Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28: Founding member of new wave band Devo - "Whip It"- Jerry Casale, is 65-years-old today.

Gerald Vincent Casale was born Gerald Vincent Pizzute on July 28, 1948 and raised in Kent, Ohio. He attended Kent State University, majoring in Art.

In the late 1960s, he was a self-described hippie, until the May 4th, 1970 shootings. Being involved with Freshman orientation at the KSU Honors College, he personally knew two of the victims, Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause, and was near Krause when she was shot. Casale described that day in multiple interviews as being "the day I stopped being a hippie."

Together with Bob Lewis and Mark Mothersbaugh, Casale used the shooting as a catalyst to develop the concept of Devolution, forming the band Devo with Mark Mothersbaugh and Bob Lewis in 1973.

Before Devo, Gerald played bass, after switching from drums, with Kent, Ohio blues band 15-60-75, also known as "The Numbers Band." Casale caused friction in the group by suggesting they incorporate advertising jingles and other "lowbrow culture" elements into their music. Casale began to focus primarily on Devo at this point, developing the band's distinct visual style, and working closely with Mothersbaugh and Lewis to create a performance art group.

With Devo, Casale, was a vocalist and played bass guitar/synthesizer. Along with Mothersbaugh, Casale co-wrote most of Devo's material (including the hit "Whip It"), designed Devo's distinctive attire (including the Energy Dome, plastic pompadours, and yellow radiation suits) over the years with Mothersbaugh, and directed most of Devo's videos.

In addition to music video, Casale also directed a number of television commercials, including ads for Diet Coke and Honda Scooters featuring Devo, as well as for Coco's restaurants, and Miller Lite.

Distinctive elements of Casale's visual style include dutch angles, desaturated color, and color washes on images. In 2005, Casale created a solo project, Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers. The album, Mine is Not a Holy War was a more blues-oriented album than Devo's output and featured performances of two early Devo songs, along with a B-side from 1982, and a cover of "He's Always There" by The Yardbirds.

While Jihad Jerry never toured, the theatrical character appeared with Devo at several shows in 2006, as well as on the program "Red Eye." Casale abandoned the Jihad Jerry character in 2007.

In 2009 he participated in the project Die Alten Maschinen, together with the Czech producer and composer Moimir Papalescu. EP "To Be Or Not," in which Gerald Casale participated as an author, was released on vinyl. At the same time, the song "To Be Or Not" in a different version appeared on the album "Songs About Love And Machines," which was released in 2010.

Devo’s style has been variously classified as punk, industrial and rock, but are most often considered to be the 70s/early 80s New Wave band that ushered in the synth pop of the 1980s, along with other acts such as Gary Numan and The B-52s.

The band split in 1991 and returned in 1996. They released their first album in 20 years, Something for Everybody on June 15, 2010.


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