Thursday, May 18, 2017

Watch This: DEVO: The Men Who Make The Music


Today, composer/performer/visual artist Mark Mothersbaugh turns 67 years old. It's a good time to reflect on how pervasive his influence has been on the popular arts. His band Devo emerged from small-town Ohio with a fully formed aesthetic that was part cultural critique and part art movement. They were also a really solid rock band. That they were able to reach so many corners of society with a brand of music that is built on a pretend (but maybe not) philosophy of De-Evolution, is maybe even more impressive than the way punk broke out of CBGBs and the London scene, both of which were situated in major media capitals.

Devo always had a strong sense of the importance its film and visual assets. Even if you only know a few Devo songs, you can probably close your eyes and picture the hats and jumpsuits. Appropriately enough, Mothersbaugh has been a sought after film composer as well, writing scores for a large number of films and television shows.

Here is the 1979 Devo propaganda film DEVO: THE MEN WHO MAKE THE MUSIC, co-directed by Mothersbaugh. At the time, this was seriously cutting edge in its influences and angle. To its credit, it is still deeply weird and entertaining.

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