Devo were an American New Wave/art-rock band from Akron, Ohio, that released six albums on Warner Bros. between 1978 and 1984.
Members: Gerald V. Casale (bass, vocals), Mark Mothersbaugh (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Bob Lewis (slide guitar, 1972-76), Coupe de Ville [Peter Gregg] (guitar, 1972), Rod Reisman (drums, 1973), Fred Weber (vocals, 1973), Bob II [Bob Casale] (rhythm guitar, keyboards, 1973, 1976-2014), Bob I [Bob Mothersbaugh] (lead guitar, vocals, 1974-present), Jungle Jim [Jim Mothersbaugh] (electronic drums, 1974-76), Alan Myers (drums, 1976-86)
The nucleus of what would become Devo coalesced around 1970 at Kent State University, where keyboardist Mark Mothersbaugh met art students Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis. Casale played in an early lineup of 15-60-75 and, with Lewis, developed the concept of de-evolution, a theory that humankind is regressing to a more primitive form.
In 1973, Devo played its first concert at the Kent State performing arts festival. The lineup for this event was Mothersbaugh, Lewis (guitar), Gerald (bass) and his brother Bob Casale (guitar, keyboards). Vocals were handled by ex-Lacewing singer Fred Weber. The band played a similar event the following year, this time with Mark doubling on vocals and his brother Jim Mothersbaugh on drums.
Over the next two years, Devo recorded numerous demos (later comped on their two-volume Hardcore Devo series). A third Mothersbaugh, Bob, joined on guitar. Soon thereafter, Jim left and they hired drummer Alan Myers.
In May 1976, they shot a 10-minute mini-film, The Truth About De-Evolution, which showcases two songs: the Johnny Rivers cover “Secret Agent Man” and the Mark original “Jocko Homo.” The latter became the b-side to their first single, “Mongoloid,” released in March 1977 on self-press Booji Boy, named after the mascot featured in the film. It was followed that September with a cover of the Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (b/w “Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin’)”). All four sides, along with two additional songs (“Be Stiff” and “Social Fools”), were issued on the EP Be Stiff by U.K. small-press Stiff Records.
At the urging of David Bowie, an early champion of the band, Devo was signed to Warner Bros. in early 1978.
- Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)
- Duty Now for the Future (1979)
- Freedom of Choice (1980)
- EZ Listening Muzak Cassette (1981)
- New Traditionalists (1981)
- Oh, No! It’s Devo (1982)
- EZ Listening Muzak Cassette Volume 2 (1984)
- Shout (1984)
- Hardcore Devo, Vol. 1: 74-77 [archival] (1990)
- Hardcore Devo, Vol. 2: 1974-1977 [archival] (1991)
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