We Are Devo: Rocks NXNE

Devo 9

By Bill Delingat

Who can forget the “flower pot men” first sighted in the 80’s, well actually they were a group of students from Akron ,OHIO and they weren’t flower pots on the heads but “Devo Energy Domes” which, still today along with their new age sneakers, are still a big part of their merchandise.

Devo originally formed in 1973 and by 1980 had a hit with the single "Whip It’, and has maintained a cult following throughout its existence. Their style, a Sci - Fi, industrial art rock gave us the robotic musical look at their future.  The name "Devo" comes from their concept of de-evolution - the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.

Devo caught the attention of David Bowie, who loved the group and secured a record contract for them with Warner Brothers. Brian Eno, of Roxy Music Fame, produced their hit album “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!”.  That spawned remixes of hits like Mongoloid and the Stones “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” and then the ional exposure with an appearance on Saturday Night Live, only a week  after the Rolling Stones, with Devo  performing "Satisfaction" and "Jocko Homo."

With a new CD released in 2010 “Something for everybody”, Devo is back out on the road and made a stop in Toronto at Dundas Square on June 18th for NXNE.

Cashbox roving photographer Michael Cleeland was there, to get some shots and check out the tunes. “With Devo and me it’s all about the first album.  When I bought it, I literally played it for ten hours in a row”, said Cleeland. “I drove my Dylan loving neighbor mad.  At 3 AM in the morning I ended the evening with “Like a Rolling Stone” as way of an apology. To this day I still hum “Mongoloid” to myself when I see a bunch of suits walking towards me, which was the impact “De-Evolution” had on me.”

“That evening at Dundas Square the band was tight, the show well executed and even well choreographed, but it didn't really get started for me until 45 minutes into the set. Everybody else was having a good time but I was just watching and waiting, for album #1. Halfway through the night, they didn’t let me or the other fans as they completely rocked. All the first album tunes I needed to hear. What a great night of sights and sounds. The last time I saw Devo was at Massey Hall in the 80s I can’t say I ever expected to see them again, but I am glad  I did Just as  long as they keep playing all that first  album.

It seems we will be seeing more of Devo. Since 2009 when Warner Brothers and Devo announced a re-release of “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We are Devo” and “Freedom of Choice” the band is still on tour performing both albums.

Devo was awarded the first-ever Moog Innovator Award on October 29, 2010 during MoogFest 2010 in Asheville, North Carolina. The Moog Innovator Award "celebrates pioneering artists whose genre-defying work exemplifies the bold, innovative spirit of Bob Moog.”

While on tour, in an interview on March 3, 2011, Gerald Casale noted that he is "working on a script for a musical, a Devo musical" that would be aimed towards a live Broadway production.

Watch out “We will Rock You” here comes Devo, stay tuned!


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