Remembering Devo's Bob Casale with Video


According to Rolling Stone, Devo's Bob Casale has died of sudden heart failure at 61. Already I've seen several headlines that mention "Whip It", which was Devo's best known song, but hardly their best work. Devo is, without a doubt, one of the most influential bands of the late 20th century.

Starting in 1973 they were probably the original "new wave" band but their influence extends far beyond that. Among the bands and artists who have listed Devo as an influence are Nirvana, Soundgarden, Henry Rollins, Trent Reznor, Primus, Snoop Dog, Fatboy Slim, the Flaming Lips and Arcade Fire among many others.

In addition to a great, and influential musician we have also lost a witness to history. Casale, who is originally from Akron, was present when US National Guardsmen opened fire on a student protest at Kent State university in 1970. This has been mentioned several times by members of the band as one of the defining moments behind Devo's formation (Devo is short for Deevolution).

From Rolling Stone:  "We came of age in the middle of a huge cultural war. This country was basically in the midst of a new civil war — the lines were drawn very clearly," Bob Casale said in a 2012 interview with Under the Radar. "[We formed the band because] it was a more immediate way of self-expression that required less money and no outside permission. You try to make a film and you have to come up with the money, you need a big crew, you need to ask people for favors and get permission. If you have an idea for a song you can pretty much go into your basement with your band mates and do it."

Although the band has released 9 studio albums, 5 live albums and a variety of compilations and singles "Whip It" is their only mainstream hit. This has led some entertainment journalists (of the sort who do not know or care much about music) to list them as "one hit wonders". The song itself is not very representative of the band. The videos below represent some of my favorite Devo moments (music videos as well as live shows).

Jocko Homo Original Short Film Version

Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers cover) 1978

Mongoloid + Gut Feeling 1977 live at Max's Kansas City

Too Much Paranoias - 1978 - France

1978 live - interview + Come Back Jonee

Praying Hands+Shrivel up. at M-80

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Rolling Stones cover

Beautiful World

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