Music & Clubs

Devo

FUTURE HEADS: Devo brings iconic New Wave songs and equally iconic headgear to the Mountain Winery.

THE ENERGY DOMES. The yellow jump suits. And lyrics inspired by Thomas Pynchon. "We were once called the thinking man's Kiss," says Jerry Casale, bassist, vocalist and one of the founding members of Devo.

Casale first formulated the notion of "Devolution" —the idea that humanity is actually moving backward on the evolutionary scale—while attending Kent State during the late 1960s. During the infamous shootings on May 4, 1970, Casale was about 15 feet away from the late Allison Krause, a personal friend, when she was shot. It changed him forever. "I was a live-and-let-live hippie until then and hadn't really broken on through to see the big picture of how the world really works. I think that did it," he says.

He decided then and there that Devolution was no joke and formed Devo. Success was slow at first, but the band soon found a rabid cult following. After a few singles, they released their debut Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, which was produced by Brian Eno and contained fan favorites "Jocko Homo," "Mongoloid," "Uncontrollable Urge" and their cover of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." The world got their first real look at the band's absurd futuro-art-rock look when they played SNL in 1978. But they had their biggest hit in 1980, with "Whip It" (which was inspired by Thomas Pynchon's book Gravity's Rainbow) from the Freedom of Choice album.

"Silly us, we thought we were absolutely mainstream. What we're trying to tell you is a big, broad idea in your favor. It's against people who are trying to screw you, special interests and fear-based power of illegitimate authority who try to put you under their boot." he says.

Casale is also mostly responsible for Devo's fashion, although the idea behind it is slightly different. "What I was trying to do there was obviously get people to look at something they felt superior to. They could look at us and say, 'Oh, look at those sorry bastards in those ridiculous outfits.' It was disarming, it other words, it didn't threaten them. That was a way that made us more palatable to watch, because they could think we were fools," he says.

After 30 years, the formula still works. Devo released their latest album, Something For Everybody, last year. "With our record right now, I think those songs are as strong as the songs on New Traditionalists or Freedom Of Choice," he says. "I say that because we just mix them in with our old songs [at shows]. We have two crowds: We have the original Devo crowd, who are now in their 40s and 50s, and we have the twentysomethings. The twentysomethings don't know which songs are old and which songs are new. They have no idea what year they're from. They think they're all from a long time ago. They like them all."

Mountain Winery

Saturday, Aug. 27

7:30pm; $39.50-$89.50.


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