Alan Myers: 19??-2013

Alan Myers as seen in recent years

Alan Myers as seen in recent years

Original DEVO drummer Alan Myers died two days ago after being stricken with cancer. I find it amazing that in this modern-a-go-go world that the exact nature of the affliction or even his age is not publicly known, but these are mere details. What is important is that he was the engine that propelled DEVO during their glory years. It can be argued that it all went pear-shaped for the band once his twitchy rhythms were replaced with the 4/4 tyranny of Fairlights® and drum machines sucked the swing out of the spud-boys. How many other Americans can you name that were delving into Krautrock rhythms like he was in the late 70s? Klaus Dinger would have been proud of the streamlined Apache rhythms as evidenced on their top-selling “Freedom Of Choice” album. They were possibly the only band on these shores that was delving into the motorik mindset that early.

His penchant for berserk time signatures all but made the band from their point of inception. Without his rhythms, their transgressive cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” would have never been possible. But a drummer needs to know the rules before he can break them. He had the nickname “The Human Metronome” because the early days of the band were thrilling as the Akron dwelling spuds attempted to become machines with primitive, homegrown technology. The group’s salad days were when they played gear specially modified by Jim Mothersbaugh, the band’s tech genius who later worked at Roland and helped develop the MIDI spec. With Myers on the drum seat, using primitive, modified Syndrums, the group were at their most alien.

By the last album with Myers, he’d been supplanted with technology and as a consequence, the band’s sound became rigid and bland. One gets the idea that the group’s brain trust were actually shooting for that outcome, though. Today, Gerald Casale tweeted regrets over how and why Myers left the band and that 20/20 hindsight must sting a little. So let’s remember Alan Myers and dug out your copy of “DEVO Live” and give it a spin.

-30-

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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5 Responses to Alan Myers: 19??-2013

  1. Taffy says:

    Agreed – Myers played on all the good stuff. Sad news indeed. BTW, according to rollingstone.com, he was 58 and succumbed to brain cancer.

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  2. chas_m says:

    Only 58! It’s shocking and sad. Yeah, he left after the band moved to LA — NUFF SAID.

    I have only recently brought “The Complete Truth and De-Evolution” into my Penthouse Cell and will give it a play in his honour. I’m glad the band has regained its mojo in recent years, but yeah I think they didn’t know what a gift they had there until it was gone.

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  3. Echorich says:

    Sad news, brings mortality a bit closer when the bands you loved have members who have left this mortal coil. I thoroughly agree that it was Myers Motorik almost martial drumming that propelled early DEVO to some dizzy heights. The rhythm section is what it’s all about on Freedom Of Choice! Triumph Of Will on Duty Now For The Future might have well have been recorded by Neu! The drums are so Germanic!! And the utterly Punk artilery attack of drums on Clockout are just joyful!!

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  4. jsd says:

    the world is a little less brilliant today.

    Like

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