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Devo

Devo (The De-Evolution Band) was a New wave music band from Akron, Ohio whose music mingled kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor, and thinly veiled sexual allusions in discordantly synthesized pop songs. Devo was probably as well known for their image as for their music, donning uniforms that mocked industrial culture and commercialism, such as the yellow chemical-protection suits during the early Q: Are We Not Men? period, and later the signature "flower pot" hats for Freedom of Choice.

Mark Mothersbaugh, the band's lead singer and synthesizer player, has gone on to do theme music for television programs (starting with Pee Wee's Playhouse), video games, and movies. In 1985, he released an elaborately packaged solo cassette, "Musik for Insomniaks," which was later expanded and released as two CDs. His company, Mutato Muzika, provides employment for Devo guitarists Bob Mothersbaugh and Bob Casale: the former works as a composer, and the latter as a recording engineer. Jerry Casale, the group's bass player, has directed rock videos by other bands, including Rush.

Devo's original inspiration came from Oscar Kiss Maerthís "The Beginning Was the End": an anthropoligical thesis which attributes the rise of man as an evolutionary accident caused by a species of sex-crazed, cannibalistic apes who developed tools to exploit each other sexually and feed on each others' brains. This metaphor is carried throughout Devo's work as an abstraction of modern society.

Devo actively embraced the Church of the SubGenius in the early 1980s. In concert, Devo often performed as the opening band for themselves, pretending to be a Christian soft-rock group called "Dove (the Band of Love)". They also recorded "E-Z Listening Muzak" versions of their own songs to play before their concerts. In 2001, members of Devo formed the surf band The Wipeouters, claiming that it was actually a reunion of the first gararge band they started while in their early teens.

Discography:

  • Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978). This debut album featured a mechanized interpretation of The Rolling Stones hit "Satisfaction", as well as "Jocko Homo", Devo's theme song and anthem.
  • Duty Now for the Future (1979)
  • Freedom of Choice, featuring the single "Whip It", probably the band's best known song (1980)
  • New Traditionalists (1981)
  • Oh No, It's Devo (1983)
  • Shout (1984)
  • E-Z Listening Disc (1987)
  • Total Devo (1988)
  • Now It Can Be Told (1989)
  • Smooth Noodle Maps (1990)

Compilations:

  • Devo's Greatest Hits
  • Devo's Greatest Misses
  • Hardcore Devo, Volumes 1 & 2
  • Pioneers Who Got Scalped (2000)

As a backup band for others:

  • Jermaine Jackson: Let Me Tickle Your Fancy (1982) (backup on title song)
  • Toni Basil: Word of Mouth (1983) (backup on covers of Devo's own Space Girls, Be Stiff and Pity You)
  • David Byrne: Feelings (1997) (backup on Wicked Little Doll)

As The Wipeouters:

Mark Mothersbaugh, some solo and soundtrack releases:

  • Musik for Insomniaks, Volumes 1 and 2
  • Joyeux Mutato, Christmas music
  • Rushmore
  • The Royal Tenenbaums
  • The Rugrats
  • Mystery Men



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