Are we not men? We are DEVO!
“The dumbing down of culture has been exacerbated exponentially. It’s the way people think – or don’t think. Less and less people can form an analytical critical thought: they don’t know how to process information, and just live in the world of soundbites and mindless regurgitation of slogans.” Devo’s Jerry Casale on de-evolution
DEVO is an American New Wave band formed in 1972 consisting of members from Kent and Akron, Ohio. The classic line-up of the band includes 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”, and has maintained a cult following throughout its existence.
We’ve been called a “no-hit wonder.” We don’t care. Gerald V. Casale (2005 Newspaper Interview)
Their style over time has shifted between punk, art rock, post-punk, and New Wave. Their music and stage show mingle kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor, and mordantly satirical social commentary.
“There aren’t enough powerful, good people in the world to stop the freight train of history into the black hole. There are too many evil people and subhuman victims that aren’t equipped to resist any more”. Jerry Casale
“Lies, lies, lies. That’s all we get from those who pretend to know but don’t!”
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.
“We think anarchy and rebellion, as stances, are obsolete, and dishonest. As a matter of fact, they’re designed to keep people where they are.” – Gerald V. Casale (Interview, 1981)
“Big people set the trap for you / Using you-know-what for brains / You’re just another lab experiment / And you’re easy to replace.” – Growing Pains (1984)
“We do give straight answers, but nobody believes them.” – Gerald V. Casale to Dick Clark, American Bandstand interview
“Like the Bible, devolution is basically an extended joke. One man’s doughnut is another man’s death.” Gerald V. Casale
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)
Duty Now for the Future (1979)
Back in 1979, the year before Devo broke out with the weird hit “Whip It,” the New Wave band introduced a character named Rod Rooter, a domineering record company boss. In a satirical video, the fictional executive of “Big Entertainment” forced the band to embrace a line of Devo dolls designed by “our boys down in merchandising.”
Freedom of Choice (1980)
Freedom of choice is what you got / Freedom from choice is what you want. Freedom of Choice
New Traditionalists (1981)
“Love without anger isn’t love at all.”
Oh, No! It’s Devo (1982)
Total Devo (1988)
“The Shadow is one of their best songs ever. More for the fact that the line “We become what we do, not what we pretend.” has been a good guide for me most of my life, than because it’s musically great”. Jim Farley
Smooth Noodle Maps (1990)
“Being in a band is really great when you’re 20. When you’re 30, it’s kind of ‘Spinal Tap,’ and when you’re 40, it’s just pathetic.” – Mark Mothersbaugh (New York Times, Make a Myth, Whip It Good, 2001)
Something for Everybody (2010)
“We’re inspired by reality because the world is so ridiculous and stupid. DE-EVOLUTION IS REAL.” – Gerald V. Casale (2010 Press Release)”
There’s much more to their on-stage fun and games than pure entertainment. “It’s integral to the Devo aesthetic. There is substance behind our fun. There are reasons we move the way we move; we are trying to project what we are thinking through lighting, costumes, props and movements. Most of all we were not trying to be like other bands or move like other bands. And we know what we can’t do – I can’t dance like Michael Jackson, for instance.” Jerry Casale
“I saw them around this time in Central Park, waiting in the hot sun in the general admission line, got there pretty early but was still like 5th row. Puked from the root beer and fake pills I took but felt great afterwards during the concert, first time I had seen their videos, it was awesome and so much fun! First time I watched the Peek A Boo video of the guy getting spanked totally cracked me up! Still a favorite of mine. Had it on laserdisc too, great videos”. Verbusen