Devo haven’t broken up, but bassist Jerry Casale tells Rolling Stone that the band has entered a “cocoon state” that will, in the short-term, leave a new limited-edition series of “Throbblehead” dolls as the closest way for fans to get near anything that even looks like the band.
“We have no shows scheduled and you’d have to ask Mr. [Mark] Mothersbaugh why he’s made that determination,” Casale says. “We’re on hold. There’s four guys that are ready to go. There are offers for Devo all around. For me personally, given how the world is today, Devo are as modern as ever. Whenever we play the crowd goes nuts.”
The band’s 2010 LP Something for Everybody is their only album of new material since 1990, but they’ve been touring semi-regularly since 1996. Last year they shared a bill with Blondie and they did a handful of West Coast dates in May and June. “Mark has been involved in composing for a long time,” says Casale. “That just seems to be what he prefers to do. He prefers to sit at a desk and doesn’t seem to want to go out and travel to cities. . . . But when he does get onstage it’s like Clark Kent going into a phone booth. We also draw a mixed crowd from different generations that watched our old performances on TV. It’s interesting.”
This doesn’t mean that all is quiet in the land of Devo. Casale says that there’s a Devo biopic in the works. “It’s just sitting there waiting to happen,” he says. “It starts in Akron in 1974 and ends on Saturday Night Live in 1978. It’s kind of like Spinal Tap with brains.”
They’ve also teamed up with Aggronautix to release a series of Devo “Throbbleheads” (available here). The bobblehead-like figures present Mothersbaugh and Casale in their 1980 Freedom of Choice costumes, complete with red energy domes. “At first we weren’t interested,” says Casale. “But these guys kept presenting us with options and finally they were so coolly grotesque that it kind of looked like a gnome or something. It’s collectable, cool and grotesque at the same time. It’s another fitting example of de-evolution.”
Casale says that money wasn’t the big influence for this project. “Yes we do get a piece of the action,” he says. “But on that level it’s meaningless. Maybe I’ll be able to go out to dinner at a nice restaurant.”