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DEVO: The Post-Modern Band

Sporting an original tongue-in-cheek world view proclaiming man to be in a state of genetic and cultural "de-evolution," Devo made the unlikely step from novelty act to real contender —an ironic new wave version of Kiss, whose marketing was as important as its music. The group exploited film and video from the beginning of its career, yet was never sufficiently pop-oriented to earn much play on MTV. Indeed, when Devo proved unable to follow up its one big hit, 1980's "Whip It," the group faded from view, and its smart-alecky view of America as a happy-faced toxic-waste dump eventually found expression in the (dysfunctional) sitcom world of The Simpsons. The details of the members' pre-Devo existence were intentionally obscured as part of their automatonlike image. (They always performed in uniform, favoring futuristic yet sturdy ensembles that featured yellow reactor-attendant suits, overturned red flowerpots for hats, and roller-derby style protective gear.) Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale met while studying art at Kent State University. Neither was musical, so to build their band, the two recruited their "Bob I" and "Bob II" brothers and drummer Alan Myers and produced a 10-minute video clip entitled The Truth About De-Evolution, which won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1975. They followed up with club dates.
Devo's cutting-edge status was confirmed when David Bowie introduced the band at its New York debut, at Max's Kansas City. In early 1978 its second single, a syncopated version of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," increased the band's growing cult and garnered the group a record deal with Warner Bros. Freedom of Choice provided Devo's 1980 commercial breakthrough by eventually going platinum with the million-selling single, "Whip It." The group also changed its identity: Clad in leisure suits and crooning born-again lounge music, Devo occasionally opened its own concerts disguised as Dove, the Band of Love. bob casale (from their bio in Rolling Stone)