"The Men Who Make the Music"©1979 DEVOvision
The Men Who Make the Music was the first home video released by Devo. Finished in 1979, the film was set to be the first Video LP, but was shelved by Time Life due to concerns about its anti-music industry content. It was released in 1981.


The film takes place mostly in General Boy's office, where he fills the viewer in on the philosophy behind the theory of De-evolution. Cutaways to Devo members also serve this purpose, allowing Devo, themselves, to explain some of the more minute details. General Boy's speech is interspersed with live footage of Devo in concert, as well as a few music videos. The film ends with footage of Booji Boy performing "Red Eye" in concert with Devo and a reprise of the Devo Corporate Anthem.
In between the music video to "The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize" and concert footage of "Praying Hands" is a short segment, called "Roll Out the Barrel/Rod's Big Reamer" (approximately six minutes in length), involving Rod Rooter of Big Entertainment (Michael Swartz). In it, Daddy Knowitall, Rooter's boss, demands that the latter "get them back into their yellow suits" or he would be fired. Whilst the band are watching a slideshow of grotesque skin diseases at Devo Inc., they receive a call from Rooter, ordering them to meet at his office in fifteen minutes. Jerry, Mark, Bob 1, and Bob 2 go to Big Entertainment whilst Alan opts to meet them later at Club Devo.
Before Devo arrive at the office, Rooter's secretary, Penny, is seen with a couple (whose faces are never seen), providing them with an envelope (presumably containing money).
When the band arrives, Rooter is listening to a song by a new band, Parcheesi, called "Midget". He tells them that particular single was a platinum hit on release and asks, semi-sarcastically, why Devo's music does not perform as well. He proceeds to criticise the band for their "artistic" behaviour and finally kicks them out when Booji Boy (Mark Mothersbaugh) shows up and essentially accuses him of being a slave to his job.
At Club Devo, Alan asks how the meeting went. Jerry remarks that it's "hard to sit down". Mark seems convinced that everything will change when they get their own recombo DNA lab.
Unbeknownst to them, the couple who were paid by Rooter are also present and are recording their conversation. "A short time later", Jerry appears and states that Devo wear the yellow suits not as a fashion statement but as "protective gear".

Track order[]

  • Music video, Jocko Homo*
  • Opening title
  • General Boy segment 1
  • Live, Wiggly World
  • General Boy segment 2
  • Music video, The Day my Baby Gave Me a Surprize
  • Roll Out the Barrel (AKA Rod Rooter's Big Reamer)
  • Live, Praying Hands
  • General Boy segment 3
  • Live, Uncontrollable urge
  • Music video, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
  • General Boy segment 4
  • Live, Jocko Homo (partial performance)
  • Music video, Secret Agent Man*
  • Live, Smart Patrol / Mr. DNA
  • Music video, Come Back Jonee
  • General Boy segment 5
  • Live, Red Eye
  • Credits
  • Music video, Devo Corporate Anthem
(* Excerpt from In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution)
Total run time: 55 minutes[1]



  • Mark Mothersbaugh
  • Gerald V. Casale
  • Robert "Bob1" Mothersbaugh
  • Robert "Bob2" Casale
  • Alan Myers

Produced by

  • Chuck Statler

Co-directed by

  • Gerald V. Casale
  • Chuck Statler

Written by

  • Gerald V. Casale
  • Mark Mothersbaugh

Special Thanks to

  • Bill Gerber
  • General Boy


  • This film introduces the character of Rod Rooter, played by Michael Schwartz.[2] He is characterized as a music-industry executive who lives lavishly on the money he takes from the artists and is a frequent user of archetypal American slang.
    Rod would re-appear again in future Devo productions including the 1985 spiritual sequel to this film, called We’re All Devo, and in the 1997 computer game, The Adventures of the Smart Patrol. Schwartz reprises the role both times.
  • The music playing behind Daddy Knowitall's scene was written by Mark Mothersbaugh and goes by the name "Smozart".
  • The comment made by Pliny and Mongo (“We’re just not your kind of girl?”) is a reference to an oft-told story from Devo’s early period. The band was invited to play at a club in Los Angeles by Kip Cohen of A&M Records, interested in signing them onto his label. After their performance, however, he summoned them to his office and reportedly told them something to the effect of: he could get five naked teenage girls in his office and each of them, despite being good looking, has a specific flaw that makes them unappealing. To cut the long letdown time, Alan reportedly asked him what he meant. According to Jerry, the response was, “You’re just not my kind of girl.”
  • TMWMTM has been officially released in various videotape and videodisc formats.ref This title was kept in print on VHS through the 1980s and 1990s re-releases.
A DVD of this film was announced in 2000, due to be released by Rhino Records, but this never came to pass until a DVD was announced in 2014, to be released by MVD Visual.
  • Beginning in mid-May of 1980 there were apparently repeated free showings of TMWMTM in the UK cities where DEVO had cancelled the shows scheduled for October 1979.
    DEVO played several make-up shows there in early June.[3]

Prototype version[]

  • There is a prototype version of The Men Who Make The Music, produced in 1977. General Boy’s dialogue is largely the same, but the overall tone of the production is very much more self-made and amateurish (static camera positions, actors reading from cue-cards, etc.).
    The interstitials with Devo members are very different in style than the Warner version and feature different dialogue, as well. No music videos were used and the “Rod’s Big Reamer” segment was not present (as it had not been written yet). Concert footage used was from two concerts during Devo’s pre-Warner era.
    Concept DEVO. It was directed and produced by Marina Yakubic (Mark’s girlfriend at the time).[4]

Japanese TV version[]

  • There is a Japanese LaserDisc[5] that goes by the title "The Men Who Make the Music", however it is a different production, only sharing the live "Red Eye." The video is mostly comprised of footage from a concert at Nippon Bukodan Hall in Tokyo in 1979 and includes the full set except for "Pink Pussycat".
    Concert footage is interspersed with short clips of Booji Boy, Pliny, and Mongo at a sushi restaurant, shot for Japanese television around the same time as the concert. The opening title-card and each song title is provided in Japanese (with English subtitles).[6]


Devo Live Guide[]

External links[]

The Men Who Make The Music (1989 VHS re-release) -- Discogs
Men Who Make the Music [Video] (overview) -- AllMusic (1991 VHS re-release)
Devo: The Men Who Make the Music (1981) -- IMDb
Devo: Devovision - The Men Who Make the Music (1979) (overview) -- allmovie
The Men Who Make the Music -- Wikipedia


  1. Gerald V. Casale. "Devo: a video history". Optic Music. (1984, August).

    The Men Who Make The Music
    55 minutes; 1979; Produced by Chuck Statler; Co-Directed by Gerald V. Casale and Chuck Statler. Written by Gerald V. Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh.
    Available on Warner Home Video

  2. Michael W. Schwartz - Actor.

  3. "THE RETURN OF THE SPUDBOYS". Bitz Smash Hits. Volume 2. #10. p9. (1980, May 15).

    DEVO RETURN to the U.K. in June to promote their third album, "Freedom Of Choice". The band had a tour scheduled for last autumn which they were forced to cancel because the halls they had decided to play couldn't accommodate their current stage spectacular.

    Dates are as follows: Glasgow Apollo (June 1), Birmingham Odeon (2), Newcastle City Hall (5), Sheffield City Hall (6), Manchester Apollo (7), London Rainbow (8) and Southampton Gaumont (9). Tickets are priced at £3.50, £3.00 and £2.50 except at the Rainbow were £4.00 seats are also available.

    In the week beginning May 17th Virgin Stores in each of the towns on the itinerary (with the exception of Glasgow) will be showing a brand new 45 minutes Devo film at least once a day.
    In London the film will be on show at The Megastore, Marble Arch and Kensington High Street.

  4. “DEVO - The Men Who Make The Music (Pre-WB Version)”. Uploaded to YouTube by bonzaiko, via the post to by Reality Monitor.





  5. The Men Who Make the Music (1981) Suncrown. -- LDDB

  6. "Devo - Live At The Nippon Bukodan Hall, Japan May 28th, 1979 (The Men Who Make The Music Remaster)". Uploaded to YouTube by MaeGoji.

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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)
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)
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