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.

1 comment:

  1. I was fortunate enough to see DEVO in their prime. It was at HammerJacks in Baltimore long before they leveled it to make way the Baltimore Ravens Stadium. In the early eighties. Absolutely one was the best concerts I've witnessed. These guys know how to rock. The venue was very intimate. At times we were up by the stage getting sprayed by Devo Sweat! They were much more animated and physical than this early concert (which is quite good). You have to see them live to really appreciate the legend of DEVO. Happy Birthday Mark. RIP Bob and Alan.