This Day in Death

2.17.14: Devo’s Bob Casale – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:00 am February 19, 2014

BOB_CASALEMark Mothersbaugh removes his energy dome for two and only two reasons: the playing of the national anthem and weekly fungal scalp infection treatments. Those domes are filthy.


One of the Devo dudes is dead, which is a surprisingly fun-sounding way to deliver sad news. I’ve really been looking for silver linings lately. Huh. I guess all those Tony Robbins seminars are finally starting to sink in.

Bob Casale played rhythm guitar and/or keyboards on every Devo record in the band’s history. He appeared on such monster hits as Whip It and That Other One, I Think They Used it in a Commercial or Something, You’d Know it if You Heard It. For my money, it’s just not a real all-ages dance party in my aunt’s basement until she cranks that one up.

The original members of Devo grew up in Akron, Ohio, and were inspired form a band after personally witnessing the Kent State massacre in 1970. “We came of age in the middle of a huge cultural war. This country was basically in the midst of a new civil war — the lines were drawn very clearly,” Bob Casale said in a 2012 interview with Under the Radar. “[We formed the band because] it was a more immediate way of self-expression that required less money and no outside permission. You try to make a film and you have to come up with the money, you need a big crew, you need to ask people for favors and get permission. If you have an idea for a song you can pretty much go into your basement with your band mates and do it.”

Devo’s name comes from a joke that band members Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis developed in art school, asserting that humanity is evolving backwards, or “devolving.” However, since the concept of evolution refers to any and all biological adaptation, and therefore has nothing to do with how intelligent a given species is, the term “devolution” is practically meaningless and borderline nonsensical. Ironically, in telling us how stupid we were becoming, Devo was actually building their image around an entirely accidental misunderstanding of a basic scientific premise. You could try to claim the band knew all this and was just being hyperaware, but I’m chalking it up to the kind of uninformed intellectual flailing that’s launched a thousand grammatically-mangled Facebook reposts. And that’s why, when someone with an art degree tells you that they “wanna open your eyes about some things going on in the world lately,” you just tell them to get back to painting your shed. The sun’s going down and you’re not dragging a lamp out there.

Source: Rolling Stone

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