New Wave Wednesdays: I Rode The New Wave… I Whipped It… But I Never Got The Girl U Want – Devo Always Had Me High In The ’80s

I once saw a great photograph of an astronaut in full NASA gear, and the caption to this particular picture, which I just found out is attributed to the great Stephen Colbert is:

“Twenty-two astronauts were born in Ohio. What is it about your state 
that makes people want to flee the Earth?”

Aside from some nail-biting in the last few elections, Ohio has given us some pretty good stuff.  I hear that Cleveland Stadium Mustard is killer and always on the best mustards lists.  Yes, there are those lists and yes, I am still trying to get some.  The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is on my Must See List, of course.  And Ohio has birthed some damn good music

Before The Black Keys, Akron, Ohio in particular, gave us some other musicians and bands, like David Allan Coe, Joe Walsh and the James Gang and Devo.

Ahhh, Devo.  I still want one of those damn red hats!  Okay, okay… I’ll take a yellow jacket, too.


I love going back and re-exploring bands, as I am obviously at a different stage and place in life.  It’s remarkable and eye-opening.  The pleasure rushes back, of course, but something even deeper happens… I come to a more complete understanding of the music and what it actually meant to me.

Devo – Freedom Of Choice


One of the first bands I remember seeing on MTV.  A vital part of my life’s soundtrack.  I mean come on, Freedom Of Choice was a pivotal record for me, and if making out to Meat Loaf was the evening’s late night feature, this record and say The B-52s was the party before that, and thus my ‘80s foreplay.

Yes, I used that last paragraph in an earlier blog, but I liked it and I am recycling.  Just think of me as a green, eco-friendly wordsmith.  And it’s not plagiarism if you quote yourself, right?  Just vain… I’m not Rand Paul”ing” it… Though when you hear him explain it, it does make you think.  Anyway… I can always sue myself.

PS and by the way… and for the record, I am still waiting to visit Mark Mothersbaugh in the studio… so if you are reading this, Mark.  Call me!

There are certain songs… certain sounds that define a generation… and more specifically inform who you are and what your tastes are, musically speaking.  I am a nice even split between Classic Rock… Bruce, The Who, The Stones, U2, Cheap Trick… and ’80s New Wave… The Cars, Blondie, Squeeze (though more rock/pop), The B-52s and Devo.  The song “Whip It” will always help define the ’80s for me.  It is simply that iconic.

And what is it about sets of brothers in the ’80s???  This band… The Long Riders, anyone?

So I’m listening to this album and going back to Hardcore, Volumes 1 and 2, courtesy of my friend Justin’s reminder…

Fun stuff, on its own… and then you start to really grasp more fully, and gain a better understanding of the conceptual nature of the band and the music becomes even more interesting and potent.

It’s not just music, but art… not just a bunch of sounds and lyrics, but a true attempt to look at the world and comprehend it… make your way through it… and yes, don’t get me wrong… it is some really fun music.

Allow me to attribute the following to Wikipedia.  See I credit!

“One of new wave’s most innovative and (for a time) successful bands, Devo was also perhaps one of its most misunderstood. Formed in Akron, OH, in 1972 by Kent State art students Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo took its name from their concept of “de-evolution” — the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society. Their music echoed this view of society as rigid, repressive, and mechanical, with appropriate touches — jerky, robotic rhythms; an obsession with technology and electronics (the group was among the first non-prog rock bands to make the synthesizer a core element); often atonal melodies and chord progressions — all of which were filtered through the perspectives of geeky misfits. Devo became a cult sensation, helped in part by their concurrent emphasis on highly stylized visuals, and briefly broke through to the mainstream with the smash single “Whip It,” whose accompanying video was made a staple by the fledgling MTV network.”

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

Just love this graphic!  It symbolizes a lot about the band for me… Again the idea of looking at something in a different way… of pushing against the “normal” and “usual” definitions of things, like what makes a man…

Devo challenges us in a way that also gets us moving and rocking… and isn’t that the point of Rock n’ Roll… of music in general?  Move a limb, move your whole body, move your heart, move your mind, move to action.

Just move!  Doesn’t matter how, as long as it’s towards something good… something positive.  Don’t retreat, move forward.  And always… always ROCK!


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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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