Devo are devoting their next tour to performing the material they were playing in basements before they broke through commercially.
“At the end of our last tour we started talking about abandoning everything and doing a tour that was purely artistic,” bassist Jerry Casale says. “We thought it would be cool to revisit the old basement recordings. The thought was, ‘What if we play songs we haven’t played in 35 years for a crowd that never heard them except on old basement recordings?'”
The tour had been in the early planning stages when Jerry’s brother and Devo’s rhythm guitarist Bob died suddenly in February. “It was a horrific shock and an explosion in the Devo universe,” says Jerry. “For a month or so, nobody talked about anything. But then we realized we can still do it and make it a memorial to Bob and raise money for his family. He died without a will and life insurance. Devo hadn’t been playing many gigs when he died, so his finances were pretty depleted. We’ve also raised money for his family through an online donation drive.”
Nobody has been brought in to replace Bob Casale on the tour. “We decided to leave it raw and stripped down,” Jerry says. “We were kind of White Stripes-ish and Black Keys-ish before those guys were out of diapers. We’re very familiar with how to play stripped-down, primitive stuff. I think it’ll make it more powerful in a way because you’ll hear each of the parts.”
The tour runs from June 18th through July 2nd.