Somber to learn that guitarist Bob Casales of Devo has made the transition to his next performance. Condolences to family, fans, and band mates evolved and de-evolved. In memorial, I’m re-running this post that I also re-ran last year when drummer Alan Meyers passed. It puts focus on people of my general age. More behind us than ahead. Man, the 80’s were awesome, though.
When DEVO came to Redding
Are we not men? We are DEVO!
Sure, it looks like the singer is wearing a flower pot hat, but DEVO fans know them as “Energy Domes.” I was a fan back then, but not enough to have bought a ticket. A friend gave me the ticket. Her 15 year old daughter won the seats from a radio promotion, and mom really didn’t want to go. Front row! Hence, the good shots. The show was much better than I expected.
This was the era of the “It’s a Beautiful World” single, which was a show highlight.
It’s a beautiful world we live in,
A sweet romantic place,
Beautiful people everywhere,
The way they show they care
Makes me want to say,
It’s a wonderful time to be here,
It’s nice to be alive,
Wonderful people everywhere,
The way they comb their hair
It’s a beautiful world (three times)
For you (three times)
Everything I’d heard by DEVO was sort-of deliberately sterile sounding, I think. Art music. Almost a parody of itself. Certainly a sarcastic reflection of pop culture.
The funny thing about pop culture is that even self-parody acknowledgement of its own banality becomes more pop culture, perhaps even the best of it.
What I wouldn’t have guessed was how hard they rocked. Obviously, having risen through the punk clubscene, they’d learned to move an audience. This wasn’t studio music played live. They engaged the crowd, playing it hard with abandon. Up front, and hearing mostly the stage monitors, I was impressed. A tight rock band.
Devo singer Mark Mothersbaugh has gone on to become an accomplished artist in both film scores and visual arts. An extremely impressive list of accomplishments by any measure.
They still play as a band too. The DEVO webiste had recent video from a SF show at the Fillmore.
I like the final image in my series. You can tell this was taken some time ago. Outstretched arms aren’t holding up cell phones recording the moment. We were just in the moment.
I think that’s Bob grinning ear to ear. I know I was. All photos by Skip Murphy, 1982.