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Excellent unedited DEVO interview from ‘Night Flight,’ 1981
10:33 am


Night Flight
Excellent unedited DEVO interview from ‘Night Flight,’ 1981

Dangerous Minds has written a bunch about the USA cable network’s transcendentally great Night Flight, an weekend overnight programming block that aired in the ‘80s, and which can justly claim credit for warping a lot of young minds and giving budding mutants a lot of places to start looking for suitably outré cultural produce. In the 21st Century, that show has morphed into a streaming video channel and a website not terribly unlike…Dangerous Minds. (Hardly a surprise, that, as our pooh-bah Richard Metzger once told The New Yorker that DM was partly inspired by Night Flight. And the log keeps rolling…) The programming was completely freeform and anarchic, and strongly bent towards the celebration of creativity and strangeness, especially via underground music and film—television had never been like that before, and never was again.

A highlight of every Night Flight broadcast was its “Take Off” segments—collections of music videos organized by a unifying theme, and supplemented with interviews and other informational content to flesh out the subject. I’m unable to find the “Take Off” segment that included this DEVO footage—it appears to have been scrubbed from YouTube by Warner Bros on copyright grounds—but I kind of don’t care, because what follows is the entire unedited interview. It’s dated 1981, and the plastic JFK pompadours the band members are wearing support that date. That was the headgear that replaced their famous Energy Domes on their 1981 album New Traditionalists. The provenance of the footage doesn’t lead directly to Night Flight. For the first two years that show aired, the “Take Off” features were made by a production company called Videowest, and bits of the interview turned up in a few places, including this clip about commercialization and merchandising in rock, which may have even been a part of the “lost” segment in question—“Take Off to Merchandising” featuring DEVO sounds plausibly like it could have happened.

The entire interview, uncut, is amazing red meat for serious DEVOtees—it’s over 40 minutes of the band discussing their motivations, the devolution idea, newly-nascent Reaganism, the concept behind the New Traditionalists LP, public responses to their work and their image, rock ’n’ roll culture, all the obsessions shared between DEVO and its fans to which the band gave voice. It’s worth it for the Jerry Casale quote “Art bands are in love with their own poopoo” alone.

Propers to DM pal Annie Zaleski for this find, and thanks to Night Flight’s Bryan Thomas for info-dig assistance.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Never mind the MTV Classic, Night Flight is back!
DEVO becomes public art, streets of Akron, Ohio are overrun with Booji Boys
That’s Good: DEVO’s guest appearance on ‘Square Pegs,’ 1983

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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