Devo is an American rock band that emerged in the early 1970s and is known for its pioneering work in the New Wave and punk rock genres. The band was formed in Akron, Ohio, and its name is a contraction of the term "de-evolution," which reflects their satirical and artistic approach to themes related to societal decline and the loss of human potential. Here are some key points about Devo:
Formation and Original Lineup: Devo was formed by two sets of brothers: Mark Mothersbaugh (vocals and keyboards) and Bob Mothersbaugh (guitar), and Gerald Casale (vocals and bass) and Bob Casale (guitar and keyboards). Alan Myers joined as the drummer in 1976.
De-evolution Philosophy: Devo's philosophy and image revolved around the idea of "de-evolution," which suggested that human society was regressing rather than progressing. Their lyrics and imagery often satirized the dehumanization of society and the impact of technology on culture.
Sound and Style: Devo's music blended punk rock, New Wave, and art rock. Their sound featured unconventional rhythms, discordant melodies, and the prominent use of synthesizers. They wore matching uniforms and distinctive "energy dome" hats, contributing to their unique visual identity.
Devo's debut album, "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" (1978), was produced by Brian Eno and included songs like "Uncontrollable Urge" and a cover of "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones.
"Whip It": Devo's biggest hit came with "Whip It" from their third album, "Freedom of Choice" (1980). The song's music video became an early staple on MTV.
Influence on New Wave: Devo's sound, style, and approach to music had a significant influence on the New Wave movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are often cited as one of the pioneering bands of the genre.
Music Videos: Devo was among the first bands to utilize music videos as a promotional tool, creating visually distinct and often satirical videos for their songs.
Members of Devo, particularly Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, have pursued various artistic endeavors beyond music, including film scoring, visual arts, and soundtracks for television and film.
Personnel Changes: Devo experienced changes in their lineup over the years, with Alan Myers leaving the band in 1986. Drummer Josh Freese joined the band in the 1990s.
Cultural Impact: Devo's unique style, sound, and philosophy have had a lasting impact on the worlds of music, fashion, and art. They continue to be celebrated for their artistic innovation and satirical approach to popular culture.
Devo's distinctive blend of art, music, and social commentary made them a standout act in the New Wave era and solidified their place in the history of rock music. Their work remains influential and serves as a testament to the creative possibilities within the genre.