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DEVO’s Jerry Casale interviews DEVO’s Gerald V. Casale
08.04.2017
09:46 am
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This is the best self-interview since David Byrne’s promotional interview for Stop Making Sense.

In this nineteen minute video, “Jerry” Casale plays the cynical straight interviewer of himself, “Gerald” Casale, bass player, vocalist, and spokesman for DEVO.

Gerald reveals to Jerry the secret behind the DEVO “energy domes” (erroneously referred to as “flower pots” by many spuds back in the day), the inspiration behind which was an art deco lighting fixture that hung from the ceiling in his grade school.

Gerald talks at length about the origins of DEVO at Kent State University, from the original concept creation with his friend Bob Lewis, to his meeting of Mark Mothersbaugh after seeing Mothersbaugh’s stickered artwork hanging in the halls of the school.

Gerald explains that the Kent State Massacre was the impetus for the creation of DEVO, conceptually and musically, as an experimental force and bulwark against the prevailing culture:

“After those killings at Kent State and the clampdown from the Nixon administration, you either had to go underground and stick to activism and possibly go to jail or be killed, or find a more creative and subversive way of reacting to the situation you found yourself in in the horrible culture.”

Gerald waxes nostalgic for the “democratic” early days of DEVO’s music when all of the members contributed to the minimalist “form follows function” vision of the band, but explains that the songwriting process went south when the technology they were using became “autocratic,” dictating the direction of the group. According to Casale, “Mark wanted it that way and I didn’t.”

DEVO’s biggest hit, “Whip It,” is also discussed, with Gerald revealing to Jerry that the basis for the song was Mark Mothersbaugh’s deconstruction of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” adding a two beat space to the song’s main riff, with Casale’s lyrics being inspired by Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.

Watch after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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08.04.2017
09:46 am
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IT’S ALL DEVO! New video from devolution’s mutant mastermind Gerald Casale—a DM premiere
04.07.2016
09:19 am
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Gerald Casale famously began conceiving the “Theory of Devolution” after surviving the infamous May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings. Basically a misanthropic philosophy leavened with deadpan absurdist humor, the theory held that despite or because of (it probably doesn’t matter) the march of civilization and advances in technology, humanity was not evolving per the Darwin model, but was in fact collectively getting dumber, more primitive, and ultimately less fit for long-term survival, and that principle (and some very strange books) laid the foundation for Casale’s and his KSU partner-in-crime Mark Mothersbaugh’s band DEVO, who by the late ‘70s became emblematic of the New Wave.

Though DEVO have been only very intermittently active as a touring and releasing entity since 1990, Casale remains a steadfast believer in and promoter of the reality of devolution—and what sentient being possessing a modicum of attentiveness could look at this world and possibly disagree with him? While Mothersbaugh has enjoyed a long career scoring films, Casale has directed dozens of music videos and remained an off-the-map provocateur, spinning social commentary with brilliant conceits like DEVO 2.0 (and, sometimes, bafflingly tone-deaf outfits like Jihad Jerry and the Evildoers).
 

 
At last year’s annual “DEVOtional” fan convention, Casale expressed a wish for DEVO to reactivate—though the band has never officially broken up, it hasn’t done anything since a brief ten-date tour two years ago. He seems to have taken the reins on his own, though, as he’ll be releasing the single “It’s All DEVO” on April 16th. The physical release is a Record Store Day Exclusive, but the digital release will be available on the same day, without throngs of eBay flippers crowding you out of the bins. The song seems to be Casale’s way of underscoring his sustained belief in and critique of our infuriating march toward our own ruin via our embrace of idiot demagogues (guess who makes an appearance?) and our all-consuming consumerism.

The song and video are both collaborations with Italian artists—a musical assist was provided by the prolific Neapolitan duo The Phunk Investigation, and the video is credited to the wonderfully bonkers collage artist Max Papeschi (think Winston Smith with a brighter palette) and director Maurizio Temporin. Asked for comment, Casale offered this:

The video for “Its All DEVO” distills the current state of the world as we know it to be down to 3 plus minutes of a cartoon, technicolor nightmare. The transgressive juxtaposition of G-rated Americana, corporate malfeasance and totalitarian horror is as sweet as Kool Aid - thus easy on the Millennial mind and body. Working with the infamous Italian artist Max Papeschi was an exciting collaboration as satisfying as my early DEVO days.

The video is indeed a vivid brainfuck of DEVO references, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sight gags, and slams on consumer culture’s sacred cows, and it’s Dangerous Minds’ pleasure to debut that video for you today, after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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04.07.2016
09:19 am
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‘Shit happens: True Stories of People Shitting Their Pants’: This week it’s DEVO’s Jerry Casale
03.19.2016
12:11 pm
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Captain’s Log: In the latest installment of Shit Happens: A Webseries About Shitting Your Pants, DEVO’s Gerald Casale tells a charming tale of having an “uncontrollable urge” hit him at a rather inopportune time while he was touring with the group in their early days and when a water closet was just not handy.

I don’t want to spoil the fun, so you’ll just have to see for yourself if Jerry won that $100 prize.

I’ll sheepishly admit that this had me laughing—really hard—pretty much from the start. Shitting one’s pants… pinching a loaf.... negotiating the release of some Tootsie Roll hostages.... abandoning New Jersey.... taking one’s talents to South Beach... it’s a juvenile subject, sure, but still one that makes for a big steaming pile o’ laughs.

Directed & edited by Ryan Worsley. Produced by Emma Jones, Ryan Worsley & Peter Conheim
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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03.19.2016
12:11 pm
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DEVO becomes public art, streets of Akron, Ohio are overrun with Booji Boys
08.17.2015
10:04 am
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On Saturday August 15, 2015, Akron Ohio’s finest post-rubber export DEVO were honored in their hometown with the dedication of a piece of public art. The iconic 1978 Janet Macoska photo of the band in full stage uniform in front of the late, lamented hot dog stand Chili Dog Mac was colorized, enlarged to life size, and placed over that onetime landmark’s former facade next to the Akron Civic Theatre. This dedication is the first part of a planned renovation of that entire block, which has become a bit rundown and suffered vacancies despite having an anchor in the popular theater.

The event was a stone hoot. DEVO’s bassist/co-mastermind Jerry Casale and photographer Macoska were present, free chili dogs were available to all assembled, and the event began with a surreal and hilarious stunt, the Running of the Booji Boys. A couple dozen revelers in identical Booji Boy masks and blue jumpsuits danced in the middle of South Main St while a DJ pumped out DEVO music. The masks, not incidentally, are recreations by Akron’s SikRik Masks. DM has told you about them before. (All photos are by Ron Kretsch except where noted.)
 

 

 

 
Much more DEVO after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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08.17.2015
10:04 am
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The history of Devo as told by the brilliant Jerry Casale
07.21.2012
09:56 pm
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This is raw video of an interview from the early ‘90s with Devo co-founder Jerry Casale that was intended to be used in a documentary on the band that was, as far as I know, never completed. But the footage as it is still serves as a wonderful history of Devo and an entry into the brilliant mind of Casale.

The fact that you can’t hear the questions being asked of Casale doesn’t diminish the interview in the least. It’s full of fascinating insights and anecdotes detailing the genesis, rise and continued success of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s truly visionary bands. Casale delivers all of this with wit and sharply observed truths about the art and business of pop music.

Spud-boy Casale is one very intelligent potato and this video should be mandatory viewing in high school art classes (if they still exist).

Unfortunately, there’s about six minutes missing from the interview that contains some musical content that was disallowed by Youtube for licensing reasons. If that situation changes, I will update this article.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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07.21.2012
09:56 pm
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Sip it good: Devo’s Jerry Casale is a wine expert
09.17.2010
10:46 am
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While much of America has devoles to become, as William Gibson put it “Devo’s vision made flesh,” Devo’s own Jerry Casale, obviously a man of “wealth and taste” has revealed to Wine Spectator magazine that he’s taking a more sophisticated approach to life here in the Age of Ignorance, the Tea party and Fox News—the kinds of things he and his band mates were predicting back in the mid-70s.

I was at a dinner party that Jerry also attended a few years back, and I recall that the host was extremely impressed with the bottle o’ vino that Jerry brought.

Wine Spectator: How did you learn so much about wine?

Jerry Casale: When we signed with Warner Bros. Records and moved to California [in the late 1970s], a world opened up to me. We hit California not only when there was an explosion in the music scene, but there was a revolution in cuisine. All the restaurateurs were now famous and had cookbooks out and were new and young and were stretching food consciousness. It stretched from Alice Waters, in San Francisco to Bruce Marder, Sam Clark and Michael McCarty. I met them all, and they were Devo fans! I got to eat and drink in their restaurants and ask a lot of questions. I started from zero and learned and learned and learned. Touring completed the picture. In Europe, I was able to visit vineyards. It was a revelation. I was so into it that I taught wine [at the Wine House in Los Angeles].

Wine Spectator: How long did you teach wine classes?

Jerry Casale: It was in the years that Devo were in some kind of suspended animation, when there was no activity—sometime between 1992 and 1995. [The Wine House] was a serious operation: 1,000 feet of retail space, plus a restaurant and a classroom. I wanted people to strip away all the assumptions they’ve made and things they’ve learned that were wrong like sniffing corks [laughs]. Wine represented some kind of hoity-toity frightening thing to them.

Casale hopes to begin developing his own wine within the next couple of years. Below, “Mongoloid” performed in France, 1978.
 

 

Devo Frontman Is Whipped by Wine (Wine Spectator)

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.17.2010
10:46 am
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