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…