WikiDevo
Advertisement

DEVO are an American audio-visual group from Ohio whose members include Gerald V. Casale, Mark Mothersbaugh, and Bob "Bob 1" Mothersbaugh. They were called the "future of rock" by David Bowie. Their innovative live performances, music and videos culturally impacted the late 1970s, early 1980s and today.

Wiki

Scrojo wikiDEVO illustration

Devolutionary Theory[]

The concept of de-evolution – also called devolution - was popularized in the 1970s by the American group Devo, who used it as a central theme in their art, music and aesthetic.
The books Devo: Unmasked / Devo: The Brand reveals that a collaboration of artists and literary students, notably including Bob Lewis and Jerry Casale, began the idea of Devo as a smartass, deadly serious joke.
The 'Devolutionaries' see themselves as agents of change, rejecting cultural and social norms that they believe are holding humanity back. They developed this all-encompassing philosophy as a technique[1] and began to apply it to art in many ways to describe, explain, and understand the state of the world and modern society.
Devolution was a combination of a Wonder Woman comic book and the movie
Island Of Lost Souls, the original, with Bela Lugosi, Charles Laughton. That was
various things I'd been thinking about - devolution, of going ahead to go back,
things falling apart, entropy. It grabbed every piece of information and gave it
some kind of cohesive presence - it was a package.
Just as our music and our identity exist as a technique rather than a style.

Sounds. March 4, 1978. ARE WE NOT READY? by Jon Savage.
Archived on moredarkthanshark.org.
What they learned as students and materials they received from KSU instructors were merged and developed into a cohesive whole.
Advertising campaigns, TV shows and feature-length films were conceived. They became musical reporters.[2]
With Mark Mothersbaugh they began producing more Devo music.
The idea behind Devo was that de-evolution was real, that mankind was actually
devolving rather than evolving, and that we'd be better off if we recognized that
and changed the way we lived.
- Mark as quoted in the guardian.com
The recent Kent State shootings were a significant influence.
previous writing: [ gerald casale says we all Devo. I believe him. ]

Kent State Shootings[]

Kent.edu. May 4 Visitors Center.

At Kent State University on May 4, 1970 The Ohio National Guard shot into the crowd peacefully protesting the illegal expansion of war into Cambodia. Four people were killed and nine wounded.

Geology professor Glenn W. Frank helped save the lives of many protestors angered by the shootings. President of the Black United Students (BUS) Charles Eberhardt, helped save the lives of many students by urging them not to go to the planned protests, as the armed National Guard was there. Black United Students was allied with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and both had peaceful protests before.

Before the Kent State Massacre three protesting students were shot and killed and twenty-eight wounded at the Orangeburg massacre at South Carolina State. After Kent State two students were shot and killed and twelve wounded at the Jackson State killings.

Also on campus at the protests were onlooker Bob Lewis and protester Gerald Casale. Jerry has spoken about how witnessing the shootings changed his life.[3] Mark Mothersbaugh was at the KSU art facility on N. Water Street on May 4. [4] [5] [6] Mark said he and his brother, Bob Mothersbaugh, were separately at Kent State protests on the days before May 4.

wikipedia.org. Kent State shootings

smithsonianmag.com. How 13 Seconds Changed Kent State University Forever.

kent.edu. May 4, 50th Commemoration.

oaks.kent.edu. Orangeburg, Kent State and Jackson State.
Virtual conference. Publication date 2020-04-22.

Selected May 4th books. [7]

previous writing: [ Devo took some inspiration in their music from the infamous Kent State Shootings of 1970. This affected the band a lot, as G. Casale, B. Lewis and M. Mothersbaugh were college students while the horrible event took place. ]

Early Recordings and Performances[]

The technique challenged conventional musical norms when applied to writing and performing music. This was achieved through intentionally repetitive rhythms, mutated lyrics, and simple compositions.

The resulting sound was dehumanizingly futuristic, industrial, and robotic, mirroring their belief in the De-Evolution of humanity. Human civilization was regressing rather than progressing. As technology, modernity, and interlinked systems are advancing rapidly, humans are becoming more 'devolved.'

Devo’s first public performance was in Kent, Ohio in 1973. Devo's music and image were highly satirical, intended to critique American society, especially its conformity and consumerism.

Lineup Changes[]

DEVO, especially Mark and Jerry, wrote and created the film In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution. It was made with the participation of director Chuck Statler and editor Dale Cooper. Mark says that Chuck, a friend of Jerry’s, "suggested we get together and make this film[1].”

By 1976 drummer Alan Myers joined DEVO. He did not participate in the film The Truth About De-Evolution - Jim Mothersbaugh came back for the filming. Alan's talents contributed to the success of DEVO in the late 70's and early 80's.

The group began to gain notoriety after the release of their debut single Jocko Homo in 1977. The single was a hit in the UK, peaking at #52 on the UK singles chart.

Major Label Contracts[]

In 1978, Devo signed with Warner Bros. Records and released their debut album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, parallel to the post-punk era. The album was met with critical acclaim and eventual commercial success. It was produced by Brian Eno and helped establish the band as a major force in new music. The album included their cover of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," which became one of their most popular songs.

In 1979, Devo released their second album, Duty Now for the Future, which continued their exploration of de-evolution and expanded their sound. Bob 1 experimented with a guitar synthesizer. This album is known as a fan favorite.

These albums and tours helped establish Devo as one of the most influential groups of the coinciding new wave era, although Devo saw themselves as a "hermetically sealed" concept apart from musical trends. Devo's music also had a significant impact on the development of electronic dance music, with their use of synthesizers and drum machines inspiring a generation of musicians.

The band's breakthrough came in 1980 with the release of their third album, Freedom of Choice. The album featured the band's most successful single, 'Whip It,' which peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became one of the most iconic songs of the new wave era.

The band's popularity continued to grow - the release of their next two albums, New Traditionalists (1981) and Oh, No! It's Devo (1982), continued the transition towards a more accessible production, more direct lyrics and a more synth-based sound.

They also filmed a series of innovative music videos, which helped popularize the band's newest unified looks and style.

Devo's popularity began to wane in the mid-1980s, but the band continued to release albums throughout the decade. They continue to release remix singles and videos. Different releases were popular in different parts of the world.

The group’s sound, style and attitude helped to shape the aesthetic of punk and new wave movements of the 70’s and 80’s. Several music artists who became widely known in the 90’s have Devo as an early influence.

Later Performances[]

Devo singles were heard in dance halls and discotheques. [8] Despite their success, Devo faced a backlash from some critics who accused them of being too cynical and formulaic. The band responded by adopting a more obviously political stance, criticizing the effects of some Reagan-era policies and advocating for environmentalism and social justice in their music.

Their most recent studio album, Something for Everybody, was released in 2010 and helped put Devo back in the public eye. Their influence can still be heard in many modern bands, and they remain one of the most iconic and influential bands of their era.

In the decades since first breaking into public awareness, Devo has continued to tour and release albums, videos and other items.

Although their output of new material has been more sporadic, their educational content continues to reach new audiences.

In response to Russia’s “brutal, unjustifiable” invasion of the independent democracy of Ukraine, the Devolutionary Army donated one month’s song licensing revenue to ‘Music Saves UA’ and ‘World Central Kitchen’ and encouraged their song rights holder partners and “all successful recording artists to do something similar.” Billboard

The band's legacy as innovators of the new wave movement has continued to influence generations of musicians. They remain one of the most iconic and influential bands of their era - their unique sound and style remain as compelling today as they were in the 1970s and 1980s.

Song List[]

Devo tracks listed at Allmusic: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/devo-mn0000249973/songs/all [Expect some errors.]

Devo's unreleased demos and outtakes at Booji Boys Basement website.

Discography[]

Devo discography at Discogs: https://www.discogs.com/artist/12834-Devo

Devo discography at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devo_discography

Videography[]

Devo video releases at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devo_discography#Video_releases

Filmography[]

Devo filmography at Imdb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0969000/fullcredits?ref_=nm_flmg_sort_text_view

Devo film appearances at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devo_discography#Film_appearances

Documentaries[]

Chi Chi & DEVO by GOLF Films (NBC’s Golf Channel)

Devolution: A Devo Theory written by Adrian Faure

Are We Not Men? by Tony Pemberton

DEVO by Chris Smith

Cyberography[]

Devo developed and produced the home computer game Devo Presents Adventures of the Smart Patrol. It was released by Inscape in 1996, accompanied by a soundtrack album.
Devo expressed an early interest in releasing tracks in download-only formats, citing "Dump Truck," a demo for "Girl U Want", as a potential release. Digital releases include:
Red Shark (2:39) (demo version 1)
Signal Ready (2:06)
Let's Get To It (2:56)
Knock Boots (3:36)
What We Do (Single Edit) (3:09)
What We Do (Static Revenger Remix) (6:22)
What We Do (Kinky Remix) (5:10)
What We Do (Avant Hard Remix) (5:12)
Freedom Of Choice (Hoska & Osheen Last Minute Remix) (5:25)
Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Seamus Unleashed) (3:10)
Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Seamus Unleashed) (Remix) (5:07)
Several other Devo tracks available on the internet subsequently had a physical release.
  • Devo's promotional videos made after SmoothNoodleMaps have not been available in a traditional physical format with packaging. They can be experienced as sound and vision.
Several are available through ClubDEVO.com and also on YouTube at "Devo - Official Channel" and "DEVOvision". "Devo - Official Channel" and "DEVOvision".
Watch Us Work It
Merry Something To You
Don't Shoot (I'm A Man)
Fresh
What We Do
Monsterman
Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Seamus Unleashed)
Post Post-Modern Man (Macro Post-Modern Mix) (Lyric Video)
Vertical videos:
YouTube Shorts https://www.youtube.com/@DEVOvision/shorts
Facebook Reels https://www.facebook.com/ClubDEVO/reels/
Instagram Reels https://www.instagram.com/clubdevo
Tik Tok Reels https://www.tiktok.com/@clubdevoyou
A ton of content related to Something for Everybody has only been available online, some is at DEVOvision
Also, a ton of DEVOtee song tributes, videos, remixes, and rare A.V. finds can be sought out on the internet.

Devo-affiliated characters

See Also[]

Acknowledgements, page 160,
DEVO: The Brand / DEVO: Unmasked

External Links[]

Official website - Club DEVO - clubdevo.com

Official X/twitter - @DEVO - x.com/DEVO

Official facebook - facebook.com/ClubDEVO

Official MySpace - myspace.com/DEVO

Official YouTube - DEVO Vision - youtube.com/DEVOvision

Official Instagram@clubdevo - instagram.com/clubdevo

Official Illustrated History D-E-V-O by DEVO - devobook.net

Sources[]

Internet Archive (Wayback Machine)

WorldCat, Google Books/Magazine search, Google News Archive search

U.S. Copyright Office, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

BMI, ASCAP

Discogs, 45cat, MusicBrainz

YouTube, Vimeo, Mashable

IMDb, AllMusic, AllMovie

Booji Boy's Basement, DEVO Live Guide, DEVO Print Archive

Devo-Obsesso (The Devolved Archives),

RIAA, Billboard, International charts

Notes and References[]

  1. David Rowe. "A Precise, Interpretive Account Of The Theory Of De-Devolution, Or We Are Devo!" Kicks. (1980, October).

    'De-evolution is a technique for perceiving phenomenon,' says Casale in an unaffected, scientific tone. 'It merely describes an abstract process that you can plug anything into. Like the woman in haircurlers who beats her son in the supermarket because he wants to stop and look at the plastic alien toy when they're on their way to the nail polish remover.
    'It's hippies in vans, eating lots of quaaludes and running into telephone poles on the way to concerts and thinking it's "far out." It's planes going out of the sky from metal fatigue and nuclear reactors leaking radioactive waste into the water table. It's people absolutely being pinheads and proving the unsavory nature of the human existence on the planet.'

  2. “Devo”. New Face To Watch. Cash Box. Volume XL, Number 23. pg.10. (1978, October 21).
    https://archive.org/details/cashbox40unse_21/page/n9/mode/1up?q=DEVO+reporters

    “We’re just reporters using musical instruments...” - Jerry (1978)


  3. Alasha Dunn. "Remembering May 4 - An Interview With DEVO's Jerry Casale". KSU School of Art. (2020, April 30).
    https://www.kent.edu/art/news/remembering-may-4-interview-devos-jerry-casale (From archive.org).

  4. Melissa Olson. "Evolution of an Artist" Kent State Magazine. (Summer 2016). Photo by Joe Levack.
    kent.edu/magazine/news/evolution-artist
    “He was on campus when members of the National Guard arrived on May 4, 1970...”

  5. Mark says he was moving into a studio for a conceptual art class on May 4, 1970. Mothersbaugh, Mark. “Forward”. DEVO: Unmasked. p5. Rocket 88. (2018).

  6. The studio was the KSU art facility known as the “Davey Warehouse,” leased from the Davey Tree Company. Thomas, Bryan. "Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale remember the Kent State Massacre". Night Flight.
    nightflight.com/devos-mark-mothersbaugh-and-jerry-casale-remember-the-kent-state-massacre/ From archive.org. (2017, May 4).

    ’Mark Mothersbaugh was off campus setting up his new art studio at the Davey Warehouse, an art facility on Water Street, when the shooting took place. “I was decorating [the studio] when there were police cars going down the street with megaphones going: The school is shut down. The city is shut down. Please go to your homes.”’

  7. Eszterhas, J., & Roberts, M. D. Thirteen Seconds: Confrontation at Kent State. Dodd Mead. (1970).
    From Archive.org.

    Thomas, Charles A. Blood of Isaac. Ebook. (1999).

    Backderf, Derf. Kent State: Four Dead In Ohio. Abrams Comic Arts. (2020).
    (An illustrated dramatic re-creation with detailed footnotes and references.)
    See also: dam.assets.ohio.gov/image/upload/library.ohio.gov/ctro-files/2023-2024/Kent_State_toolkit.pdf

    kent.edu/today/news/book-recommended-reading-may-4-1970
    library.kent.edu/special-collections-and-archives/kent-state-shootings-selected-books

  8. DEVO · “dance club”* · “dance single”** · Post Post-Modern Man (If I Had A Hammer) · Disco Dancer · Here To Go · Theme From Doctor Detroit · Peek-A-Boo! · That’s Good / Speed Racer · Jerkin’ Back ‘N’ Forth / Through Being Cool · Working In The Coal Mine · Whip It / Gates Of Steel / Freedom Of Choice – U.S. Billboard - charting “dance club” “dance single”
    DEVO’s *“Dance Club Songs” - https://web.archive.org/web/20231202144054/https://www.billboard.com/artist/devo/chart-history/dsi
    DEVO’s **“Dance Single Sales” - At billboard com/artist/devo/chart-history/dsi/ - Select “dance single sales” from scrolling drop-down menu.


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

Advertisement