their first new single since 1990, "Watch Us Work It", which was featured in a commercial for Dell. [15] The song features a sample drum track from the New Traditionalists song "The Super Thing". The band announced in a July 23, 2007, MySpace bulletin that a full-length music video for the song was forthcoming and the song itself was available on iTunes and eMusic. 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.

In a December 5, 2007, article on Mutato Muzika, LA Weekly reported that "After touring sporadically over the past decade but not releasing any new material, Devo are spending December at Mutato trying to create an album's worth of new material and contemplating a method of dispersal in the post-record-company world." [16] In an April 2008 interview, [17] Mothersbaugh revealed a song title from the in-progress album: "Don't Shoot, I'm a Man". In a radio interview on April 17, 2008, Casale stated that Mothersbaugh had "killed the project" and that there would be no new Devo album. Casale, however, later stated that "We're going to finish what we started." [18]

The album, Something for Everybody was eventually released in June 2010, preceded by a 12" single of "Fresh"/"What We Do". [19]

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". [20] 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. [21]

In an interview on March 3, 2011, Casale stated that he was "working on a script for a... Devo musical" that would be aimed towards a live Broadway production. [22]

In August 2012, the band released a single called "Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro (Seamus Unleashed)", [23] 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. Casale has also 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. [24] The album was eventually titled Something Else for Everybody and was released on May 20, 2014.

Other work

Casale as Jihad Jerry performing live with Devo in San Francisco, California, 2006 JihadJerry.jpg
Casale as Jihad Jerry performing live with Devo in San Francisco, California, 2006

In 2005, 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, then apparently abandoned with the exception of one appearance at a special show in 2001). [25]

Casale directed several television commercials, including ads for Diet Coke and Honda Scooters featuring Devo, as well as for Coco's restaurants, [26] and Miller Lite. Distinctive elements of Casale's visual style include dutch angles, desaturated color, and color washes on images. [27]

While Jihad Jerry never toured, the theatrical character appeared with Devo at several shows in 2006, as well as on the Fox News program Red Eye . Casale abandoned the Jihad Jerry character in 2007; [28] He was quoted as saying "People are kind of freaked out by the Jihad Jerry stuff. I thought they'd all think it was really funny and get off on it but people are really offended and scared... I think that's it. I don’t want them to have Jihad Jerry to kick around anymore!". [29] Later Casale donned the Jihad Jerry turban for a performance with UK-based DJ and producer Adam Freeland at the South by Southwest music festival in 2009. [30]

Casale and Mothersbaugh have also produced music for other artists including Toni Basil. [31]

In 2014, Casale made a cameo appearance in a 1980s themed Delta Air Lines in-flight safety video, portraying a passenger who puts his "carry on" item (a Devo energy dome) under the seat in front of him in order to prepare for takeoff.

Casale joined the Italian electronic artist Phunk Investigation for a song "It's All Devo!" released under the name Devo's Gerald Casale for Record Store Day 2016.

Equipment

Casale has played several types of bass guitars left-handed, mostly heavily customized. Among the most distinctive is a teardrop shaped bass, actually a Gibson Ripper with its horns sawed off and a thick arm padding added to the top side, as seen in videos for "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Come Back Jonee". From 1981 on, Casale has used a right-handed Steinberger L-series bass guitar, played upside down. He has played various keyboard basses, including a Minimoog, a custom six-oscillator Moog keybass and a Roland D-50. Currently, Casale uses a Korg synthesizer for bass. [32]

Personal life

Casale took an interest in wine after moving to California in 1978. [33] In the 1990s he taught classes in wine tasting for three years during Devo's hiatus. [34] In 2014, he announced that he would be opening a new wine company, The 50 by 50, selling Pinot noirs. [35]

Casale bought the historic Josef Kun House in 2007 and spent seven years in meticulous restoration with the help of preservationist James Rega. The house was designed by Richard Neutra in the early 1930s. Casale placed the house on the market in 2015. [36]

On February 17, 2014, Gerald Casale's younger brother and former Devo keyboardist and guitarist Bob Casale, died at 61. According to Gerald, it was a "sudden death from conditions that led to heart failure." [37]

On September 11, 2015, Casale married Krista Napp in a themed wedding based on the September 11 attacks, with a cake baked in the shape of the Twin Towers. He later apologized after much scrutiny, and said he "understood the outrage." The event was "themed in that style due to the fact that even a tragedy such as September 11th could not stand in the way of the love they have for each other." [38]

Soundtracks

YearTitleDirector(s)Studio(s)Notes
1987 Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise Joe Roth 20th Century Fox with Mark Mothersbaugh
1988 Slaughterhouse Rock Dimitri Logothetis Arista Filmswith Mark Mothersbaugh

Filmography

Music videos

YearSongArtistNotes
1978"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" Devo Co-directed by Chuck Statler
"Come Back Jonee"DevoCo-directed by Chuck Statler
1979"The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprise"Devo
"Worried Man"DevoSegment in the film Human Highway
1980"Panorama" The Cars Co-directed by Chuck Statler
"Touch and Go"The CarsCo-directed by Chuck Statler
"Girl U Want"DevoCo-directed by Chuck Statler
"Freedom of Choice"DevoCo-directed by Chuck Statler
"Whip It"Devo
1981"Love Without Anger"DevoCo-directed by Chuck Statler
"Through Being Cool"Devo
"Beautiful World"Devo
1982"Time Out for Fun"DevoCo-directed by Chuck Statler
"Peek-a-Boo!"DevoCo-directed by Chuck Statler
"That's Good"DevoCo-directed by Chuck Statler
1983"Theme from Doctor Detroit"DevoCo-directed by Chuck Statler
1984"Are You Experienced?"DevoCo-directed by Chuck Statler
1985"Meeting in the Ladies Room" Klymaxx
"Mystic Rhythms" Rush
"One More Colour" Jane Siberry
1988"Disco Dancer"Devo
1989"Superconductor"Rush
1990"Post Post-Modern Man"Devo
1995"I'll Stick Around" Foo Fighters
1996"Blow Up the Outside World" Soundgarden
1997"You Don't Have to Hurt No More" Mint Condition
"Freak" Silverchair
"Cemetery"Silverchair
"Bikeracks"Cola
"Green to Me" Hum
"Downtime"Fat
1998"Self Destructive" Ridel High
2004"Imagine" A Perfect Circle
2006"Army Girls Gone Wild" Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers Co-directed by Grady Sain
2009"Don't Shoot (I'm a Man)"DevoCo-directed by Davy Force
2010"Fresh"DevoCo-directed by Davy Force
2011"What We Do"DevoCo-directed by Kii Arens and Jason Trucco
"California" Datarock
2016"It's All Devo!"Devo's Gerald Casale with Phunk InvestigationCo-directed with Maurizio Temporin

Discography

Devo

Solo

YearTitleLabelNotes
2005"Army Girls Gone Wild" EP Cordless Recordings as Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers
2006Mine Is Not a Holy War Cordless Recordings as Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers
2008"To Be or Not"X Productionas Devo's Gerald Casale with Die Alten Maschinen
2016"It's All Devo!"MVDas Devo's Gerald Casale with Phunk Investigation

See also

Related Research Articles

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