Monday, February 8, 2010

Devo: TV + Radio Appearances 1978-1983

Nothing about Devo really made sense: not their ever-changing matching outfits and hats, their AC/DC meets Kraftwerk sound, their undergrad philosophy of De-Evolution, their robotic cover of classic rock staples, their nerdy synchronized dance movements and, least sensible of all, the fact that for a time in the late seventies and early eighties, they defined punk to the straight world in North America.

All those incomprehensible elements (their defining punk aside), their alien-ness made Devo irresistible to those who sorta understood. Even though I was listening to a steady diet of North American hardcore and British punk, I had tapes of every Devo album (though I admit that, fittingly, they got gradually worse through till 1984's Shout). Blame it on Fridays, that easier-for-kids-to-see version of Saturday Night Live for whom Devo was practically the house band.

This bootleg includes all those Fridays appearances as well as ones on Letterman, SNL and a set from the King Biscuit Flower Hour. It all makes clear Devo's complicated but comprehensible influence on much of modern music.

MRML Readers: Leave us a comment with your take on Devo and whether or not you want to hear more!

TV + Radio Appearances 1978-1983

Support the band:
Club Devo


  1. I loved Devo at the time and still do. Finally got to see them live in 88 or 89 (Fillmore, SF). There's stuff I love all the way through, though Shout and the post WB stuff I'm less fond of. Looking forward to these goodies!

  2. Count me among the Devophiles. And you're right, Fridays is likely to blame. I never missed it and can remember this Devo clip like it was yesterday. Thanks for the tunes! Now I'm off to youtube some more Fridays clips...

  3. That performance of "Uncontrolable Urge" may be the best live on T.V. clip I've ever seen of any band. Completely amazing!

    Unfortunatly my first Devo exposure ("Whip It" maybe?) left me feeling as though I'd just witnessed the SCTV sketch "Dr. Tongue's 3D House Of Synth Pop".

    This, along with Open 24 Hours (later Open 48 Hours when they became "twice as good")from "Square Pegs" and all the other Hollywood Devo parodies, kept me believeing that punk was family friendly wacky fun pretty much up until I heard the Sex Pistols.

  4. see them live in 1980,first italian tour,simply one of the best gigs ever seen...and 10 years later they were still great live,less on records,but even the worst Devo album have it's moments.And in the late'70s they were THE band!

  5. Always had a soft spot for Devo. One of the more original bands of their era. Great stuff as ever Jeff.

  6. Bishop
    I would've seen them in '88, Total Devo wasn't the worst album ever. Hope you enjoyed the goodies

    Yeah YouTube is packed with great Devo stuff, it's what inspired this series of posts. Hopefully, we'll hear some Devo in show #33!

    Yeah "Uncontrollable Urge" was the specific YouTube video that made me post this album. Of course, first I had to discover that this song had never been released as a single!!
    ("Hollywood Devo's" hmmmm....)

    Yeah it's true even "Total Devo" has "Disco Dancer". What I wouldn't do now, to gave seen them back in '80. You're a lucky man!

    It's true, bands tried to sound like Devo later on but they were a law unto themselves. Thanks for the good words.

  7. I aM DeVolVeD !!! And quit proud of it =) 1st time wasn't until the 3rd album. I was working security at a Seattle club (age15or16) They did 2 shows in one night, as usual after drinking the confiscated alcohol we got a naughty snuck into where they kept their stuff and snagged a few of tear away plastic suits they wore (they had bags of them) needless to say the party afterwards was a DevOliCious time... Duty now For the Future is still my fave LP and one of Rocks classics !!!
    Thanks for the Memories MRML =)

  8. Thanks for the great post.I'm up for more!
    Especially the pics!

  9. Rev
    Love the suit-stealing anecdote. While "Are We Not Men..." is my fave but "Duty Now..." (as well as New Traditionalists")are under-rated.

    DJ Useo
    I guess I quit too early (I had at least two more possible Devo posts but when the comments dried up I moved on. I will come back though, I always do.)

  10. Cool.I'm really into them right now,what with the new album coming out & them making their first tv appearance in 20 years soon.

  11. They had me at the '78 full color ad in Creem magazine.

    Thanks for the post

  12. Thanks very much!
    Of course i am DEVOted too.Unfortunatetly i only saw them once,but maybe they will come to germany again some time...
    And if you have more unofficial stuff to share,please do it!

  13. I've been a DEVO fan since before they signed with Warner Bros!

    Your blog has really made my day today.

    Thanks for the video compilation!

    Instead of just downloading their first album in 20 years, I'm going to actually purchase a copy. That would really mess with everyone's mind, wouldn't it?

    And no, I do not still live with my mom. LOL. I'm a grumpy ol' dad with spuds of my own.


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