I never really had a lot of fan involvement with Devo. One Friday night in 1976 a couple of my reprobate Service Merchandise buddies & I made a road trip to Akron to catch ‘em at a bar after I read a feature about them in New York Rocker (my rock & roll Bible after the sad, slow demise into irrelevancy that Creem magazine began in 1975 or so).
The Mothersbaugh & Casale brothers were all right that night, but included a synthesizer in the set, and I think our final conclusion was: “They’re kinda art-y.” “Kinda art-y” was a kiss of death pronouncement in our West Side rocker eyes. We were guitars ‘n’ drum boys.
I will say this, though: in our current era of mega-bands like The Who and The Rolling Stones criss-crossing America playing their Greatest Hits to the classic-rock throngs in gynormous arenas & stadiums, I have to admire Devo for making a film of themselves playing their LEAST POPULAR SONGS from 40 years ago. It's a pretty interesting and impressive concept. (Although it is still "kinda art-y.")
You can learn everything you have ever wanted to know about early Devo – before they became, in Colin’s words “just another pop band on MTV playing ‘Workin’ In A Coal Mine’ and wearing red flowerpots on their heads” – at this month’s Reelin’ & Rockin’ at the Gateway presentation of Hard Core Devo Live, this Wednesday, June 17: happy hour at 7 pm, movie to follow at 8 pm. Be there or be a mongoloid. (That is a Devo reference, do not send us PC letters at Pencilstorm.) – Ricki C. / June 13th, 2015
It's not gonna come as a surprise to anybody who reads Pencilstorm that Ricki C. is a grouchy, 62-year old who hates synthesizers (and art) with a passion. That does not mean this Devo movie isn't great. Give it a chance. - Colin G.