INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
High Times APRIL 1979 - by Legs McNeil
ARE WE NOT DEVO?
And then there was Devo. The ultimate extension of the idea that rock 'n' roll can be anything you want it to be. What's so special about these Gladbag-clad weirdos? Are they not men?... What was that? We are Devo? I'm sorry pal, I don't understand... Repeat? I don't care how the hell it's spelled! Let me outta here!
Listening to Devo's first album effort, Are We Not Men?, one is unwillingly jettisoned into an unpleasant, rather irritating forty minutes of middle-class industrial nightmares. And yet for some reason, one is irresistibly drawn to listen to yet another song. Somehow, Devo has managed to touch on that horrifying part of the subconscious that is revealed only during a terrifying childhood nightmare. Not only do they touch on it, they dwell in it.
And who do you suppose has a hand in this celebration of strangeness in America? The original strange ranger himself, Brian Eno. (You know, the guy who looks like a hit of acid.) Eno's influence is clearly evidenced by the extraordinary lengths he takes to insert as many odd, unidentifiable noises as possible.
For all the concessions one is strained to make in the name of creativity, Devo's first album remains fascinating. It is totally different from any concept group ever (what the concept is I haven't the slightest notion). One of the most intriguing things about them is that they can never be copied, or at least I hope not.
Such lively ditties as Shrivel Up, Jocko Homo and Mongoloid give Devo a uniqueness that I don't believe anybody would touch with a ten-foot pole.
Confidentially, I think Devo is great, and though I don't think anybody (even them) can view their style seriously, I believe they will be a force to reckon with.