With its self-titled CD/DVD debut ready for a March 14 release via Disney Sound, the kid-staffed Devo 2.0 is preparing to take the original band's music to such unlikely locales as state fairs and sub
With its self-titled CD/DVD debut ready for a March 14 release via Disney Sound, the kid-staffed Devo 2.0 is preparing to take the original band's music to such unlikely locales as state fairs and suburban shopping malls. Devo co-founder Gerald V. Casale has spent the past couple of weeks in rehearsals with the five pre-teen members in advance of eventual live performances this spring.
"We always had this idea kind of like 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' where it would be a kids band playing Devo songs for the exact demographic Disney wants, which is like 4-8 year olds," Casale tells Billboard.com. "It is benignly subversive. Some of the more controversial politics and irony of the adult Devo is left out of it of course, because that is the Disney mandate, but we enjoyed it. We think it's great."
Casale spent four months casting the band, much in the same way he would cast the television commercials and music videos he often directs. "We were looking for kids that were as unlike the mainstream as Devo was in its day when it was part of mainstream, trendy culture," he says. "They're all really smart. They're by no means goodie-goodie, but they don't have any of the behavioral cliches of the mainstream. They're really kind of like little scientists and they love Devo music."
As previously reported, "Devo 2.0" features 10 newly recorded versions of Devo oldies plus the band's first new songs since 1996, "Cyclops" and "The Winner." And while Devo's adult members played the bulk of the instruments during the sessions, the kids have progressed significantly during rehearsals and can now play the material with little assistance.
"Everything is live except some sequencer lines, which are really difficult for a human to play," Casale says. "The guitar parts are live. The drumming is live. The vocals are live and the keyboard leads are live. It has all been designed so the animation can run in sync with the live performance in the way we pioneered in the '80s, so you can see a huge image behind the band."
Although no specific plans have been settled on, Casale says it "would be funny as hell" for Devo 2.0 to make an unannounced appearance at a regular Devo show at some point. "I think the greatest thing would be if they came out and did the exact same set we're about to do," he says with a laugh. "And then we come out and do it. I like that idea. By the time the audience sees us old guys, it's like, 'No! Bring back the kids!'"