Devo Are Getting Their First-Ever Authorized Documentary
Bust out the energy domes and crack those whips: An upcoming authorized documentary will attempt to tell the story of art-rock weirdos Devo.
Titled simply Devo — a little unimaginative given the subject matter — the full-length feature will chart the Ohio band’s formation in the aftermath of the Kent State massacre and their art punk beginnings to their landmark 1978 LP Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and mastery of the MTV medium as unlikely “Whip It!” hitmakers.
American Movie and Fyre documentarian Chris Smith will direct the film, which features never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with those within the Devo universe. “Devo was a huge influence on me,” Smith said in a statement. “Their approach to music, film, video, and art was something I had never seen before and was one of the truly formative artistic influences that showed me there were entirely new ways to look at things.”
Warner Music Entertainment and Fremantle Documentaries added, “Forming in 1973, Devo banded together initially as performance artists, disillusioned and radicalized by the shooting at Kent State where they were students. Their artistry was a commentary on corruption in the United States, the perceived ‘dumbing down’ of an entire generation by mass media, and the commodification of a poisoned society.” (As fans of the band know, Devo is short for de-evolution.)
Devo, the first-ever authorized full-length documentary about the energy dome-wearing quintet, is currently in production with no release date set.
Devo returned to the road earlier this month for what they’ve dubbed as both their 50th anniversary and farewell tour. In 2020, frontman Mark Mothersbaugh — who became a renowned film and television composer, with credits ranging from Wes Anderson to Rugrats — revealed that he nearly died of Covid-19 after spending 18 days on a ventilator in a Los Angeles hospital.
Speaking to Rolling Stone after the ordeal, Mothersbaugh said he was hopeful the oft-Rock Hall-nominated band would embark on a farewell tour at some point. “It’s like putting on your high school cheerleading outfit and going out and doing the songs again,” he said. “On one hand, when I’m out there on stage, I love playing them. But on the other hand, the whole thing seems like, ‘Well, yes, that’s what I did when I was 20. I’m 70. Let’s move on.’ But I’m sure there will be more shows somewhere down the line. Also, who knows, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame might begrudgingly let Devo in, so that’ll give us an excuse to get together.”
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