SPUD ALERT! DEVO Farewell Tour Seems To Be Starting At Desert Daze 2019

DEVO @ Burger Boogaloo 2018 ©2018 Mike Wasco

A few days ago I received one of the intermittent emails I get from the DEVO mailing list every now and then. It touted DEVO‘s only appearance this year at an upcoming festival called Desert Daze happening in Southern California. Curious, I clicked on the link in the email to see the home page.

There it was – as bold as life

I blanched at the fine print under DEVO‘s name…farewell tour!! Well, I can’t say that I had not been warned of this event. They’ve been around for almost 50 years. Mark Mothersbaugh has been a busy soundtrack artist for almost 35 years now. His artwork takes up a lot of time, I’m sure. In spite of Gerry Casale being ready to tour at the drop of a hat, Mr. Mothersbaugh needs space in his schedule for events like touring. When I saw him give a panel discussion last year at Western Carolina University, he floated the idea of one big last “stick-a-fork-in-it” tour by DEVO one of these days, and sooner than later. That day has apparently come.

I first heard DEVO in 1978. I have had three four possible chances to see them live. In July 30, 1980 they played at the Great Southern Music Hall. A venue immortalized as the site where Pat Traver’s “Boom Boom – Out Go The Lights” was recorded live just a year or so earlier. I was not driving nor were my friends. So none of us saw the “Freedom Of Choice” tour! On November 25, 1988, they played a “Total DEVO” tourdate at Visage nightclub. I didn’t go because I was a jerk! I figured by that time that I’d missed them at their peak… why bother now? Which was a really immature attitude to have at 25 years of age. The stinging irony was that a year later I got that album and enjoyed it a lot! By the time I was 30, I never thought that way again. Live gives you chances – you take them. Just now, I was looking on setlist.fm to get these show dates and I discovered that there was a third Orlando date at Pleasure Island [Disney] for New Year’s Eve 1990, so that makes all the sense in the world why I didn’t go to that! There was no way I’d ever attend such an event. Even for that band. I didn’t even bother to remember that in passing! And the final chance was at the 2010 Moogfest held in my current city. I wrestled with the idea of buying a ticket just to see them before Bob 1 hurt his thumb badly a day or so before their scheduled concert. Rendering moot the notion.

So the Desert Daze show will kick off a farewell tour. I’m guessing the full tour will start in 2020 and we’ll find out more about it eventually. I will do whatever it takes to finally see DEVO live. And report back with my findings. They have remained one of the prime movers in my musical universe and yet in spite of their intermittent activities in the last 25 years, I’ve not had the pleasure. This must change.

– 30 –

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13 Responses to SPUD ALERT! DEVO Farewell Tour Seems To Be Starting At Desert Daze 2019

  1. diskojoe says:

    How far away was that Great Southern Music Hall from your house? There wasn’t anything called “public transportation” where you’re from? Me & my friend John, neither one of us a driver then, took either commuter rail or the T bus to Boston to see DEVO in ’79 & ’80.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      diskojoe – Eight miles from where I lived to downtown Orlando. But that was worlds away at that age. I only saw that part of town when my family was driving north for “the vacation.” It was a [very] small world to me back then. Orlando had no viable public transportation. Some BIG cities in Florida took over a decade longer to make any inroads there. My family could not afford taxis. And I certainly didn’t have any money for that then. In short, my existence was completely suburban.


  2. tim says:

    They are the only act on that ticket that I would want to see.
    Flaming Lips……(shudders)
    If there is a hell the line to get in listens to them with special guest vocalist Yoko Ono.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      tim – Don’t hold back, man! Say what you really think! The Flaming Lips were a big thing at one of the first Moogfests held in Asheville [coincidentally, the same year that DEVO were supposed to play, I think] and you know, “The Flaming Lips” has only been a name to me. I have never heard the band. I suppose that everything these days [i.e., the last 35 years] stinks so I don’t bother with it. My attitude? I’m probably not missing anything.


  3. tim says:

    Love the DEVO photo, by the way. Any chance of a review of that covfefe table book of theirs that you bought? I normally wouldn’t buy that sort of thing and I really wanted to but had certain cash-flow issues when it came out. Is it still available for purchase? I am a bit more flush now. Is it worth it?


  4. Mathmandan says:

    Well for what it’s worth, Rolling Stone has an article on this where they say that Devo is denying the farewell tour label. An amusing quote contained therein: “#1 If we were going to do a farewell tour we would not call it a farewell tour,” Devo bassist Jerry Casale emailed in a statement to Rolling Stone.


  5. SimonH says:

    Saw them in the UK must be over ten years ago now, what can I say, amazing. It was one of those gigs that is pretty much thrilling from start to finish. Great as well to see people in their teens as excited as me!
    Don’t worry I made the same kind of arbitrary decisions about seeing certain bands on quite a few occasions! For a while I was against seeing bands that reformed, something that soon fell by the wayside thankfully.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – Here’s another instance. In 1982 I had no interest in Adam Ant’s Prince Charming tour. I pretty much wrote Adam Ant off after that, since I’d been won over by “Kings Of The Wild Frontier.” I thought that was a terrible record. I still do. But when Adam Ant did a club tour of America in 1993, I went. Good thing too, since it was FANTASTIC. Marco was still with him on guitar and the material and immediacy of it was top drawer. Hopefully, I will get the chance to see DEVO, but now since the band are refuting the Desert Daze promotional materials, they may not be doing a farewell tour. So that means that I probably won’t get a chance to see them. They stick to the West coast for their sporadic gigs. They have not toured since 2014 and the Hardcore DEVO tour was their biggest tour in ages. but it still didn’t come within 500 miles of me. I figure that only when they really are doing a farewell tour might they play in the Southeast where I live.


  6. Duncan Watson says:

    Very few things make me raised my eyebrows in surprise. The revelation that you have still never seen DEVO live was one of them. However, I sympathise with a travelling restriction plight and the other hesitations in your early years.
    While I was still at school, way back in 1980, I expressed a burning desire to go see DEVO play in Glasgow at the legendary Apollo (https://www.songkick.com/concerts/467779-devo-at-glasgow-apollo) and was talking this over with my best friend. He declared that it would really not be a good idea to go there because “you will get your head kicked in” which was scary enough to put me off. In retrospect he might have been right, but surely it would have been worth it to see DEVO live in 1980, no? The fact that I had no transport to get there or back again never entered my head.
    Fast forward 27 years and DEVO toured the UK in an I-thought-that-would-never-happen way. Happily, they returned to Glasgow in June and played to a completely sold out crowd of totally overjoyed spuds. It surpassed all my expectations and the crowd were still baying for another encore long after the house lights went up and we were being shovelled out of the exit doors.
    My second and so far last time of seeing DEVO live was while on holiday in the land of the freedom of choice as they were touring the USA with Blondie in 2012. They played at a food festival in Newport Beach, CA and I had VIP tickets costing well over $100 which amounted to being in the first 10 rows. Blondie played first and then DEVO came on and put on a superb show, up close and personal. The audio was released on a live double CD (https://www.discogs.com/Devo-Devo-Battles-Live-2012-Tour-Taste-of-Newport-Newport-Beach-CA-Sep-15-2012/release/6740787) and is one of the rare times that a gig I have attended makes it onto silver disc.
    So, I have seen DEVO live twice. I am not exactly sure if I will ever see them live again. If the chance arises, I will go. They are as much fun live as you can ever imagine.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Duncan Watson – I think if DEVO had not issued the “Shout” album in 1984, where they seemed to have lost all of the wind in their sails, I probably would have gone to see them in 1988. I bought every album of theirs up to “On No! It’s DEVO!” That one seemed to be treading water, though I like it well enough. When “Shout” came out I only saw the brain-melting video for “R.U. Experienced?” but the scant bits I heard of the rest were not inspiring. I did not buy “Shout” until maybe 20 years after it came out. I saw the Infinite Zero reissue used and I snatched up all of those that I ran into. Even now I can look at that CD online and only remember “Puppet Boy” and the Hendrix cover. That album gave me pause when “Total DEVO” came out. I only bought a copy of TD used some time after the tour ran through town to my disinterest. Imagine my surprise when I liked it about as much as “New Traditionalists.” My go-to 2nd tier DEVO album. Oops! I cannot stress how important DEVO [and TVLKINGHEVDS] were to my burgeoning New Wave consciousness in 1978. It’s a sick, sad thing that I still am waiting for my first concert by them.


  7. Oooh, apparently I get to brag! I’ve seen DEVO quite a few times, including the Visage Show and Pleasure Island show mentioned. The PI one was not as good, but only because of the insufferably out-of-touch crowd full of parrotheads and other such riff-raff. I saw the Woodinville opening night of the tour with Blondie in September 2012 (really? That long ago?) and the Hardcore Tour in Vancouver in June of 2014 (really? That long ago?), but of course haven’t seen ’em since.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – What??!! I can’t believe you didn’t browbeat me into going to the Visage gig with you! What else are friends for but to point out when we are terribly wrong?


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