Bob Casale 1952-2014
We hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but that’s the only way to describe this information: Bob Casale, founding member of Devo, has died.
Earlier this morning, Bob’s brother – fellow Devo founder Gerald Casale – confirmed the news on the band’s official Facebook page:
“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.”
Bob Casale was part of the first official Devo performance – then known as the Sextet Devo – at the 1973 Kent State performing arts festival, along with his brother Gerald, Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Lewis, Rod Reisman, and Fred Weber. (A portion of the performance can be found on the band’s video collection, The Complete Truth about De-Evolution. Bob’s the one in scrubs.) Although Bob wasn’t a regular member of the band during its early years, he joined the line-up on a permanent basis prior to the band’s debut album – 1978’s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! – and remained a constant within the line-up all the way up through their most recent release, 2010’s Something for Everybody, including their most successful chart hit, “Whip It,” from 1980’s Freedom of Choice.
In 2012, Casale reflected on his work with Devo with the New Zealand website Under The Radar, saying, “We took people out of their daily lives, we tried to lift them up out of the grime and the grunge of their daily existence and give them an alternative – to turn them on in a number of ways, to remove them from the menial, petty things they had to deal with everyday.”
Take a listen to our playlist of some of Devo’s finest work. We think you’ll agree with us that he and his bandmates succeeded in spades.