Category: devo

On this day in music history: June 11, 1979 – …

On this day in music history: June 11, 1979 – “Duty Now For The Future”, the second album by Devo is released. Produced by Ken Scott and Devo, it is recorded at Chateau Recorders in Hollywood, CA from September 1978 – Early 1979. Less than a month after their debut album “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” is in stores, Devo quickly begin recording the follow up. The band work with Ken Scott, best known for his work with The Beatles, Pink Floyd and David Bowie. Much of the material on “Duty” has been performed live since 1976, penned mostly by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale (with writing contributions from Bob Casale (aka “Bob 1”) ). The lone cover is of Johnny Rivers’ 60’s classic “Secret Agent Man”, featuring a guitar solo that has been distorted through microphone preamps, then fed into headphones and recorded with a mic taped to them. The album features more of an emphasis on guitars, with the band and Scott employing various techniques to alter their texture and sound. The opening track “Devo Corporate Anthem” is inspired in part by the sci-fi film “Rollerball”. The cover for “Duty Now For The Future” is designed graphic artist Janet Perr (Cyndi Lauper, Run DMC), satirizing the use of UPC codes (Universal Product Code), on the back of album covers. At the time of their inception, many musicians feel they distract from carefully conceived artwork, and stand out like a sore thumb. However, Devo respond by having them positioned all over the front and back of the colorful album cover, reacting to the “Orwellian” look of the UPC symbols. The original covers feature an illustration of the band in the center, that is perforated and can be removed. Issued only ten and a half months after their debut, the initial reaction to “Duty” is largely mixed from both fans and critics. Many feel that it is “transitional” and darker, lacking the same type of humor and tongue in cheek attitude of the first album. Though in time, it is re-evaluated and is regarded as a “seminal new wave synthpop album”, and one of Devo’s best. Other tracks like “The Day My Baby Gave Me A Surprize”, “Pink Pussycat” and “Smart Patrol”/“Mr. DNA” all become part of the band’s classic canon, and are performed live frequently in later years. Largely neglected by Warner Bros. due to its meager original sales, the album isn’t reissued on CD until 1991, with subsequent reissues in 1994 (w/ two bonus tracks), and 2010 (w/ five bonus tracks). Out of print on vinyl since its original release, it is also reissued briefly in 2010, and again in 2019 as part of the limited edition Record Store Day release “This Is The Devo Box”. The latter is pressed on purple vinyl, matching the shade of the LP’s inner sleeve. “Duty Now For The Future” peaks at number seventy three on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: May 16, 1980 – &…

On this day in music history: May 16, 1980 – “Freedom Of Choice”, the third studio album by Devo is released. Produced by Robert Margouleff and Devo, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from October 1979 – January 1980. The pioneering new wave bands third release sees their sound become more keyboard driven, incorporating them into their trademark guitar/bass and drums configuration. For this release, Devo collaborates with producer and musician Robert Margouleff (Stevie Wonder, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band). The unique hybrid results in their most successful album, and is regarded as a landmark album in the new wave genre. It spins off four singles including “Whip It” (#14 Pop, #22 Club Play) and “Girl U Want”. When the album is released, Warner Bros chooses “Girl U Want” as the first single, over the band’s choice of “Whip It”. Though regarded as a classic today (later being covered by Soundgarden, Superchunk and Zombie Ghost Train), the single fails to chart in the US. It’s only after DJ’s in various parts of the country begin playing it off of the album, that “Whip It” is released as a single in August of 1980. Supported a tongue in cheek video (costing only $15,000), is set on a dude ranch and is inspired by an issue of the men’s life style magazine “The Dude”. Though some misconstrue the song as being about sadomasochism or masturbation, it doesn’t stop it from becoming Devo’s biggest hit, and only million selling single.The original twelve track album is remastered and reissued in November of 2009, pairing it with the bands 1981 live EP “DEV-O Live”. A month later, a further expanded edition titled “DEVO-LUX” that includes demo versions of “Gates Of Steel”, “Snowball” and “Time Bomb”, and the bands debut album “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!”. In January of 2016, Rhino Records reissues “Freedom Of Choice” as part of their “Start Your Ear Off Right” series, as a limited edition vinyl LP pressed on red, white and blue multi-colored vinyl, also replicating the original inner sleeve. The vinyl edition is reissued again in April of 2019, for Record Store Day. Pressed on red vinyl, the LP is included in the box set “This Is The Devo Box”. “Freedom Of Choice” peak at number twenty two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 28, 1978 …

On this day in music history: August 28, 1978 – “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!”, the debut album by Devo is released. Produced by Brian Eno, it is recorded at Conny’s Studio in Köln, Germany and Different Fur Studios in San Francisco, CA from October 1977 – February 1978. The groundbreaking first album by the Akron, OH based new wave band quickly establish their unique sound and visual image. The band record the album with producer Brian Eno before they are actually signed to a record label. Their demo tape is heard by David Bowie and Iggy Pop (by way of Tin Huey bassist Michael Aylward’s wife). After seeing Devo perform in New York, an excited Bowie initially plans to produce their album, but scheduling conflicts prevent him from taking more than a minor role in its creation. Working with Bowie during this period, Eno steps in and takes over the main production duties, financing the project himself. The album is anchored by their innovative cover of The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction”, which earn the band a large and loyal fan base. The albums iconic cover art features a caricature of pro golfing legend Chi Chi Rodríguez. In 2009, when “Q: Are We Not Men?” is reissued by Rhino Records (on CD and clear yellow vinyl), Devo performs it live in its entirety when they embark on a tour to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of its release. The CD edition also includes a live performance of the complete album recorded at the HMV Forum in London in May of 2009. “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” peaks at number seventy eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold by in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: May 16, 1980 – &…

On this day in music history: May 16, 1980 – “Freedom Of Choice”, the third studio album by Devo is released. Produced by Robert Margouleff and Devo, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from October 1979 – April 1980. The pioneering new wave bands third release sees their sound become more keyboard driven, incorporating them into their trademark guitar/bass and drums configuration. For this release, Devo collaborates with producer and musician Robert Margouleff (Stevie Wonder, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band). The unique hybrid results in their most successful album, and is regarded as a landmark album in the new wave genre. It spins off four singles including “Whip It” (#14 Pop, #22 Club Play) and “Girl U Want”. The original twelve track album is remastered and reissued in November of 2009, pairing it with the bands 1981 live EP “DEV-O Live”. A month later, a further expanded edition titled “DEVO-LUX” that includes demo versions of “Gates Of Steel”, “Snowball” and “Time Bomb”, and the bands debut album “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!”. In January of 2016, Rhino Records reissues “Freedom Of Choice” as part of their “Start Your Ear Off Right” series, as a limited edition vinyl LP pressed on red, white and blue multi-colored vinyl, also replicating the original inner sleeve. “Freedom Of Choice” peak at number twenty two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.