United Kingdom

Devo: “Richard Branson almost killed us in the mountains of Jamaica.” Devo

Is it possible for Devo to exist without the shootings at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, 1970? Flashbleu

Gerald Casale (vocals, bass, keyboards): I was a member of a student organization that organized a protest against the escalation of the Vietnam War in Cambodia. I knew two of the four students, Jeffrey Miller and Alison Krause, who were shot and killed by the National Guard. We saw this happen and we saw the Kent newspaper say “Students kill guardsmen”! We realized that everything they told us was a big lie. We’ve already made music, but when you see something like that, it changes you forever.

When I saw Devo in Knebworth in 1978, supporting Tom Petty & Heartbreakers, Jefferson Starship and Genesis, the obedient, stone-stoned hippie guys suddenly became furious and threw rockets at the stage. Have you encountered hostility on such a scale since then? bhunabhoy

Mark Mothersbaugh (vocals, keyboards, guitar): Before, we only played in small clubs, so we didn’t even have a team. We adjusted our outfit with blue work outfits, ran out to change into our yellow stage costumes to play, and then changed into blue overalls again to take off our gear. The group in front of us finished their set, waving a giant Confederate flag, which the crowd liked. Then we came.

Casale: The difference between electrical cycles in the UK and the US meant that our effects made these disgusting sounds. People started throwing things, but because the stage was so high, we missed them and hit other people in front. The crowd began to fight with each other. We have to watch a demonstration of De-Evolution [the band’s idea that mankind is de-evolving] where it looked like the Planet of the Apes. We have since faced this scale of hostility and are trying to turn it to our advantage.

You appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1978 [performing a radical deconstruction of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction] is forever imprinted in the minds of almost everyone in America between the ages of 15 and 30 at the time. Can you describe how your life has changed in the coming weeks? JSpicoli

Mothersbaugh: In Ohio, no one would hire us because they just wanted bands to play the top 40 hits. Often after our first set we were paid to give up! So we had a lot of time to work out our aesthetics with the yellow protective suits.

Casale: We came to television fully formed. In one night we went from a small club group to blowing up the national stage.

When Ronald Reagan was elected [in 1980], you commented: “America is turning to a bad B-movie actor to solve all its problems – it’s even more Devo than we could have imagined!” How much more Devo do you think we’ve become since? Is everything in decline? JPH1964

Casale: Of course. We now see the erasure of the truth, which is obviously serving the oligarchs, billionaires and authoritarian right-wingers who want to pull the strings of power because the population is confused and numb and ready to do anything they are told. It’s very Orwellian.

In your classic 1979 album Duty Now for the Future, you claim that “the future will be without support”. Are you disappointed with how it turned out? Judge Floyd

Casale: This is a line from Clockout, a song about toxic masculinity. The idea was that in the future, women wouldn’t need more men because they would have too many sex toys … and, uh, that’s somewhat true. [laughter].

It is known that the brothers in the groups can argue with each other. How does it work when there are two groups of siblings? HenleyRegatta

Casale: It was Mark and Bob 1 [Mothersbaugh] and me and Bob 2 [Casale]. It worked as a nuclear parity.

Will your recording sessions with David Bowie ever see the light of day? BluesBuddah

Casale: Bowie had to produce Q: We are not men? A: We are Devo !, but he had a complicated schedule, so he concluded it with Brian Eno. But then Bowie showed up in the studio [in Cologne].

Mothersbaugh: While we were setting up the equipment, people were hanging around. [Dieter] Moebius and [Hans-Joachim] Rodelius, Holger Chukai. We all finished the jam with Bowie and Eno, which was recorded on a two-track tape. Everything lights up at some point, so it will probably come out.

Kids from the club … Devo plays at Max’s Kansas City in New York, 1977. Photo: Allan Tannenbaum / Getty Images

There seemed to be tension between you and Ino during the production of your first LP, which reduced his influence. Would you consider asking Eno to remix the tapes now to present his vision for the album? David1

Motherbaugh: Brian was great at working because he let us do what we wanted. I mean, Ino and Bowie came back in the evening and added things to our songs, like Tibetan monkey chants, some of which we used, but most of which we didn’t. But he never forced it on us.

He said: “The tension has become apocryphal. It wasn’t real tension. Brian was in his Zen period, and we had come from Akron, Ohio, immersed in industrial brutality. We didn’t want our songs to be as beautiful as him, but we never fought. We loved him. We will be happy to hear him remix these songs now. That would be ridiculous at this point.

Is it true that you wrote a song using the washing machine as a rhythm section? CanMeckie

Casale: I played guitar on my mother’s machine – it had that kind of kerchunk-kerchunk rhythm.

Mothersbaugh: Before drums, we wrote songs sitting in the car to the beat of the windshield wipers. Our first drummer, Jim Mothersbaugh, was a chain bender, and he invented the predecessor of electronic drums.

How did Neil Young’s collaboration come about? Nails covered with fruit

Mothersbaugh: Actor Dean Stockwell hired me to do a play for him off Broadway – Dean had made films about Neil and introduced him to Devo.

Casale: Neil had our own single. We met, Neil loved us and asked us to star in his film Human Highway. We played Hey Hey, My My together.

Mothersbaugh: Neil told us we sell goods! He said: “Merch is not cool. It’s not part of rock’n’roll. ” [Laughter]

What’s the story of Johnny Rotton joining Devo? 1234 Ramones

Mothersbaugh: In the winter of 1978, we slept on sofas at a friend’s house. The windows in Bob Casale’s room had opened, and in the morning it was covered in snow. [Virgin Records boss] Richard Branson called and asked if we wanted to meet in Jamaica. Bob and I went to this hotel where there was a pile of really strong marijuana. Richard waited until we really killed each other and told us that Johnny Rotten was in the next room and he wanted to be the singer in Devo. I couldn’t stop laughing and told him that this was the most absurd suggestion I had ever heard. Later, Richard almost killed us. He took us to eat in the mountains and then drove so fast that the jeep slipped off the road and crashed into a tree. We were in the back seat, Bob was perched on me, and as I looked down, it was a 100-foot fall. Richard began to laugh like crazy.

Are you still playing Mongoloid? MagnusPym What do you think about Mongoloid now? Bertchas

Casale: Mongoloid is a politically incorrect term, but the song attacks people who use it to humiliate other people. However, I don’t think I would probably write this song now.

Mothersbaugh: We’re still playing it. This is one of our main songs, but in those days we were completely uncensored. In defense of the song, we received dozens of letters from parents of children with Down Syndrome saying, “My child is so happy to have a song for them and they love the song.”

Uniform look… Gerald Casale, left and Mark Modersbau in 2011, 38 years after the creation of Devo in 1973. Photo: John Shearer / Getty Images

Have you seen the British tribute band We Are Not Devo? What do you think about such bands that make your music? Wearedevo

Mothersbaugh: I listen to these bands and sometimes I think, ‘Oh, we had to do this.’ our shows. Before we went on stage, we played easy-to-listen instrumental lounge versions of our songs – parodying ourselves, but people liked it. Warners refused to release it, so we released it ourselves and sold thousands.

Mark said that while he was with Covid-19, he suffered from hallucinations and imagined a new job for Devo. Will we hear new material? Agustina_Argentina

Mothersbaugh: When I was moved to the intensive care unit, I was hit in the eye. I pulled the tube out of my throat and a man holding me said, “Calm him down!” The next thing I knew, I had these crazy dreams of playing on these five-story inflatable objects, with people watching us from below. It was a very good show! So new material … yes, of course. I have the feeling that we are in the middle of Virgo. We have another 50 years.

Devo have been nominated for this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The conscripts will be announced in May.