Saturday, March 7, 2009
SXSW Spotlight: Devo
How can this NOT be on the list? I still remember watching Devo videos on the old Night Flight program on USA, and being freaked out by that big baby with the plastic head, in the playpen. Brrrr. These guys have been around since 1974, 35 years, and they are not a band that comes to your town every year or two. Oh, sure, maybe Coachella, or All Tomorrow's Parties in England, but I don't see St Louis anywhere on their live dates.
Here's what their official site says they've been up to the past few years/decade:
Around this time, Devo's members began to concentrate on other projects. Mark Mothersbaugh moved into composing for commercials and soundtracks, writing theme music for MTV's Liquid Television, Nickelodeon's Rugrats, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and the Jonathan Winters sitcom Davis Rules. He also played keyboards with the Rolling Stones, programmed synthesizers for Sheena Easton, and sang backup with Debbie Harry. Buoyed by this success, Mothersbaugh opened a profitable production company called Mutato Muzika, which employed his fellow Devo bandmates. Gerald Casale, meanwhile, who directed most of the band's videos, directed video clips for the Foo Fighters' "I'll Stick Around" and Soundgarden's "Blow Up the Outside World” among 80 video's in all before moving on to a successful commercial career in 1997.
As Devo's legend grew and other bands acknowledged their influence (Nirvana covered "Turnaround," while "Girl U Want" has been recorded by Soundgarden, Superchunk, and even Robert Palmer), their minimalistic electro-pop was finally given new exposure on four dates of the 1996 Lollapalooza tour, and six dates on the 1997 Lollapalooza tour, both to enthusiastic fan response. That lead to annual touring and other conceptual projects such as a CD-ROM game (The Adventures of the Smart Patrol) and accompanying music soundtrack. 2000 saw the release of a pair of double-disc Devo anthologies: the first was the half-hits/half-rarities Pioneers Who Got Scalped: The Anthology (on Rhino), while the second was the limited-edition mail-order release Recombo DNA (on Rhino's Handmade label), the latter of which was comprised solely of previously unreleased demos.
Today, DEVO COMMUNICATIONS (DEVOCOM), is the umbrella under which Mark and Gerald return to their most conceptual roots as a virtual agency hatching ideas and projects from the ground up demonstrating a devolved slant on contemporary product branding.
Star Clipper and the Atomic Cowboy have both hosted art shows by Mark Mothersbaugh over the past few years in in St Louis, also.
Here is the info for SXSW:
Friday, March 20 12:00 a.m.
Austin Music Hall (208 Nueces St)