BCB 130: Devo

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BCB 130: Devo

Postby Jeff K » 06 Aug 2014, 00:38

I don't like bands with gimmicks. I'm skeptical of bands that grew out of art projects and I especially detest artists who use a lot of lowbrow humor in their work and try to pass it off as satire. Since DEVO efficiently managed to check off all my pet peeves, I was primed and ready to hate them before even hearing a note of music. Then I heard their cover of Satisfaction.



Utterly ridiculous but it was something that stuck with you the first time you heard it. A robotic- quasi reggae dismantling of a rock and roll classic. I especially loved the 'baby, baby, baby' part on the middle of the song that went on for a full ten seconds. I don't know how serious he was but Mick Jagger once stated that Devo's version of Satisfaction was better than the Stones. I can't imagine Keith saying the same thing.

I could go on about Devo's debut Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO! because nearly every song is a gem. I'll share one more clip off of it.



By this time Devo were all over the place. Their wasn't an American TV show that they didn't appear on. They were New Wave, they were wacky but they were also accessible enough to cross over to mainstream America. The second album Duty Now For the Future was similar to the first but the songs weren't quite as memorable. I do like Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA, though.



The album that followed, Freedom of Choice, was their commercial breakthrough thanks in part to MTV. I lost interest in them by then. I didn't mind Whip It or Girl U Want but by that time I had moved on to different music. I guess you could say I outgrew them. DEVO was my KISS. I wouldn't listen to them again until their stuff started getting reissued on CD a decade or so later.

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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Jeff K » 06 Aug 2014, 01:10

This thread needs Mimsy to sing a few Devo tunes to perk it up.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby THE FILING FEE » 06 Aug 2014, 01:18

You've named all the songs I like apart from this one, which I love. There's a major goosebump moment 57 seconds in, when the piano enters. Fucking A - never tire of it:




And the video for 'Whip It' is wonderful, one of my very favourites. Odd but appealing humour. I'm sure they're referencing scenes from films or ads or something, but just because it sort of looks like that - I have no idea what's going on (which of course makes it more interesting):





Mark Mothersbaugh's really wealthy now, isn't he? Soundtrack stuff. But I heard the last DEVO album was something of a triumph. Anyone heard it?
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 06 Aug 2014, 01:45

Jeff K wrote:DEVO was my KISS.


That is a hell of a quote. You'd think you'd never have these two meet down a dark corridor, but I played in a band with a guy who liked two bands best: DEVO and KISS.

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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby bobzilla77 » 06 Aug 2014, 07:51

I almost got to see Devo in 1979. The only reason I didn't was that we already had tickets to see Kiss the following night Two concerts in two nights was too much for my mom to take.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby GoogaMooga » 06 Aug 2014, 09:16

freedom of choice was my introduction. whip it was a floorfiller. then i went back and bought the debut, off which i really like "mongoloid". don't know if it's pc, how do you guys feel about "mongoloid". the last blast from them that i heard was the cover of "workin' in a coalmine" - at that time i'd never heard off lee dorsey. eventually sold my vinyl and never bothered with them on cd. i don't really think of them as canon, but they did bring a smile to my face when i was in high school.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Corporate whore » 06 Aug 2014, 12:15

the BEAST of BCB wrote:Mark Mothersbaugh's really wealthy now, isn't he? Soundtrack stuff. But I heard the last DEVO album was something of a triumph. Anyone heard it?


This one?



Yes, and I think its great. it lacks some of the angles of the erlier stuff, but some of that I think is the step change in music technolology that has occured on the last 20 years.

Meanwhile - a lesser known gem....

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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Snarfyguy » 06 Aug 2014, 15:32

Jeff K wrote:I don't like bands with gimmicks. I'm skeptical of bands that grew out of art projects and I especially detest artists who use a lot of lowbrow humor in their work and try to pass it off as satire. Since DEVO efficiently managed to check off all my pet peeves, I was primed and ready to hate them before even hearing a note of music. Then I heard their cover of Satisfaction.



Utterly ridiculous but it was something that stuck with you the first time you heard it. A robotic- quasi reggae dismantling of a rock and roll classic. I especially loved the 'baby, baby, baby' part on the middle of the song that went on for a full ten seconds. I don't know how serious he was but Mick Jagger once stated that Devo's version of Satisfaction was better than the Stones. I can't imagine Keith saying the same thing.

I remember seeing that on Saturday Night Live when it was broadcast. I was a big Stones fan and I can't overstate what game-changer their cover was. I had no idea you could do that - cover what we now call a classic rock song without the the proper reverence and make it mesmerizingly good. I was just thunderstruck.

Loved the first album, still do. You're right, Jeff - the follow-up didn't bring the tunes. I lost interest, but still admired them for at least being subversive, even if I didn't follow them closely.

Later on I heard their cover of Are You Experienced? Utterly dreadful...

But I have a lot of goodwill toward them generally.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 06 Aug 2014, 16:03

fab live even in recent years!
if you dont have this one on DVD yet, get it! Now!
Amazing stuff!



/ love them from the start
first four albums for me
the new one, good, but lacks something
maybe need to give it another spinn!
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby B » 06 Aug 2014, 16:10

Love Devo. Hardcore Devo is my shit especially.


When I saw this when I was like 15 my mind was blown

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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Matt Wilson » 06 Aug 2014, 16:18

Snarfyguy wrote:
Jeff K wrote:I don't like bands with gimmicks. I'm skeptical of bands that grew out of art projects and I especially detest artists who use a lot of lowbrow humor in their work and try to pass it off as satire. Since DEVO efficiently managed to check off all my pet peeves, I was primed and ready to hate them before even hearing a note of music. Then I heard their cover of Satisfaction.




I remember seeing that on Saturday Night Live when it was broadcast. I was a big Stones fan and I can't overstate what game-changer their cover was. I had no idea you could do that - cover what we now call a classic rock song without the the proper reverence and make it mesmerizingly good. I was just thunderstruck.


The Residents had already done that though.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Snarfyguy » 06 Aug 2014, 16:23

Matt Wilson wrote:The Residents had already done that though.

Yes, but I didn't hear their version until later and it wasn't on the hippest show on network television.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Matt Wilson » 06 Aug 2014, 16:27

The Residents' version isn't as good either.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Tapiocahead » 06 Aug 2014, 16:39

the BEAST of BCB wrote:You've named all the songs I like apart from this one, which I love. There's a major goosebump moment 57 seconds in, when the piano enters. Fucking A - never tire of it:




And the video for 'Whip It' is wonderful, one of my very favourites. Odd but appealing humour. I'm sure they're referencing scenes from films or ads or something, but just because it sort of looks like that - I have no idea what's going on (which of course makes it more interesting):





Mark Mothersbaugh's really wealthy now, isn't he? Soundtrack stuff. But I heard the last DEVO album was something of a triumph. Anyone heard it?


Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy is probably No.11 of my list of favourite songs.

I was reading about the video to Whip It in Rip It Up and Start Again very recently. It is based on something - a documentary or something one of them had been watching. I ought to have checked before typing this post really.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 06 Aug 2014, 16:55

from wiki
"On an episode of the VH1 show TrueSpin, Gerald Casale revealed that the lead guitar riff from "Whip It" is based on the riff from "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison with the beat moved to the back.
Gerald Casale told Songfacts that the lyrics were written by him "as an imitation of Thomas Pynchon's parodies in his book Gravity's Rainbow."[4] The lyrics evoke a working class desire to pull oneself up and to overcome adversity. The song has violent undertones, and Devo has often described it as about Jimmy Carter, as Mothersbaugh describes in an interview on To The Best of our Knowledge. However, many people took the lyrics at face value, interpreting the song as a paean to masturbation and sadomasochism, or a reference to inhaling nitrous oxide from whipped cream cans (taken from the name "whip-it", used to describe the nitrous chargers for whipped cream dispensers)."
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Snarfyguy » 06 Aug 2014, 17:35

Matt Wilson wrote:The Residents' version isn't as good either.

Definitely.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby bobzilla77 » 06 Aug 2014, 19:26

I was given Q:Are We Not Men? for Christmas in 1978 by some friends of my mother's whose record collection I was always plowing through when we visited them. The same folks had turned me on to Patti Smith and Elvis Costello a year earlier and had pretty hip taste as far as "my mom's friends" went.

At first I thought it was a comedy record. Then I noticed, I was still listening to it long after it had stopped being laugh out loud funny. It was so fun and wacky and cool, and importantly enough, they showed me that "rock and roll" cliches were just that, stupid jokes, when I was at an age where I still took them kind of seriously.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby sloopjohnc » 06 Aug 2014, 19:32

I saw them play the Mabuhay Gardens around '79. Freaked people out.

And these were folks who were used to seeing The Mutants, Dead Kennedys, Crime. the Avengers and Flipper (although they showed up a little later).

I ran into a drunk Mark Mothersbaugh in the alley on the side of the club.

Here's '77 poster from event.

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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby Snarfyguy » 06 Aug 2014, 19:38

In my region (and pig bodine would attest to this were he here), "Devo" was a term of derision that jocks and bullies would use to taunt anyone looking vaguely punk-y.

"Hey Devo," they'd sneer.

I'd like to think the guys in the band would have been proud on some level to have become instant cultural shorthand, even if it was in the service of abuse.
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Re: BCB 130: Devo

Postby toomanyhatz » 06 Aug 2014, 19:43

I can't really say much about the band or their records, as I've never really been a fan, but I do wonder what people's take is on the issues Take 5D brought up in the Costello thread - that is, the period's scathing attitude toward consumer culture. While I was cynical about it at the time, thinking them hypocrites for pretending to parody something they took part in, I find it pretty fascinating in retrospect They parodied consumer culture rather than lashing out at it, but they were also full participants. Their marketing machine was in full force almost from the beginning. I could swear they sold merch right from their album sleeves from the first album.

In retrospect I admire them (and there's something to be said for grabbing full control of the marketing part from the beginning - they were exploiters, not the exploited) but still don't know enough about them to really comment on the music.
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