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Devo Biography


Home > Music > D > Devo > Biography


Birth Place: Akron, Ohio, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, U.S.A.
Years Active: 1972-1991, 1996-present
Genres: Punk Rock, New Wave, Post-punk, Synthpop, Synthpunk


Devo is an American band formed in 1973 consisting of members from Kent and Akron, Ohio. Their style over time has shifted between punk, art rock, post-punk and New Wave. Their music and stage show mingle kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor and mordantly satirical social commentary. Their often discordant pop songs feature unusual synthetic instrumentation and time signatures that have proven influential on subsequent popular music, particularly New Wave, industrial and alternative rock artists. Devo was also a pioneer of the music video, creating many memorable clips for the Laser Disc format, while getting heavy airplay in the early days of MTV.

Devo currently consists of brothers Mark Mothersbaugh (synthesizers, lead vocals) and Bob Mothersbaugh (guitar and vocals), Gerald Casale (bass guitar, keyboards, Vocals) and Bob Casale (guitar, keyboards, vocals), and Josh Freese (drums).

Before signing a record contract with Warner Bros. in the U.S., the band released several singles on the Stiff Records label that charted in the U.K. but which failed to chart in the U.S. Devo followed up with their debut full-length album “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” in July 1978. The album reached #12 in the U.K. and #78 in the US.

In 1980, Devo released “Freedom of Choice” which went platinum in the U.S. making it their highest selling album. It featured the single, “Whip It,” which was Devo's biggest hit, peaking at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

Their follow-up album, 1981’s “New Traditionalists,” peaked at #23 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart in the U.S. and was their final album to chart in the U.K.

Devo's chart success slowly fell throughout the decade until they released their apparently final studio album, “Smooth Noodle Maps,” in 1990 which failed to chart in either the US or the UK.

In 1996, Devo released a multimedia CD-ROM adventure game, “The Adventures of the Smart Patrol,” through Inscape. Members of Devo also began recording together under different aliases, including the surf rock-influenced The Wipeouters and Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers.

From 1990 through 2009, no new albums under the Devo name were released. However, a new single, “Watch Us Work It,” was released as a digital download in 2007 and as part of a 12” EP in 2008. The band announced that they would be releasing a new studio album in the fall of 2009, though this date was pushed back to 2010. “Something for Everybody” was released in June 2010.