Yesterday, the music world lost a good one. Bob Casale, guitarist for Devo, passed away at the age of 62. His brother Gerald, also a member of Devo, posted this on the ClubDevo.com website:
“As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning. He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got. He was excited about the possibility of Mark Mothersbaugh allowing Devo to play shows again. His sudden death from conditions that lead to heart failure came as a total shock to us all.”
While I was not a Devo fanatic, I was definitely a fan. In 1980, Whip It blew my young mind. I had never heard anything like it before. It was the precursor to all the synth heavy new wave I listened to as a teenager.
But my Wayback Wednesday is not Whip It. While good, there are a couple other Devo songs that really take me back to that time.
For a short time in the early 80’s, there was a late night tv show called Fridays (featuring a pre- Seinfeld Michael Richards and Larry David). I LOVED this show and, for some reason, my parents let me stay up late to watch it. Devo performed on the show and I immediately became obsessed with the songs Jerkin’ Back ‘n’ Forth and Through Being Cool. Now, this was before downloadable music and neither song was available as a single in my local record store so I did what I had to do: bought the whole damn album and proceeded to play it over and over again.
New Traditionalists is still my favorite Devo album. I unearthed my record collection recently and discovered that I had one of the original pressings of the album including the poster and a bonus 7” single Working in the Coal Mine. (The song was left off the album and became a minor hit when it was included on a movie soundtrack so the record company included the single with the album. CD/Cassette versions of the album include the song.)
Jerkin’ Back ‘n’ Forth was never released as a single so no real video exists but there is some footage of them singing it on Fridays – I chose a dubbed over video so you could hear the song better. You’ll notice Devo used the treadmill in video way before OK Go ever did! From 1981’s New Traditionalists, this is Jerkin’ Back ‘n’Forth: