Sunday, 23 February 2014
Vale Bob Casale of Devo
I have to say up front I've never been a fan of Devo. I put this down to two things: my own ignorance, and the failure of radio to adequately play a wide enough selection of their tunes. Outside of "Beautiful World" and the song that is generally the go-to Devo track for most stations, "Whip It", I rarely heard anything by them. It's a shame on both accounts, because even though both of the aforementioned tunes are largely unremarkable, digging deeper into their catalog reveals some excellent music.
So, as it happens, guitarist Bob Casale, aka Bob2, from Devo passed away this week, age 61 of heart failure. This leaves me in an unfortunate position - having to remember his contribution to popular music, and yet knowing next to nothing about him or the band he was part of.
Devo's career in the late 70s and early 80s was fairly unremarkable. Inasmuch as they had hit singles and albums as did the touring treadmill like any other band of the day. However, the reason the band formed in the first place is what is truly fascinating.
Lead singer Gerard Casale, Bob's big brother, was a self described hippie until he personally witnessed the Kent State shootings of 1970. He knew two of the victims of the shootings as well. He then started to entertain the thought that mankind had in fact ceased to evolve, and rather had started to de-evolve as a result. This idea became the catalyst for the ideas of the band Devo.
Bob Casale was also a medical radiation technologist, and also played keyboards and guitar for Devo. He produced and engineered all of the band's albums since 1984.
As mentioned before, there are plenty of great tunes to get into by Devo. Starting with "Freedom of Choice", the best of Devo is a great place to get acquainted with the works of the band. It is posted below.
Vale Bob2. R.I.P.