photo by nacrowe
gonna just state the obvious. im a huge DEVO fan.
this photo was taken at MUTATO MUZIKA in los angeles by my god mother who works in the music and film industries. at the time MARK MOTHERSBAUGH was working on the score to WES ANDERSON's then in post production film LIFE AQUATIC.
thing i always appreciated about DEVO, much like other bands i adore like THE SMITHS or THE CURE, is their ability to lyrically and sonically represent a comprehensive vision. there is a whole lexicon of internal references and a cohesive worldview regarding consumer culture, masculinity and sexual politics that is embedded in their music.
as outsiders from akron, ohio, in the wake of the 60s protest movements, DEVO have developed a mistrust and skepticism towards nexuses of power (financial, political, commercial, social, etc.) which they often parody in their music and visual content. i would argue that the locus of their ire is not necessarily structures themselves but rather the empty sentiments and thought processes that make such things possible. by this i mean they are continually going after jingoist patriotism and toxic masculinity.
now its one thing to have a strident political or cultural bent in your music, but often-times the music is not the equivalent of the lyrical content (cough, cough, THE CLASH). when i think of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, their aggressive reinvention of the electric guitar more than enhances their revolutionary lyrics. same with DEVO.
albeit their electronic-based experiments were initiated by the likes of KRAUTROCK bands like KRAFTWERK or NEU!, who i love and respect, their music is by design devoid of personality. DEVO was a bit of a sonic hybrid that used its unique sonic vantage point to draw attention and mock american society.
the most ingenious aspect of DEVO was their utter infiltration of american consumer society as their music has been licensed repeatedly for consumer product promotions and frontman MARK MOTHERSBAUGH has made a career writing theme songs for TV (PEE-WEE's PLAYHOUSE, RUGRATS) and scoring feature films (RUSHMORE, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, BOTTLE ROCKET). in essence they went from critiquing american consumer culture to becoming it.