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Song Name: Peek-A-Boo!

Artist: DEVO

Appears On:

Run Time: 3:01 (single/album version) ⠀⠀⠀ BPM: 145

Year Recorded: 1982 (September)[1]

Year Released: 1982 (single/album version)

Years Performed: [2] 1982, 2006 to 2008 and 2010 to 2014, 2019 and 2021 to 2024.setlist.fm stats

Writing Credits: Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald V. Casale

Sung By: Mark Mothersbaugh (lead)

Alternate Versions:

  • Peek 'A' Boo! (EZ)
  • Dance Velocity, DEVO Dub
  • Devo 2.0 version

Demo Versions: Peek-A-Boo (demo)

Song Connections: Might Not Live Forever, I Don't Know What I Do (similar lyrics), Worried Man("If they can't see it, it isn't there." - From Booji Boy’s monologue.)
The Shadow (similar allusion)

Trivia / Info:[]

  • The early song "I Don't Know What I Do Do" contains the line "if i don't see it, it isn't there"
  • Booji's speech in the Worried Man film clip contains the line "if they can't see it, it isn't there!"
  • The different places the track was made and marketed can usually be associated with the variations in the song title.
  • This song's music video is the second DEVO video to feature Spazz Attack, this time as the "Evil Clown." (He first featured in "Satisfaction" and then appeared in "Come Back Jonee".) An alternate footage edit was used in the concert backing film
  • At the final verse, after each "Ha! Ha! Ha!," the Pirate onscreen kicks, and a member of DEVO falls down, leaving Jerry standing with his hand to his mouth, shocked. This was re-created with pioneering synced video in each concert performance.
  • A vocoder was used to make the "Ha! Ha! Ha!" vocal effect, according to the "Re-Recording Log - 9/16/82"
    Mark said it took two weeks to fit the drum beat and sequencer lines around the laughter.[3]
  • The siren heard in the song is sampled from a personal rape alarm
  • Everybody has their shadow or dark side and is capable of being evil. That was the impetus for “Peek-A-Boo,” with the lyrics exposing the person trying to hide behind the mask. - Jerry (2023)[4]

Onstage Behavior:[]

  • During the 1982 tour, DEVO performed the song in front of a large screen featuring edited background visuals similar to the interactive music video, and used similar stage choreography. The Pirate kicks Mark down twice, and also Jerry (but not also Bob1 and Bob2, as in the music video).
  • As with other DEVO tour videos, the Peek-A-Boo! backing visuals are edited differently than the music video, and contain clips not seen in the music video, some not suitable for all ages. One addition is a drum break paired with the spasmodic Evil Clown. (see "Live Video" below)
  • DEVO performed to playback on Solid Gold with no backing video. Spazz Attack appeared live as the Evil Clown to mime the Ha Ha Ha's.[5]
  • During performances in 2006, Michael Pilmer walked across the stage during the "Ha! Ha! Ha!" section dressed as Osama Bin Laden.

Lyrics: Peek-A-Boo! - LyricWikia

peek-a-boo!
i can see you
and i know what you do
so put your hands on your face
and cover up your eyes
don't look until i signal
peek-a-boo!
(ha! ha! ha!)  
(ha! ha! ha!)
peek-a-boo!  
(ha! ha! ha!)
(ha! ha! ha!)
peek-a-boo!
the way that we weren't is what we'll become
so please pay attention while i show you some
of what's about to happen
peek-a-boo!
i know what you do
cause i do it too
laugh if you want to or say you don't care
if you cannot see it you think it's not there
it doesn't work that way

Video:[]

Appears on We're All DEVO, The Complete Truth About De-Evolution







Live Video: 3-DEVO[]

Officially unreleased. (Formerly the soundtrack was on A071 and this live video was on DVD19).







References:[]

  1. Paper – Documents: "Re-Recording Log – 9/16/82". (Donated to Devo-Obsesso by Bob and Lisa Casale). devo-obsesso.com/html/paper-itempages/documents/docs-sept82-rerecordlog.html (From archive.org).
  2. DEVO Live Guide. Website keyword search for "peek-a-boo".
  3. Regan McMahon. "DEVO Takes Time Out For Fun". BAM. (1982, March 12).

    " 'Peek-a-boo!' started out very abstract,' Mark recalls. ' We had a digital echo machine loaned to us by someone who created it for a company that went out of business right after they built it.
    We put a laugh on it and detuned it, and it just kept repeating this 'ha ha ha ha,' this horrible laughter. We spent the entire next two weeks painfully making a drum beat and sequencer lines fit around this laughter we had that we liked and didn't want to change. At the time we went into the recording studio to record, it was our favorite song
    .' "


  4. Turner, D. "A Few Minutes with Gerald V. Casale of Devo: Devo's cult status remains indelible. Co-founder Gerald V. Casale reminisces about the band and its longstanding association with Roland." Roland. (2023, January 6).
    articles.roland com/a-few-minutes-with-gerald-v-casale-of-devo/ (From archive.org).

    "During my college days, I had an incredible philosophy professor who got us all going on Carl Jung and the duality of human nature. We embody the best and the worst. Everybody has their shadow or dark side and is capable of being evil. That was the impetus for “Peek-A-Boo,” with the lyrics exposing the person trying to hide behind the mask. Mark’s sequencer lines were getting scarier sounding. It was good nasty, so I started deconstructing that with everybody else in the studio."

  5. 'Peek-A-Boo by DEVO (1982)" Solid Gold, 1982. Uploaded to YouTube by Miscellaneous Debris.

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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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