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Song Name:  Auto Modown AKA "Auto Mo-down"

Appears On: Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1, 74-77. "Auto Modown [Early Version]"(2:09) appears on Art Devo 1973-1977

Run Time: 2:01 (compilation version)

Year Recorded: 1974 (compilation version)

Years Performed: [1] 1975, 2014 setlist.fm stats

Writing Credits: Gerald V. Casale

Sung By: Gerald V. Casale

Personnel: 1975*

Gerald V. Casale - electric bass, vocals
Mark Mothersbaugh - electric keyboards (officially released version)
Bob Mothersbaugh - electric guitar
Jim Mothersbaugh - electric drums
2014: Jerry, Mark, Bob 1, Josh.  (HARD CORE TOUR 2014)

Alternate Versions: Originated as a "blues jam" with Gerald V. Casale and "a Kent, Ohio friend." By 1972 it was recorded.

Demo Versions:

  • Official release is a November, 1974 demo.
  • Officially unreleased demo alternate take, circa May 1974. YouTube
  • A never-released proto-Devo acetate from 1972 includes this song, as performed by Gerald Casale (bass), Peter Gregg (lead guitar), and Bob Lewis (slide guitar).

Trivia / Info:[]

  • This is one of the oldest G.V.C. compositions recorded by DEVO.
  • Auto Modown premiered online as a limited time digital stream within a Rolling Stone article about the re-release of Hardcore Vol.1 and 2.
In that article G.V. Casale says it "started as a blues jam I wrote and played with a Kent, Ohio friend."
  • The subject matter comes from a newspaper article about a traffic accident in Ohio. The lyrics refer to the victim's shoes being knocked off by the force of the impact.
  • G.V.C. intentionally spells "mow down" as "modown" in the song title. (Spelled "Auto Mo-Down" on the HARDCORE DEVO TOUR set list.)ref
  • The 1974 recordings feature Jim Mothersbaugh on drums.
  • The alternate take from May 1974 features a more synthetic and primitive-sounding audio effect, and due to the loose performance, comes in earlier in the song.
  • Performed live on 04/04/75 at University Auditorium, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio. The John Waters film "Pink Flamingos" was shown twice this night. DEVO performed a set before both showings.




The released "hardcore" demo features a sound repeatedly played starting at 0:24". This sound - slowed down - is used in Transformers transformation sequences.[2] YouTube.

The sound was part of the music track in the TV commercial for the Marvel comic book series before being used as the transformers transform sound effect in the subsequent TV series. The composer or a sound effects technician may have incorporated a Harald Bode sound effect from a R.A. Moog Modular synth into the commercial music track.

(Devo fan Thomas Dolby scored commercials - like the Honda commercials that debuted in April 1984 - but there is no proof Devo played then unreleasedAuto Modown” for a composer or a sound effects technician and there is no way to contact them. Johnny Douglas composed the original music used in the pilot miniseries.)

The “Auto-Modown” demo tape recording can be heard on the 1979 “Devonia” bootleg LP.




Lyrics:
Auto mo-down
Down in Youngstown
Bodies in the street
Auto mowdown
Noon in downtown
Bodies with no feet
Auto mowdown
Down in Youngstown
Bodies got de'blues
Auto mowdown
Noon in downtown
Bodies with no shoes
An acid head goon
In a '55 Dodge
Didn't mean to do it
But a sidewalk run
In the noonday sun
Ten to one, he had to lose it

References[]

  1. DEVO Live Guide. Website keyword search for "auto modown".
  2. transformers.wikia.com. Transformation: The Noise. transform/reverse transform sound (sound file).

External Links[]

Auto Modown (releases) MusicBrainz
Auto Modown (overview) AllMusic
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DEVO
Mark Mothersbaugh | Gerry Casale | Bob Mothersbaugh
Bob Lewis | Bob Casale | Jim Mothersbaugh | Alan Myers
David Kendrick | Josh Freese
Jeff Friedl | Josh Hager
Record Labels / Publishers
Booji Boy Records | Warner Brothers | Enigma | Devo, Inc. 
Stiff | Virgin | Rykodisk | Infinite Zero | Restless | Discovery | Rhino 
MVD Audio | The Orchard | Superior Viaduct | Futurismo
Production
Brian Eno | Ken Scott | Robert Margouleff | Roy Thomas Baker | DEVO 
The Teddybears | Greg Kurstin | Santi White | John King | John Hill | Mark Nishita 
Official Studio Albums
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) | Duty Now For The Future (1979) | Freedom of Choice (1980) | New Traditionalists (1981) | oh, no! it's Devo (1982) | Shout (1984) | Total Devo (1988) | SmoothNoodleMaps (1990) | Something for Everybody   (2010)
Other Albums
Be Stiff EP (1978) | E-Z Listening Disc (1987) | Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace (1989) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1 74-77 (1990) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 2 1974-1977 (1991) | DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years (1992) | DEV-O Live (1999) | Recombo DNA (2000) | Live In Central Park (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (2012) | Something ELSE for Everybody  (2013) | Miracle Witness Hour  (2014) | Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977  (2014) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015) | Art Devo 1973-1977  (2023)
Filmography
In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution (1976) | The Men Who Make The Music (1981) | Human Highway (1982) | We're All DEVO (1984) | The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (1993) | DEVO Live (2004) | DEVO Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Related Articles
History | Bootlegs | Booji Boy | Devolution | Influence | The Wipeouters | Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers | Devo 2.0 | Akron, Ohio | Kent, Ohio | Music Videos | Cover Versions | Outfits

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