A Young Person’s Guide To: Devo Live

Warner Bros. Records | US promo LP | 1980 | WBMS 115

Warner Bros. Records | US promo LP | 1980 | WBMS 115

Devo: The Warner Bros. Music Show US Promo LP [1980]

  1. Whip It
  2. Snowball
  3. It’s Not Right
  4. Girl U Want
  5. Planet Earth
  6. S.I.B. (Swelling Itching Brain)
  7. Secret Agent Man
  8. Blockhead
  9. Uncontrollable Urge
  10. Mongoloid
  11. Be Stiff
  12. Gates Of Steel
  13. Smart Parol / Mr. DNA
  14. Gut Feeling (Slap Your Mommy)
  15. Come Back Jonee

The “DEVO Live” saga began here at the point of this Warner Bros. promo only album featuring almost an hour of DEVO captured on their then current “Freedom Of Choice” tour. Like any syndicated radio program from the dawn of the 80s, this record is incredibly difficult to come by. I’ve never seen a copy and furthermore, it’s a bit groove crammed with almost an hour of program with scant minutes available for ads and station breaks. There may be as few as 500 copies of this floating around, so spuds could hardly be faulted for not having a copy in their archives. 

Warner Bros. Records | US | EP | MINI 3548

Warner Bros. Records | US | EP | MINI 3548

DEVO: Live US EP [1981]

  1. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song
  2. Whip It
  3. Girl U Want
  4. Gates Of Steel
  5. Be Stiff
  6. Planet Earth

I remember being a little floored by the appearance of this on the racks by the late spring of 1981. It rendered down the Warner Bros. show into a six cut EP largely programmed from “Freedom Of Choice” with the old rarity “Be Stiff” given its only US airing in this form [at that time]. The “Freedom Of Choice Theme Song” is an instrumental overture that opened their gigs, and was surprisingly absent from the promo LP concert for radio use. The most striking thing about this was its packaging. The record was held in a clear PCV sleeve with a cardboard insert in front with the LP art and liner notes! I had never seen anything like this walk down the pike in the US and at first glance, I mistook this for an import album. Pretty exotic for Warner Bros. but they had a left field band with a surprise hit [“Whip It,” in case you’ve forgotten] so they worked that action like the pros they were [and probably charged the packaging against the band’s royalty rate]!

Warner-Pioneer | JPN | CD | 1991 | WPCP-4172

Warner-Pioneer | JPN | CD | 1991 | WPCP-4172

DEVO: Live JPN CD [1991]

  1. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song
  2. Whip It
  3. Girl U Want
  4. Gates Of Steel
  5. Be Stiff
  6. Planet Earth

The eighties came and went without the program making the leap to digital. Leave it to the band’s Japanese label to make the first move. Warner-Pioneer issued the straight CD in 1991 with no added bells and whistles. Unless you count the traditionally amusing English transliteration of the lyrics included in most Japanese releases. This one didn’t sit on my racks either. I missed seeing this in the eyeball straining ads I was perusing in Goldmine Magazine at the time. Nor did it populate the racks at the various record shows I was attending, but had I seen it, I’m sure I would have snapped it up.

Virgin | UK | CD | 1993 | CDV 2106

Virgin | UK | CD | 1993 | CDV 2106

DEVO: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO/DEVO Live UK CD [1993]

  1. Uncontrollable Urge
  2. Satisfaction
  3. Praying Hands
  4. Space Junk
  5. Mongoloid
  6. Jocko Homo
  7. Too Much Paranoias
  8. Gut Feeling
  9. (Slap Your Mammy)
  10. Come Back Jonee
  11. Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin’)
  12. Shrivel Up
  13. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song (Live)
  14. Whip It (Live)
  15. Girl U Want (Live)
  16. Gates Of Steel (Live)
  17. Be Stiff (Live)
  18. Planet Earth (Live)
  19. Social Fools
  20. Penetration In The Centrefold
  21. Soo Bawlz

I was at a record show when I did run across this little gem. Thanks to the band’s UK label, Virgin records for putting out six of the groups releases on CD format as two-fers that were packed with bonus tracks besides! Sure, the usual “two albums/one disc” cover art was as graceless at it always was, but these issues were my digital DEVO that finally happened years after US Warner had grudgingly issued only albums number one and three on the mirrored discs. The B-side material from the UK Virgin archives was all new to my Record Cell, though I remember hearing “Soo Bawlz” on the Doctor Demento show, of all places. He had the class to have the band as guests when flogging their second album as I recall.

Rhino Handmade | US \ CD | 1999 | RHM2

Rhino Handmade | US \ CD | 1999 | RHM2

DEVO: Live US DLX RM [1999]

  1. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song
  2. Whip It
  3. Girl U Want
  4. Gates Of Steel
  5. Be Stiff
  6. Planet Earth
  7. Bonus Tracks
  8. Freedom Of Choice Theme Song
  9. Whip It
  10. Snowball
  11. It’s Not Right
  12. Girl U Want
  13. Planet Earth
  14. S.I.B.
  15. Secret Agent Man
  16. Blockhead
  17. Uncontrollable Urge
  18. Mongoloid
  19. Be Stiff
  20. Gates Of Steel
  21. Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
  22. Gut Feeling
  23. Come Back Jonee

devo---liverhinohandmadeCDBThe title remained in this form until in 1999, when Rhino Handmade, a label the specialized in short run, low-demand, long-tail releases gave the world the expanded CD version of this album in an edition of 3000 copies. Perversely enough, the CD began with the commercial EP program of six tracks and continued afterward with the [almost] full concert. Never mind that some songs appeared twice in the program! Most importantly, the original packaging of the US EP was replicated for maximum DEVO mojo! The clear PCV sleeve + cardboard insert lived anew. The Rhino handmade store appears to have gone the way of the dodo, but copies still exist in the world that are still affordable. One of these days, [sooner then later] I need to have one of these in the Record Cell.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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3 Responses to A Young Person’s Guide To: Devo Live

  1. chas_m says:

    Since I’m (broadly speaking) not a big fan of live albums, I mostly skipped these offerings (though at one time I had the original vinyl “Devo Live” and later on got the two-fer disc you refer to above). I find it somewhat ridiculous that in the Great Digital Age someone hasn’t re-edited all the existing material from that original WB concert into one complete, unduplicated, linear recording, but I’ll add the DLX version to my want list, since DEVO are one of the few bands I’ve seen live multiple times who have never disappointed and offer an excellent program of hits and misses at nearly every show. I most recently saw them together with Blondie, and while both groups were great to see there was no contest on the relative energy levels.


  2. ronkanefiles says:

    I have the 15-track original Warners promo LP, if you want a dub!


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