See Devo Perform Live for the Very First Time (Kent State University, 1973)


Kent State University is referred to as the web site of 2 vital occasions in American tradition: the massacre of May 4, 1970, and the formation of Devo. When the National Guard shot 13 scholars at a Vietnam War protest, it signaled to many the finish of the youth-driven optimism of the overdue 1960s. It additionally motivated a bunch of musically prone undergraduates to consolidate the band/conceptual artwork venture they’d premised on the idea of “de-evolution.” Around that point, the workforce’s founders, artwork scholars Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis, met a keyboardist named Mark Mothersbaugh, who contributed a few of the signature musical and comedic sensibilities of what would turn into Devo.

“The band, or no less than a band referred to as Sextet Devo, first carried out at a 1973 arts competition in Kent,” writes Calvin C. Rydbom in The Akron Sound: The Heyday of the Midwest’s Punk Capital. Filling out that sextet had been Casale’s brother Bob, drummer Rod Reisman, and vocalist Fred Weber. A handout for the show guarantees a sequence of “polyrhythmic workout routines in de-evolution,” together with a host referred to as “Private Secretary,” footage of which appears above.

“The workforce had been all dressed oddly, Bob in scrubs, Jerry in a butcher’s coat, Bob Lewis at the back of the keyboards in a monkey masks, and Mark in a health care provider’s gown,” writes George Gimarc in Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter’s Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982. “The target market used to be, from time to time, at a loss for words, amused, and a few even danced.”

Sextet Devo “would were off the charts in maximum environments,” says Myopia, a retrospective quantity on Mothersbaugh’s paintings. At the Kent Creative Arts Festival “the band if truth be told have compatibility inside the spectrum of standard habits, albeit at the a long way finish of the scale.” But even their maximum appreciative audience couldn’t have identified how a long way the idea of de-evolution needed to pass, to mention not anything of the pop-cultural heights to which the oddballs onstage would lift it. Just 5 years later, Devo would make their national-television debut as a quintet on Saturday Night Live, “de-evolving” the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” But they didn’t overlook the place they’d come from: just about thirty years after their first display, they got here again round to 1970 for a de-evolution of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Ohio.”

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The Philosophy & Music of Devo, the Avant-Garde Art Project Dedicated to Revealing the Truth About De-Evolution

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and pronounces on towns, language, and tradition. His initiatives come with the Substack publication Books on Cities, the guide The Stateless City: a Walk thru 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.



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