Via Tengrain, I learned of the death of Devo guitarist Bob Casale. Bob, the brother of Devo co-founder Jerry Casale, was dubbed Bob #2 to distinguish him from Bob Mothersbaugh, brother of Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh. About two-and-a-half years ago, I wrote a sprawling, two-part post about Devo... you can tell that I've long been a fan. Devo was always more than just a band- they could best be described as a performance art group. They were formed in the wake of the Kent University shootings, when it truly seemed as if "de-evolution" were at work in our society.
By the time Devo scored a mainstream hit with Whip It, they were largely characterized as a "synth band", but their early recordings were guitar driven subversions of roots rock. I figure the best way to memorialize Signore Casale is to highlight some of his outstanding playing.
Here's an early demo version of Freedom of the Choice, a song which, in radically different form, was the title track of their breakthrough album:
Here's a live version of Smart Patrol/Mr DNA, preceded by a recitation of Devo's "position statement", cribbed from a creationist pamphlet titled Jocko Homo Heavenbound:
I think Devo's best full-on guitar attack is perhaps my favorite Devo song, the goosebump-raising Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy, paired here with Mongoloid, another Bastard favorite:
Rest in peace, Bob #2, and thanks for decades of quality, thought-provoking, ass-shaking inducing music!