Please excuse Devo's Gerald Casale if he sounds a little bitter. Actually,
screw that, the guy's got every reason to be a little cranky. Devo have long
been erroneously written off as a joke band that wore funny hats and played
novelty songs, he watched his idea for a movie get rejected for years until the
Hollywood types finally got it and then they turned around and handed it off to
somebody else, white trash racists nearly caused a riot at the band's
triumphant return-to-form show at Lollapalooza last month and he just recently
saw his great idea for a CD-ROM reduced to slick, commercialized dust right
before his very eyes.
It's never been easy being in Devo. In their heyday,
critics accused them of being too cartoonish and more often than not, audiences
wanted the songs, not the philosophy. But Casale says their recent six-date
Lollapalooza stint proved to them that there are still fans out there who
wouldn't mind seeing a return of the flowerpots. "Lollapalooza was a great
self-imposed test to see what would happen if you went out in front of a crowd
that never really saw you or knew your songs--except for 'Whip It'--and didn't
believe in you. What would happen if we just walked out there, naked, without
the production. And we made it work.
Casale says the reaction was for the
most part great, except for the first date in Phoenix, Arizona. "There, it was
more like the old days when Devo was an agitant, or an agit-pop band that
provoked hostility on purpose. There were a lot of hardcore, subhuman white
supremacists in the crowd...
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