4 ene. 2013


biography[-]by Steve Huey One of new wave's most innovative and (for a time) successful bands, Devo was also perhaps one of its most misunderstood. Formed in Akron, OH, in 1972 by Kent State art students Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo took its name from their concept of "de-evolution" -- the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society. Their music echoed this view of society as rigid, repressive, and mechanical, with appropriate touches -- jerky, robotic rhythms; an obsession with technology and electronics (the group was among the first non-prog rock bands to make the synthesizer a core element); often atonal melodies and chord progressions -- all of which were filtered through the perspectives of geeky misfits. Devo became a cult sensation, helped in part by their concurrent emphasis on highly stylized visuals, and briefly broke through to the mainstream with the smash single "Whip It," whose accompanying video was made a staple by the fledgling MTV network. Sometimes resembling a less forbidding version of the Residents, Devo's simple, basic electronic pop sound proved very influential, but it was also somewhat limited, and as other bands began expanding on the group's ideas, Devo seemed unable to keep pace. After a series of largely uninteresting albums, the band called it quits early in the '90s, and Casale and Mothersbaugh concentrated on other projects. Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh both attended art school at Kent State University at the outset of the '70s. With friend Bob Lewis, who joined an early version of Devo and later became their manager, the theory of de-evolution was developed with the aid of a book entitled The Beginning Was the End: Knowledge Can Be Eaten, which held that mankind had evolved from mutant, brain-eating apes. The trio adapted the theory to fit their view of American society as a rigid, dichotomized instrument of repression which ensured that its members behaved like clones, marching through life with mechanical, assembly-line precision and no tolerance for ambiguity. The whole concept was treated as an elaborate joke until Casale witnessed the infamous National Guard killings of student protesters at the university; suddenly there seemed to be a legitimate point to be made. The first incarnation of Devo was formed in earnest in 1972, with Casale (bass), Mark Mothersbaugh (vocals), and Mark's brothers Bob (lead guitar) and Jim, who played homemade electronic drums. Jerry's brother Bob joined as an additional guitarist, and Jim left the band to be replaced by Alan Myers. The group honed its sound and approach for several years (a period chronicled on Rykodisc's Hardcore compilations of home recordings), releasing a few singles on its own Booji Boy label and inventing more bizarre concepts: Mothersbaugh dressed in a baby-faced mask as Booji Boy (pronounced "boogie boy"), a symbol of infantile regression; there were recurring images of the potato as a lowly vegetable without individuality; the band's costumes presented them as identical clones with processed hair; and all sorts of sonic experiments were performed on records, using real and homemade synthesizers as well as toys, space heaters, toasters, and other objects. Devo's big break came with its score for the short film The Truth About De-Evolution, which won a prize at the 1976 Ann Arbor Film Festival; when the film was seen by David Bowie and Iggy Pop, they were impressed enough to secure the group a contract with Warner Bros. Recorded under the auspices of pioneering producer Brian Eno, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! was seen as a call to arms by some and became an underground hit. Others found Devo's sound, imagery, and material threatening; Rolling Stone, for example, called the group fascists. But such criticism missed the point: Devo dramatized conformity, emotional repression, and dehumanization in order to attack them, not to pay tribute to them. While 1979's Duty Now for the Future was another strong effort, the band broke through to the mainstream with 1980's Freedom of Choice, which contained the gold-selling single "Whip It" and represented a peak in their sometimes erratic songwriting. The video for "Whip It" became an MTV smash, juxtaposing the band's low-budget futuristic look against a down-home farm setting and hints of S&M. However, Devo's commercial success proved to be short-lived. 1981's New Traditionalists was darker and more serious, not what the public wanted from a band widely perceived as a novelty act, and Devo somehow seemed to be running out of new ideas. Problems plagued the band as well: Bob Lewis successfully sued for theft of intellectual property after a tape of Mothersbaugh was found acknowledging Lewis' role in creating de-evolution philosophy, and the sessions for 1982's Oh, No! It's Devo were marred by an ill-considered attempt to use poetry written by would-be Ronald Reagan assassin John Hinckley, Jr. as lyrical material. As the '80s wore on, Devo found itself relegated to cult status and critical indifference, not at all helped by the lower quality of albums like 1984's Shout and 1988's Total Devo. With the band's shift toward electronic drums, Alan Myers departed in 1986, to be replaced by ex-Sparks and Gleaming Spires drummer David Kendrick. Devo recorded another album of new material, Smooth Noodle Maps, in 1990, after which its members began to concentrate on other projects. Mark Mothersbaugh moved into composing for commercials and soundtracks, writing theme music for MTV's Liquid Television, Nickelodeon's Rugrats, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and the Jonathan Winters sitcom Davis Rules. He also played keyboards with the Rolling Stones, programmed synthesizers for Sheena Easton, and sang backup with Debbie Harry. Buoyed by this success, Mothersbaugh opened a profitable production company called Mutato Muzika, which employed his fellow Devo bandmates. Jerry Casale, meanwhile, who directed most of the band's videos, directed video clips for the Foo Fighters' "I'll Stick Around" and Soundgarden's "Blow Up the Outside World." No reunions were expected, but as Devo's legend grew and other bands acknowledged their influence (Nirvana covered "Turnaround," while "Girl U Want" has been recorded by Soundgarden, Superchunk, and even Robert Palmer), their minimalistic electro-pop was finally given new exposure on six dates of the 1996 Lollapalooza tour, to enthusiastic fan response. The following year, Devo released a CD-ROM game (The Adventures of the Smart Patrol) and accompanying music soundtrack, in addition to playing selected dates on the Lollapalooza tour. 2000 saw the release of a pair of double-disc Devo anthologies: the first was the half-hits/half-rarities Pioneers Who Got Scalped: The Anthology (on Rhino), while the second was the limited-edition mail-order release Recombo DNA (on Rhino's Handmade label), the latter of which was comprised solely of previously unreleased demos. In 2001, the Mothersbaugh and Casale brothers reunited under the name the Wipeouters for a one-off surf release, P'Twaaang!!! Casale would introduce his Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers solo project with the 2006 album Mine Is Not a Holy War. It was that same year that the band teamed with Disney for Dev2.0, a band/project/album that involved a set of pre-teens re-recording classic Devo tracks, although some lyrics were adjusted to be more “family friendly.” Devo got back to releasing their own material in 2007 with the downloadable single "Watch Us Work It," but a new, promised album failed to materialize. In 2008 they returned to Akron for a rare show and in support of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign with all proceeds going towards the Summit County Democratic Party. After deluxe 2009 reissues of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and Freedom of Choice sent the band back on the road to play said albums live in their entirety, work resumed on a new album. By the end of the year, it was announced that the band had once again signed with Warner for an album originally titled "Fresh." An internet campaign where fans got to choose the full-length's 12 tracks inspired the 2010 effort, Something for Everybody.


Devo (cuya pronunciación es DI-vo o di-VO) es un grupo estadounidense de rock formado en 1972 en la ciudad de AkronOhioMark Mothersbaugh y Gerald V. Casaleformaron Devo en ese año en la escuela de arte de la Universidad de Kent.
Su estilo ha sido clasificado variablemente como punkart rock y post-punk, pero ellos son recordados con mayor frecuencia por su música New Wave de finales de la década de los 70 y principios de los 80, la cual, junto con la de otros (como Gary Numan,Oingo Boingo y los B-52's) anunció el sonido synth pop de los 80.
La música de Devo y sus actuaciones en vivo estaban plenas de temas de ciencia ficción, tecnología, humor surrealista e impasible y comentarios mordaces y satíricos sobre la sociedad, expresados por medio de canciones pop que presentaban con frecuencia instrumentaciones inusuales de sintetizadores y de compases. Además crearon vídeos musicales memorables, realizados principalmente a principios de los años 80 y transmitidos durante la primera época de MTV con una rotación constante; éstos exhibían la estética particular del grupo, al mostrarse las singulares vestimentas que empleaban tanto en vivo como en sus vídeos, como por ejemplo el cubículo de energía, una especie de casco inspirado en las pirámides mayas rojo o violeta que se interpretó erróneamente como un macetero. Su trabajo ha tenido influencia en la música popular subsecuente, particularmente en el New Wave y en los artistas alternativos de rock.

Primeros años

El nombre "Devo" viene "de su concepto de 'de-evolución', es decir, la idea de que la sociedad, en lugar de evolucionar, en realidad está haciendo lo contrario, como lo demuestra la disfunción de la sociedad estadounidense". Esta idea se inició como una broma en la Universidad de Kent. Los estudiantes de arte, Gerard Casale y Bob Lewis crearon algunas piezas de arte en forma satírica. En estos años, Casale ya se había presentado tocando con la banda local 15-60-75. Casale y Lewis conocieron a Mark Mothersbaugh alrededor de 1970, quien les mostró un panfleto que incluía las palabras "Jocko Homo Heavenbound" y una imagen de un demonio alado, con la palabra "D-EVOLUTION", y en eso se basaría su canción "Jocko Homo".
El momento decisivo para la formación de Devo fue el tiroteo ocurrido en la misma Universidad de Kent en 1970. Casale conocía a dos de los estudiantes que habían sido muertos, e incluso pudo ver a otra estudiante herida. En ese momento, Casale cuenta que consideró la idea de la de-evolución como seria.
La primera alineación de Devo fue en forma de sexteto. Ellos actuaron en el festival de arte de Kent en 1973. Allí estaban Casale, Lewis y Mothersbaugh, además del hermano de Gerard, Bob Casale (guitarra) y dos de sus amigos, Rod Reisman (batería) y Fred Weber (Voces). Esta primera actuación fue grabada, y una parte fue incluida en el video "The Complete Truth About De-Evolution". Fue la única actuación con esta alineación.
Devo también actuó en el Festival de Arte de 1974, con los hermanos Casale, Lewis, Mothersbaugh, y Jim Mothersbaugh en la batería.
Luego, Devo se formó como un cuarteto, alrededor de Mark Mothersbaugh y Gerald Casale. Llamaron a los hermanos de Mark, Jim (percusión) y Bob Mothersbaugh (guitarra eléctrica). Esta alineación duró hasta 1976, cuando Jim abandonó la banda. A veces Bob Lewis era quien tocaba la guitarra durante este periodo. En sus conciertos, Devo solía tocar incluyendo caracteres teatrales, como Booji Boy and the Chinaman. Las actuaciones en vivo en este periodo solían ser muy frontales, y se mantendrían de esa forma hasta 1977. En uno de sus conciertos en 1975, que puede verse en DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years, puede verse como finalmente los promotores del concierto terminan desconectándoles los equipos.
Luego de la partida de Jim Mothersbaugh, el nuevo baterista fue Alan Myers, y Casale volvió a llamar a su hermano Bob. Esta fue la formación más popular de Devo, que duraría por casi diez años.


A mediados de los años 1970, Devo grabó una serie de canciones en el estudio Briarwood, mucho más lentas y etéreas que el sonido típico de la banda. Este material era muy "artístico" pero no era el sonido que buscaba Mark Mothersbaugh, por lo que dejaron de grabar en Briarwood.
Devo, o al menos algunos de sus miembros, incluyendo a Mark Mothersbaugh, también grabaron en la casa de Rick Dailey (Sniper). Mothersbaugh grabó una canción llamada "Itchy, Itchy Goo", con Dailey en el cello, que apuntaba hacia la dirección que Devo tendría.
El gran momento de Devo llegó en 1976, cuando su corto "The Truth About De-Evolution" ganó un premio en el festival de Ann Arbor. Allí los vieron David Bowie e Iggy Pop, que ayudaron a Devo a conseguir un contrato con Warner Bros. Records. Finalmente, su primer álbum, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! fue producido por Brian Eno y contenía una versión del tema de los Rolling Stones, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" y el controvertido tema "Mongoloid" (mongólico)
La banda continuó con "Duty Now for the Future" en 1979. Durante este periodo, Lewis demandó a la banda por robo de propiedad intelectual.
Devo llegó a su mayor nivel de popularidad hasta el momento en 1980 con "Freedom of Choice" que incluyó su mayor éxito, "Whip It", que inmediatamente entró al Top 40.
Aunque se iniciaron con una mezcla de instrumentos tradicionales y efectos electrónicos, durante los inicios de la década de 1980 Devo adoptó mayormente los sintetizadores electrónicos, convirtiéndose así en una de las primeras bandas en presentarse en vivo usando solamente sintetizadores (excepto por Bob en guitarra) También fueron uno de los primeros grupos en el mundo en usar regularmente los micrófonos en forma de headsets en escena.
Devo activamente promocionaba la Iglesia de los SubGenios. En concierto, a veces ellos presentaban su propio acto de apertura, pretendiendo ser la banda de rock cristiano "Dove (la banda del amor)". Se presentaron como "Dove" en TV, en una parodia llamada Pray TV. También grabaron música, lanzada en el CD E-Z Listening Disc (1987), con versiones Muzak de sus propias canciones, que tocaban antes de sus conciertos.
En 1977 Neil Young invitó a Devo a participar en su película Human Highway (1982). Aparecieron en ella como "basureros nucleares" Los miembros de la banda pudieron escribir sus propias partes y Mark Mothersbaugh escribió y grabó la banda sonora.
Devo se mantuvo popular en países como Australia, donde el show musical Countdown, emitido en todo el país, fue uno de los primeros programas en el mundo en pasar sus videoclips. Se les dio mucho apoyo desde la radio no comercial Double Jay, una de las primeras estaciones fuera de América que pasaba sus propios discos. El show nocturno Nightmoves transmitió "The Truth About De-Evolution". De este modo, en agosto de 1981, encontraron éxito comercial en Australia, cuando su nuevo álbum, Devo Live E.P, pasó tres semanas en las listas australianas. Más tarde en el año, llegaron a Australia y aparecieron en Countdown.

[editar]New Traditionalists (1981)

Durante los años 80, Devo grabó los álbumes New Traditionalists (1981), Oh, No! It's Devo (1982) y Shout (1984), pero tras el poco éxito de Shout, Warner Bros. dejó de producirles. Seguidamente, Alan Myers abandonó la banda diciendo que no se sentía creativamente inspirado. Así, Devo se mantuvo inactivo durante dos años.



[editar]Otros integrantes

  • Bob Lewis
  • Jim Mothersbaugh
  • David Kendrick
  • Josh Freese


Devo en Boston,2008


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