Category Archives: caffeine

DEVO-lution

bloggeria!

so i am blogging in multiple places right now, at the cost of only intermittently blogging here. which i suspect will be the way things will be for the Spring 2013 semester while i am working on this internship.

in addition to this SchmattaLUV blog….

i am doing a private blog (private due to permissions / rights issues*) that is my own personal process blog: Activist Women’s Voices

and i am doing a public blog via the CUNY Commons: Graduate Center Special Collections CUNY Activist Women’s Voices

the CUNY blog is going to be more formal, with less tangential forays into free associations (think less Library of Congress / public domain images, less YouTube videos, etc.).

so i’ll still have this one, and will post when i can. but feel free to visit the others, if you want.

*will try to unlock selected posts if i can get them approved to be public

Mark freaking Mothersbaugh

i stumbled upon a great lynda.com video about the creative wonderfulness that is Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo fame.

first off, i want his glasses. so aluminum and shiny!

shiny!

shiny! — L.A. Eyeworks makes these for him

second off, his office building is that weird circular building on Sunset i always drove by and wondered about when i lived in El-Lay….

it mystifies me that more buildings aren’t circular. it makes much more sense to me than square. i think circular, more pod-like, egg-like structures would create a more welcoming and organic work and living space. big fan of the circular.

circular

circular! Mutato Muzika building
BY MARCUS SCHALLER SEPTEMBER 2, 2012 West Hollywood (8760 W Sunset Blvd)

it was white back in the day, but i love this color — lime green!

and then, thirdly, there is what Mark Mothersbaugh talks about when he talks about Devo. which totally blew my mind.

this is from the Lynda.com video.

Mark Mothersbaugh:
DEVO, when we were starting as a band it was right after a shooting and not just
at Kent but other campuses around the country there.
Students were saying, hey!
We don’t want to be part of this Vietnam War.
You know, we were watching it on TV and we are like who are we defending and
why and why are we attacking people over there?
They didn’t do anything to us.
What is the point to this war?
It’s not a good war.
During that time period Jerry Casale who I’d collaborated with on a few
visual things already that year, he came over and he started playing music
with me and he was a bass player and he was playing in a blues band to make some extra money.
I was a keyboard player but I was playing like synth stuff and it was more like
Soft Machine or something.
It was kind of like more acidy and we were trying to figure out what is this
sound we were thinking. Oh!
It’s like Flintstones meets the Jetsons.
You know, like I was playing kind of space age-y kind of sounds and he was
playing like kind of primitive bass sounds, blues, blues-y kind of things.
We started talking about what was going on around us and then what was happening
at school and what was happening in the world.
We came to the conclusion that what we were observing was not evolution but
rather de-evolution.
So, that’s where we’ve got the name the De-evolution band and then the
De-evolutionary army before we cut letters off the end and turn it into DEVO.
De-evolution was sort of our platform.
It became a way that we could talk about things that we were curious about,
that concerned us and we could make fun of things and we could draw attention to things.
So, we looked at people like Andy Warhol for inspiration.
We saw– and not so much in his messages but in his techniques.
We saw that was the perfect.
He was about ideas and it didn’t matter what medium he worked in.
I’d liked the idea that he wasn’t just locked into like playing guitar or to
painting watercolors on a piece of paper, the same exact thing every time.
He was into solving problems.
So, we kind of wanted DEVO to be like that.

Devo came from the idea of de-volution, a reaction to the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings and trying to make sense of the world at that point in time. it’s just all sort of brilliant and so much more connected and much more meaningful than i ever imagined Devo to be. just love this, hearing such a smart man talk about the ideas behind what made Devo Devo.

and more to the point, the name Devo and the idea of de-evolution, and the ideas of doing things however they came to be (i.e., Warhol example) was also about parsing process and vision and intention in the most organic and revolutionary, naturally evolving way. as Mothersbaugh describes, it was about solving problems. and agitprop.

Agitation propaganda (commonly shortened to agitprop) is the systematic spreading and thorough explanation of political, philosophical, economic, historical, as well as scientific, technical, and other types of ideas by the political leadership of a movement, society or organization, advancing the effectiveness of political persuasion and training on the target, leading to rapid action, or mobilization. In a simplified sense, Agitation Propaganda is focused on causing an excitement of emotions in the target, with the aims of stimulating action.

it’s a great example. a great example of inspired thinking. makes me want to keep it on the road, keep going, keep at whatever i’m doing that’s working….

the history of my Devo-revolution

and on a more personal note, my earliest memories of Devo were their record (below) i think my brother Michael had.

and then of course i remember a high school performance of the annual Roadshow (i think that was it) by my sister Claud’s friends (including Saybert) where they did a song by Devo, wearing the same outfits and hats. it was so cool. i loved her friends.

this picture isn’t that but it captures how awesome these guys were.

Devo-cool friends of my sister's

Devo-cool friends of my sister’s, from the Omaha Central High School 1982 yearbook

some video awesomness. my favorite Devo song, “Uncontrollable Urge”.

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