I Devo sono un gruppo musicale statunitense formatosi ad Akron (Ohio) nel 1972.
Il loro stile musicale è stato classificato come punk, art rock o post-punk, ma sono per lo più ricordati come una delle band-simbolo della New wave. Sono oggi considerati dalla critica un gruppo fondamentale per l'evoluzione del rock contemporaneo.
Il gruppo viene fondato da Gerald Casale, Bob Lewis e Mark Mothersbaugh, nel 1972.
Il nome "Devo" viene dal termine "de-evolution" (de-evoluzione), teoria secondo cui l'umanità, invece che continuare ad evolversi, avrebbe cominciato a regredire, come dimostrerebbero le disfunzioni e la mentalità gretta della società americana. Tale teoria era frutto di uno scherzo di Casale e Lewis, nato nella fine degli anni sessanta, quando i due frequentavano la Kent State University.
La prima formazione prevedeva sei componenti: i fratelli Gerald e Bob Casale (basso e voce il primo, chitarra, tastiere e cori il secondo), Bob Lewis (chitarra), Mark Mothersbaugh (voce, sintetizzatori e chitarra), Rod Reisman (batteria) e Fred Weber (voce). La loro prima performance avviene nel 1973 al Performing Arts Festival della Kent State University. Dopo questa prima esibizione, il gruppo abbandona Reisman e Weber, e ingaggia Jim Mothersbaugh alla batteria elettronica e Bob Mothersbaugh alla chitarra, entrambi fratelli di Mark. Negli anni a venire, il gruppo passerà attraverso cambi di formazione, che vedono, tra gli altri, l'abbandono di Jim Mothersbaugh, ed esibizioni dal vivo conflittuali.
Nel 1976 viene reclutato il batterista Alan Myers alla batteria, che sancisce una formazione solida che durerà dieci anni circa.
Lo stile del gruppo, ironico, pungente, irriverente e critico nei confronti della società moderna, inserito in un contesto estetico che rimanda a una sorta di fantascienza al limite del kitsch, gli fa guadagnare la simpatia di artisti noti come Neil Young e David Bowie, nonché apparizioni in film dei quali Mark Mothersbaugh curerà la colonna sonora. Il gruppo sarà anche pioniere nell'uso del videoclip, il più noto dei quali, Whip It, godrà di una massiccia presenza nei primi mesi di vita di MTV.
Nel 1977, grazie anche a Bowie e Iggy Pop, ottengono un contratto con la Warner Bros. Il loro primo album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! viene prodotto nientemeno che da Brian Eno. L'anno successivo sono ospiti del Saturday Night Live, dove si esibiranno in una cover di (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction dei Rolling Stones.
Nel 1984, lo scarso successo commerciale del sesto album Shout e l'abbandono del batterista Myers, costringono il gruppo a rinunciare al tour di promozione, con conseguente pausa delle attività. Nel frattempo, Mark Mothersbaugh si diletta nella produzione di musica per la televisione, nonché di un progetto solista, Musik for Insomniaks.
Nel 1987 il gruppo si riforma con un nuovo batterista, David Kendrick, precedentemente con gli Sparks. L'anno successivo esce Total Devo, che contiene brani che compariranno in alcuni B movie come Slaughterhouse Rock e The Tapeheads, con John Cusack e Tim Robbins.
Nel 1990 esce Smooth Noodle Maps, che non raccoglie grandi consensi di pubblico e critica, e l'anno successivo il gruppo si scioglie nuovamente. Successivamente, Mark Mothersbaugh fonda uno studio di registrazione per produzioni musicali commerciali, il Mutato Muzika, insieme col fratello Bob e Bob Casale. Lo studio lavora principalmente per produzioni televisive come sigle, programmi, cartoni animati, videogame e film, tra cui alcuni di Wes Anderson. Nel frattempo, Gerald Casale intraprende una carriera come regista di spot pubblicitari e video musicali, per gruppi come Rush, Silverchair e Foo Fighters.
Nel 1995 il gruppo appare nella colonna sonora del film Tank Girl, e l'anno successivo si esibisce al Sundance Film Festival e al Lollapalooza proponendo alcuni classici del periodo tra il 1978 e il 1982.
Pur non pubblicando album fino al 2010, il gruppo produce una serie di singoli per compilation, produzioni televisive, spot pubblicitari per aziende come Dell e la multinazionale Target.
Nel 2006 collaborano con la Disney per un progetto chiamato Devo 2.0, un gruppo composto da bambini che suonano classici dei Devo.
Nel 2008 l'azienda McDonald's propone un personaggio in omaggio che indossa l'Energy dome, il tipico copricapo dei Devo in plastica rossa a forma di ziqqurat circolare. Il gruppo intenterà una causa alla multinazionale, che successivamente alcuni blog riporteranno come "amichevolmente risolta"]
Nel 2010 esce il loro ultimo album Something for Everybody, a vent'anni dal precedente.
Nel 2013 il loro ex batterista Alan Myers muore a causa di un tumore cerebrale.
Il 17 febbraio 2014 muore improvvisamente Bob Casale, membro fondatore del gruppo, per arresto cardiaco.
The name Devo comes "from their concept of 'de-evolution' — the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society." In the late 1960s, this idea was developed as a joke by Kent State University art students Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis, who created a number of satirical art pieces in a devolution vein. At this time, Casale had also performed with the local band 15-60-75 (The Numbers Band). They met Mark Mothersbaugh around 1970, a talented keyboardist who had been playing with the band Flossy Bobbitt..Mark brought a more humorous feel to the group, introduced them to material like the pamphlet "Jocko Homo Heavenbound", which includes an illustration of a winged devil labeled "D-EVOLUTION" and would later inspire the song "Jocko Homo". The "joke" about de-evolution became serious following the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970. This event would be cited multiple times as the impetus for forming the band Devo.
The first form of Devo was the "Sextet Devo" which performed at the 1973 Kent State performing arts festival.]It included Casale, Lewis and Mothersbaugh, as well as Gerald's brother Bob Casale on guitar, and friends Rod Reisman and Fred Weber on drums and vocals, respectively. This performance was filmed and a part was included on the home video The Complete Truth About De-Evolution. This lineup performed only once. Devo returned to perform in the Student Governance Center (featured prominently in the film) at the 1974 Creative Arts Festival with a line-up including the Casale brothers, Bob Lewis, Mark Mothersbaugh, and Jim Mothersbaugh on drums.
The band continued to perform, generally as a quartet, but with a fluid lineup including Mark's brothers Bob Mothersbaugh and Jim Mothersbaugh. Bob played electric guitar, and Jim provided percussion using a set of homemade electronic drums. Their first two music videos, "Secret Agent Man" and "Jocko Homo" featured on The Truth About De-Evolution, were filmed in Akron, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, the hometown of most members. This lineup of Devo lasted until 1976 when Jim left the band. Bob Lewis would sometimes play guitar during this period. In concert, Devo would often perform in the guise of theatrical characters, such as Booji Boy and The Chinaman. Live concerts from this period were often confrontational, and would remain so until 1977. A recording of an early Devo performance from 1975 with the quartet lineup appears on DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years, ending with the promoters unplugging Devo's equipment..
Following Jim Mothersbaugh's departure, Bob Mothersbaugh found a new drummer, Alan Myers, who played on a conventional, acoustic drum kit. Casale re-recruited his brother Bob Casale, and the line-up of Devo remained the same for nearly ten years.
Devo gained some fame in 1976 when the short film The Truth About De-Evolution by Chuck Statler won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. This attracted the attention of David Bowie, who began work to get the band a recording contract with Warner Music Group. In 1977 Devo were asked by Neil Young to participate in the making of his film Human Highway. Released in 1982, the film featured the band as "Nuclear garbagemen." The band members were asked to write their own parts and Mark Mothersbaugh scored and recorded much of the soundtrack, his first of many.
In March 1977 Devo released their first single "Mongoloid" b/w "Jocko Homo", the B-side of which came from the soundtrack to The Truth About De-Evolution, on their independent label "Booji Boy". This was followed by a cover of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".
In 1978 the Be Stiff EP was released by English independent label Stiff Records, which included the single "Be Stiff" plus two previous Booji Boy releases. "Mechanical Man", a 4 track 7" EP of demos, an apparent bootleg but rumored to be put out by the band themselves, was also released that year.
Recommendations from David Bowie and Iggy Pop enabled Devo to secure a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1978. After Bowie backed out of the business deal due to previous commitments, their first album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! was produced by Brian Eno and featured re-recordings of their previous singles "Mongoloid" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". On October 14, 1978, Devo gained national exposure with an appearance on Saturday Night Live, a week after the Rolling Stones, performing "Satisfaction" and "Jocko Homo".
After the band achieved this success, co-founder Bob Lewis asked for credit and compensation in 1978 for his contributions to the band. The band refused to negotiate, and sued Lewis in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking a declaratory judgment stating Lewis had no rights to the name or theory of De-evolution. Lewis then filed an action in United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, alleging theft of intellectual property. During discovery, Lewis produced articles, promotional materials, documentary evidence and an interview recorded at the Akron Art Museum following the premiere of In the Beginning was the End in which Mothersbaugh and other band members credited Lewis with developing the theory of de-evolution. The band quickly settled for an undisclosed sum.
The band followed up with Duty Now for the Future in 1979, which moved the band more towards electronic instrumentation. While not as successful as their first record, it did produce some fan favorites with the songs "Blockhead" and "The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize" [sic], as well as a cover of the Johnny Rivers hit "Secret Agent Man". "Secret Agent Man" had been recorded first in 1974 for Devo's first film and performed live as early as 1976. In 1979 Devo traveled to Japan for the first time, and a live show from this tour was partially recorded. Devo appeared on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert in 1979, performing "Blockhead", "Secret Agent Man", "Uncontrollable Urge", and "Mongoloid". Also in 1979 Rhino Records—in conjunction with LA radio station KROQ—released Devotees, a tribute album. It contained a set of covers of Devo songs interspersed with renditions of popular songs in Devo's style]
Devo actively embraced the parody religion Church of the SubGenius. In concert, Devo sometimes performed as their own opening act, pretending to be a Christian soft-rock group called "Dove (the Band of Love)", which is an anagram of "Devo". They appeared as Dove in the 1980 televangelism spoof Pray TV. They also recorded music, later released on the CD E-Z Listening Disc (1987), with Muzak-style versions of their own songs to play before their concerts.
Devo gained a new level of visibility with 1980's Freedom of Choice. This album included their best-known hit, "Whip It", which quickly became a Top 40 hit. The album moved to an almost completely electronic sound, with the exception of acoustic drums and Bob 1's guitar. The tour for Freedom of Choice was ambitious for the band, including dates in Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and Canada. The band used a minimalist set including large custom light boxes which could be laid on their back to form a second, smaller stage during the second half of the set. Other popular songs from Freedom of Choice were "Girl U Want", the title track, and "Gates of Steel". The band released popular music videos for "Whip It" and "Girl U Want". Devo made two appearances on the TV show Fridays in 1980, as well as on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, American Bandstand, and other shows.
In August 1981, the band's Devo Live E.P. spent 3 weeks at the top of the Australian charts In 1982, they toured Australia and appeared on the TV show Countdown. Devo enjoyed continued popularity in Australia, where the nationally broadcast 1970s–1980s pop TV show Countdown was one of the first programs in the world to broadcast their video clips. They were given consistent radio support by Sydney-based noncommercial rock station Double Jay (2JJ) and Brisbane-based independent community station Tripple Zed (4ZzZ), two of the first rock stations outside America to play their recordings. The late-night music program Nightmoves aired The Truth About De-Evolution.
In 1981, Devo contributed a cover of "Working in the Coal Mine", recorded during the Freedom of Choice sessions, to the film Heavy Metal. They offered the song to be used in the film when Warner Bros refused to put it on the album. Warner then included it as an independent bonus single accompanying their 1981 release, New Traditionalists. For this album Devo wore self-described "Utopian Boy Scout uniforms" topped with a "New Traditionalist Pomp"—a plastic half-wig modeled on the hairstyle of John F. Kennedy. Among the singles from the album was "Through Being Cool", written as a reaction to their new-found fame from "Whip It" and seen as a response to new fans who had misinterpreted the message behind the hit song. The album's accompanying tour featured the band performing an intensely physical show with treadmills and a large Greek temple set. That same year they served as Toni Basil's backing band on Word of Mouth, her debut album, which included versions of three Devo songs, recorded with Basil singing lead.
Oh, No! It's Devo followed in 1982. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker, the album featured a darker, more sinister sound than its predecessors. According to Gerald Casale, the album's sound was inspired by reviewers calling them "fascist clowns" in articles. The album's tour featured the band performing seven songs in front of a 12-foot high rear-projection screen with synchronized video, an image recreated using blue screen effects in the album's accompanying music videos. Devo also contributed two songs, "Theme from Doctor Detroit" and "Luv-Luv" to the 1983 Dan Aykroyd film Doctor Detroit, and produced a music video for "Theme from Doctor Detroit" featuring clips from the film with live action segments.
Devo released their sixth album, Shout, in 1984 to poor reviews. The album has been criticized for its overuse of the Fairlight CMI synthesizer and weak songwriting. However, the band's cover of the Jimi Hendrix song "Are You Experienced?" and the accompanying music video received some praise. Following the commercial failure of Shout, Warner Bros. dropped Devo. Shortly after, claiming to feel creatively unfulfilled, Alan Myers left the band, causing the remaining band members to abandon the plans for a Shout video LP, as well as a tour. In the interim, Mark Mothersbaugh began composing music for the TV show Pee-wee's Playhouse and released an elaborately packaged solo cassette, Musik for Insomniaks, which was expanded and released as two CDs in 1988.
Alan Myers died of stomach cancer in Los Angeles on June 24, 2013. He was 58. News reports at the time of his death incorrectly cited brain cancer as the cause.
Bob Casale died on February 17, 2014, at 61. According to his brother Gerald, it was a "sudden death from conditions that led to heart failure."
1981 : POSTERSTORY DEVO + LIVE AUDIO CONCERT CASTEL SANT'ANGELO ROMA ITALY 22 JUNE 1980
Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome, Italy
22 jun 1980
01 It's Not Right
02 Planet Earth
03 Pink Pussycat
05 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
06 Uncontrollable Urge
08 Be Stiff
09 Gates of Steel
10 Freedom of Choice
11 Jocko Homo
ULTIMA SERA AL MAX'S KANSAS CITY Di Lenny Kaye
CRAMPS : BASIC INSTINCT Di Bill Holdship
1980 : I FRENETICI RAMONES A REGGIO EMILIA Di Aldo Bagli
EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS : IL POLEMICO PUNK DEGLI HOT RODS / FISH'N CHIPS ROCK'N ROLL Di Guido Harari e Aldo Bagli
GLI SKIANTOS DAL VIVO IL 30 APRILE 1997 - PRIMA PARTE Di Danilo Jans
IGGY POP : IO SONO IGGY-TOURNEE ITALIANA Di Aldo Bagli e LIVE A FIRENZE Di Federico Ballanti 1980 / NIGHT OF THE IGUANA Di Paul Trynka
NEW YORK:PUNK ROCK! Di Manuel Insolera
IGGY POP AND THE STOOGES - COMPLETE SESSION FOTOGRAFICA TRATTA DAI PROVINI SU PELLICOLA DAL VIVO PARCO DELLA PELLERINA TORINO ITALY 10 LUGLIO 2004 Prima Parte Di Danilo Jans
A PROPOSITO DI JOHN BELUSHI Di Mitchel Glazer Timothy White e Marcia Resnick
LINK PROTRUDI AND THE JAYMEN - Dal Vivo a I Cammelli Candelo Vercelli Italia 1994 Prima Parte Di Danilo Jans
PLASMATICS INCONTRI ITALIANI Di Massimo Buda
IAN DURY MAGAPOST !!! : SOTTO SPIRITO INGLESE Di Aldo Bagli 1979 / UN METRO E MEZZO DI CATTIVERIA Di Dario Salvatori 1977 / SESSO DROGA E...BOMBETTA! Di Michael Pergolani 1978
SPECIALE RESIDENTS Di Alberto Benini,Maria Antonietta Brasa,Patrick Roques,Gabriele De Marco,Pierfrancesco Pacoda e Patrick Rockes
POSTERSTORY : LOU REED Di Massimo Buda
MAMA BEA TEKIELSKI ; IL MIO ISTINTO DI MUSICISTA Di Manuel Insolera
MUSICA INDUSTRIALE : RICAVARE PIACERE DALLA SOFFERENZA ALTRUI Di Andrea Venanzoni
KANDEGGINA GANG : VIVA L'ITALIA Di Red Ronnie
TALKING HEADS DAL '77 ALL'81 LIVE di Maria Laura G. Giulietti
DAVID BYRNE - COMPLETE SESSION DAL VIVO AL PARCO DI COLLEGNO PELLEROSSA FESTIVAL TORINO ITALY 1997 Prima Parte Di Danilo Jans
GAZNEVADA : FATTI e AL BIVIO,PRONTI AD UCCIDERE?
The FUZZTONES - COMPLETE SESSIONS DAL VIVO AL BABYLONIA DI PONDERANO BIELLA ITALY 2005 Prima Parte Di Danilo Jans
SIOUXSEE & THE BANSHEES INTERVISTA A GENOVA IL 20 GIUGNO 1981 Di De Tassis e Arbarello
LOU REED A MILANO di Riccardo Bertoncelli
LE CITTA' I VILLAGGI : TUXEDOMOON,SUICIDE,INDOOR LIFE,MATERIAL
I TUPELO - IN MEMORIA Di STIV LIVRAGHI COMPLETE SESSION TRATTA DAI PROVINI SU PELLICOLA DAL VIVO AL BABYLONIA Di PONDERANO BIELLA ITALY IL 15 APRILE 1995 Di Danilo Jans
LIVE IN ITALY
CROSBY STILLS NASH & YOUNG ITALY
EARLY SANTANA ITALY
MONDO POPOLARE 2
foto DANILO JANS
DANILO JANS ART
MUSIC ITALY 70
PONT SAINT MARTIN ALTERNATIVA
THE LOST CONCERTS
ROCK RARE COLLECTION FETISH