Yesterday, Club REVO member JT left a sad comment on this recent posting. Bob Casale, the famous “BOB 2” of seminal New Wave band DEVO, had died suddenly at the age of 61. This comes just eight months on the heels of original drummer Alan Myers’ death from cancer. With Casale, his demise was much more sudden, ultimately as a result of heart failure. Gerald Casale told the L.A. Times that Bob had recently been hospitalized for a stomach ailment only to have his vitals de-stabilize while he was there for testing. According to Gerald, “He was sitting up, talking and the next thing he was in an ER, life-and-death situation. His blood pressure dropped too low and they couldn’t stabilize it in time.”
With his loss, this leaves DEVO with only three of its founding members and I can’t help but think that the balance that came from having two sets of brothers form the core of the band is forever gone. I loved how Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh formed the band with their brothers because mutants have to stick together to make it in this world. The third Mothersbaugh brother Jim was their secret weapon; an electronics expert who ceded the drum seat to Alan Myers in 1976 and remained crucial to their technological edge before joining the Roland team and going on to help develop the MIDI spec.
In the years that the band were on ice, Bob Casale managed to keep busy with Mark Mothersbaugh at his Mutato Musika studios, and he contributed to the soundtracks of all of the studio’s projects with countless ads and TV and movie soundtracks encompassing everything from Pee Wee’s Playhouse to the Wes Anderson canon of films. Bob’s facility with guitars and keyboards gave him a wide tonal range with which to color the final soundtrack scores. Of course, the band returned in 2010 with their latest album “Something For Everybody,” which is still conspicuously absent from my Record Cell, damnit. But they weren’t resting on those laurels, either.
Gerald has revealed that the band were in the planning stages for a series of 40th anniversary concerts to happen this summer, and [yow!] the concerts were to have focused on the 1974-1977 proto Warner Brothers material as heard on the “Hardcore DEVO” albums which were recently re-released on the Superior Viaduct label! Yikes, that makes the loss of Bob2 even sharper. But Gerald offers some hope here that they may soldier on. “We were going to do that, re-creating that feeling of those times and that experimental music. Maybe we can still do that. I think it’s worth thinking about. I would to do it for Bob and to do something to possibly benefit his children.”
So the thought has been floated by Gerald that DEVO may yet continue and undertake a series of 40th Anniversary concerts this summer featuring their earliest music. My advice is to keep a close watch on Club DEVO and act accordingly should it come to pass. I’ve never seen the band and although I’m somewhat ambivalent about seeing 60% of the band live for my first concert*, it trumps zero % by a wide margin, and the thought of the Hardcore DEVO being played live in 2014 is Monk-Bait of the strongest stripe! For now, though, thoughts of condolence go out to his bandmates and his family, including wife Lisa, daughter Samantha, and son Alex during what must be a painful time for all of them.
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* Sad, I know!!!