Decades of Devolution: DEVO's Time is Now

Friday, April 22, 2022
SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES - JUNE 29: (L-R) Mark Mothersbaugh, Alan Meyers and Gerald Casale of Devo performing at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco on June 29, 1979. (Photo by Clayton Call/Redferns)

Devo's hits like "Whip It," "Beautiful World," and "That's Good" form the cornerstone of a career that spans more than four decades. But music is only part of Devo's legacy, which also touches on art, television, movies, and more. Today, the group and its members are credited not only for pioneering the music video, but also for using music and performance art as commentary on conformity, emotional repression, and dehumanization.

Devo has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. Fans are encouraged to cast their votes for the band online at

The group is also participating in Record Store Day 2022. Their third studio album, OH, NO! IT’S DEVO (40TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION) will be available as a limited edition (5,600 copies) picture disc at select independent music retailers on April 23 for $24.98. Devo also will play live next month with select dates in Las Vegas, Pasadena, and New York.

Devo took its name from the concept of devolution, the notion that society is regressing rather than evolving. The idea was a reaction to the infamous 1970 shootings at Kent State University, witnessed by the students who would go on to form Devo in 1973. The band’s classic lineup included two sets of brothers, Bob (guitar) and Gerald (bass) Casale, Bob (guitar) and Mark (keyboards) Mothersbaugh, and drummer Alan Myers.

Devo got its start performing around Akron, Ohio. Early support from David Bowie and Iggy Pop helped the band secure a record deal with Warner Bros. Records. Soon after, the group recorded its 1978 debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! with pioneering producer Brian Eno. The group was ahead of its time, and the album was an underground hit though the mainstream music press missed Devo's prescient cultural satire.

A year later, the band returned with Duty Now for the Future before achieving mainstream success with its third album, 1980's Freedom of Choice, which included the platinum-selling hit single, "Whip It." The song's iconic music video became a fixture on MTV and was instrumental in expanding Devo's growing popularity in the '80s. That decade saw the band release more hits ("Beautiful World" and "That's Good") and a string of memorable studio albums: New Traditionalist (1981), Oh No! It’s Devo (1982), Shout! (1984), and Total Devo (1988). After 1990’s Smooth Noodle Maps, the band took an extended break to pursue film and television projects before returning in 2010 with Something for Everybody.

Today, Devo’s innovative music and thought-provoking performances are celebrated for influencing future generations of new wave, industrial, and electronic artists.