Gerald Castle on their biggest album – Variety7 min read
Forty years ago this month, American art-rock band Devo released their groundbreaking record, “Freedom Choice” “album will not only break” Whip It “, but singles like” Girl You Want “and especially the title track still stand the test of time. There’s one that still resonates with fans today (actor Jack Black) and a Tony Hawk Hawk with Dev’s Mark Motherbag earlier this month Yama session played the song).
Diversity Four decades later to get his thoughts on the album, he is caught up with his band bassist Gerald Castle in China, Trump, Chaos and Epidemic, the Act’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Sanob and much more.
Variety: How does it feel to be a 40-year-old “choice of freedom” this month?
Casale: “Freedom of choice” where the gods laughed. Everything was put together for this record. Our experience at the record plant with Bob Margoloff was great and he brought just the right kind of melody and energy to the fact that we were using mini-mugs. I was playing synthesized bass rather than the real bass and it started to sound just right. It was an election year (1980) and the feeling in America was just connected to Devo. There we were in silver suits, with red energy domes on the cover of a record album called “Liberation Choice” where we looked like Confucian old men – and it was a joke! I have nothing but the memory of the hobby of recording and traveling behind the record. We were innovative and with those songs we got some “Freedom of Choice” commercially.
“Whip It” has become a huge hit for you. Were you surprised by its initial success?
“Whip It” was a fluke. Warner Bros. put all their chips in the first single, “Girl You Want Me.” They first revealed it, and it just got tougher. Then suddenly this guy’s name is Kal Rudman [the founder of Friday Morning Quarterback, a noted radio trade publication that covered the radio and broadcast industry] – He was a regional programmer, he had a tipsheet and it was people who had ears – he actually heard the albums that people sent him. And by itself, he decided he loved “Whip It” and started playing it. Warner Bros. was not sending him money to play; She just liked it. And it went down south first, then quickly spread to the east coast, and it ended when it hit New York. We had to recover the entire tour that year and suddenly we were no longer playing in the 400-seat club; Instead, we were playing a 2000-5000 seat venue.
What do you think of the song “Choice of Freedom” 40 years later? Looks like there’s enduring power and you guys were ahead of the video before, it has the names of top skateboarders like Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta.
I think the song should have been solo; I have no recollection of it ever being unmarried. It is now more relevant than ever. We’re back to where we were, except for worse. Now, if you don’t use your “freedom of choice”, you can lose forever. This whole country is descending into dictatorship-style. This is a fork in the road to America.
What was the inspiration for the song? This seems to be about the real choice Maya in America.
We had the same problem as we do now. This step was initiated right behind with its rise [Ronald] Reagan. He was preaching the gospel. Pat Robertson and all these boys are being taken seriously and pressured by congressmen and senators. So “Choice of Freedom” If you don’t take it seriously, there are dictators and oppressors who will move away from you. This war will never end … among leaders who are intelligent, democratic, tolerant and have an egalitarian tendency with dictatorial tendencies. We were trying to warn people by saying “freedom of choice is what we get”. People will choose foolishly because it is more convenient. Because it’s comfortable to make decisions without thinking about things. Devo was always somewhat sarcastic and sugary in heavy matters with a sense of humor
Do you remember this tour after the release of “Freedom of Choice”? You played three shows in a row at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in the summer of 1970, which made it seem like this time could be a big deal for you.
Oh, yeah, our year was great. KROQ has always been a big motivator for us and they certainly promoted us and made a huge difference for us in Southern California. We had to add lots of shows when “Whip It” was launched. Playing these three shows of Santa Monique Civic was definitely the result of that song being off. Our celebrities started coming to our shows then, and a lot of other musicians were coming too. They [the musicians] Got it. They knew what Devo was doing. They knew the power of music was real. They can make an impact Synthesis and guitar combination can not believe the words we were producing directly on stage.
You’ve made a fair amount of press over the weekend with the news that you’re now selling the “Energy Dome” face shield at DeVo’s online store. Why do you think you open so much news?
I have no idea. This is something that rarely happens with Devo. Usually we ignore the invention, but when someone picks up the hat it goes viral and in this case it wasn’t even a big idea. Some companies came to us to make those face shawls and we said, “Yeah, you’re right – can you fit our energy domes?” They just lost it in the excitement, made them and we’re here.
Some of your old press photos and stage costumes seemed futuristic and dystopian this time around, you guys wore hazmat suits. Did Debo know the epidemic was coming?
Back in 1977 our hazmat suit was back then, we did four photo shoots with surgical masks. We even wore masks on the plane once before [for a shoot]. We didn’t want to be right. The devolution was supposed to be a warning to the canary-in-a-coal mine and it really wasn’t supposed to happen. We are not happy about it.
You were nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago, but didn’t make it? Thoughts?
We were nominated in 2018 for Rock Hall N nominated and then isolated. But can find things because John Sykes lived on MTV and he remembers us from the old days [John Sykes now serves on the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame]. We have been synonymous with MTV for some time.
Who publishes for “Choice of Freedom” and you still get a fair amount of sync requests from the record?
We formed a publishing company and the whole group was the pub entity “Devo Music”. Then we renewed our contract with EMI, but now it is with BMG. They manage publications but we own masters right now, so you ask about our masters, and they have direction to publish. All these big companies do nothing. They just wait for the phone to ring; They don’t pitch our songs. It’s sad. But both “Choice of Freedom” and “Whip It” have made a lot of sink money. They’ve made Dev more money over the last 15 years then we never brought it back. We didn’t make money to go back to them; Our trip was a loss. When you got Debo back, he threw us into the pit! We were using our money from record sales to fund the tour. So, we were nuts that way. We wanted to give fans a dimension they don’t get off the record. We wanted to use theatrical props and special lighting to give them an experience.
How are you doing during the epidemic?
It’s an alternative-reality nightmare, come on. Worse, it doesn’t have to be, it’s not like that. It’s the kind of government that works from an authoritarian control-weird leader in one of the most powerful countries on the planet, trying to hide in the future. They tried to suppress its reporting for about six weeks, then they realized, ‘OK, we Then they and Trump, because he is also a freak of authoritarian control, just like that. [President] Eleventh: He did the same thing for another six weeks. So, you got a virus that jumped on people for three months. And that’s what happened. And it didn’t happen.
What do you think about some of the decisions made around online viruses?
This is normal. Chaos works for right-wing trolls and authoritarian governments. Because if people are ignorant of the truth and they cannot distinguish between information and chaos, then people are paralyzed. And if people are paralyzed, these people can implement their program, which they are doing, under COVID-19. They are taking away more freedom than ever before, even transferring huge amounts of wealth to a small amount of cronies … This is a playbook that is so predictable, and aggressively part of human nature, so this chaos and chaos is a strategy. Right-wing mass education has been attacking America since the 1930s. It was incredible. But now it’s all gone. Children are being deprived today and as a result the population is declining. What I find is that I was taught critical thinking. I was taught logic. But now gone. So, people are foolishly repeating the bulls and bulls they hear to make their own bubbles stronger. It’s like the “Animal Farm” novel where the sheep keep reading the rules next to the barn but they keep changing. But the sheep deny that they are changing, because they can’t remember what they said last week. We came here we have a stupid crowd ADD culture and it is horrible.