Devo Tickets for Sale

Have you spent at least a decade in college without declaring a major? Do you consider the Mac/PC debate a raging one? Do you own a Star Wars toy? Is it still in the package? If you answered yes to the above questions, chances are you're a Devo fan. Sure, we all know the radio hits "Whip It" and "Peek-A-Boo," but it takes a special breed of person to be a real fan -- generally, developmentally impaired males in their thirties for whom a T-shirt without holes in it is a "dress shirt." Devo's robo-funk guitars and analog synths evoked a futurism held over from The Jetsons and Barbarella; their lyrics are told from the point of view of hyper-logical Vulcans attempting to explain the ways of "those crazy Earthlings." At times this collection of oddments works compellingly, but never as well as it did on their 1982 tour de force Freedom of Choice. Devo's music still possesses a special ability to make the world you take for granted seem interesting and odd. In which case, if you aren't a Devo fan, maybe you should be.

Formed during 1972 in Akron, Ohio, this US new wave band, who fitted the term better than most, originally comprised Mark Mothersbaugh (b. 18 May 1950, Akron, Ohio, USA; vocals/keyboards), Jerry Casale (b. Gerald V. Casale; vocals/bass), Bob Mothersbaugh (b. Robert Mothersbaugh; guitar), Bob Casale (guitar/keyboards) and Jim Mothersbaugh (drums), although the latter was replaced by Alan Myers in 1976. The philosophical principle on which Devo operated, and from which they took their shortened name, was devolution: the theory that mankind, rather than progressing, has actually embarked on a negative curve. The medium they pioneered to present this was basic, electronic music, with strong robotic and mechanical overtones. The visual representation and marketing exaggerated modern life, with industrial uniforms and neo-military formations alongside potato masks and flower-pot headgear. The band's 1978 debut album was among their finest achievements; a synthesis of pop and sarcastic social commentary. Produced by Brian Eno, it perfectly captured the prevailing wind of America's new wave movement. It also offered them their biggest UK hit in a savage take on the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". It was not until their third studio album, however, that Devo confirmed that they were no novelty act. Freedom Of Choice contained Devo standards "Girl You Want" and "Whip It", the latter giving them a million-selling US single.
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At the peak of their powers, Devo inspired and informed many, not least one of Neil Young's great albums, Rust Never Sleeps. However, as the 80s unfolded the band seemed to lose its bite, and their fourth album New Traditionalists signaled a creative descent. Successive albums were released to diminishing critical and commercial returns. Mark Mothersbaugh recorded a pair of solo studio albums, largely consisting of keyboard doodling and "atmosphere' pieces. These arrived at the same time as Devo's first original work in four years, 1988's Total Devo, which saw Myers replaced by David Kendrick (ex-Gleaming Spires; Sparks). Devo's absence had not, however, made critics" hearts grow fonder. As was unerringly pointed out, the band had long since lost its status as innovators, and had been surpassed by the generation of electronic outfits it had helped to inspire.

Despite falling out of fashion as the 80s wore on, Devo, nevertheless, saw themselves venerated in the new decade by bands who hailed their early work as a significant influence. Nirvana covered an obscure Devo recording, "Turnaround", and both Soundgarden and Superchunk offered remakes of "Girl You Want". A new wave tribute album, Freedom Of Choice, adopting the band's own 1980 title, included the latter. Gerald Casale was bemused by the sudden attention: "I think we were the most misunderstood band that ever came down the pike because behind the satire, our message was a humanistic one, not an inhumane one. If there's any interest in Devo now, it's only because it turned out that what was called an art-school smartass joke - this de-evolution rap, about man devolving - now seems very true as you look around."

Following the release of 1990's Smooth Noodle Maps, the various members of Devo had begun to concentrate on other interests. Mark Mothersbaugh branched out into soundtrack work, writing the music for television shows such as Davis Rules, Rugrats and Liquid Television. He is also a much sought-after video game music composer with his credits including Crash Bandicott, Jake & Daxter and Sims 2. His production company Mutato Muzika employs several of his Devo colleagues. The band reunited in 1996, playing that year's Lollapalooza festival and releasing the interactive video game Adventures Of The Smart Patrol. The Mothersbaugh and Casale brothers have sporadically revived the Devo name in subsequent years. Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh and Bob Casale also re-formed the Wipeouters, a pre-Devo surf group they formed while growing up in Akron.
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