Synth-based surrealists and New Wave pioneers Devo will be releasing their first record in 20 years this Spring. Spuds, rejoice!
But it won’t be until April (around the Feast Of Eris) that the as-yet-untitled record will see release, coinciding with a new tour starting at Coachella in California. Until then, Devo has embarked on a Fall tour through major cities in the U.S. playing two nights in each city, raising the bar for the recent trend of album tours.
This is a double album tour.
The first night will be a full performance of their first full-length Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! while the second will be their synthpop breakthrough 1980’s Freedom Of Choice in its entirety. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s coming to New York City.
In other Devo news, there is a big re-release set of both albums forthcoming, but the devo-ted will have to wait to see new material live until next year, according to founding member Gerald Casale. Casale talked about the upcoming record and the current tour as well as some projects on the way.
Okay, so you’re doing a double album tour?
We’re doing Are We Not Men the first night and Freedom Of Choice the second night. That was because people kept debating about which record we should do and we’d go, ‘Well, they’re very different, so different that it’s kind of interesting to see what happened in that two-year period, so why don’t we do them both?’ And everybody loved that when we presented that to the promoters.
You get a lot of repeat to the second night from the first. Then there are other people that have ridiculously orthodox opinions about only one or the other is any good. It’s kind of cool (laughs).
I’m assuming you’re still doing a couple of tracks from the other album each night?
No. We don’t do that. That was a decision we made. It’s like, ‘Let’s make this real.’ We do encores, but they’re not cannibalized from the other two records.
Why did you decide to do the full album tour?
Just because people are interested. It’s something that’s going on right now, it’s kind of like performance art.
And you’re not bringing out Jihad Jerry or anything like that?
No, no, no. Jihad Jerry doesn’t get the love. He’s a misunderstood guy. (laughs). There’s not much humor going on in America about that stuff. They didn’t get it. I thought a Caucasian in a stupid turban that looked more like Sam The Sham than anything was pretty obvious—when it said ‘Mine is not a holy war’—that it was satire. But no, not in this culture. Maybe someday. I was getting a lot of hate mail let’s put it that way.
Are you playing any of the new stuff live?
You know, we’re specifically not playing any of the new songs, no. Not that I wouldn’t love to, but that’s gotta wait till next Spring when the record comes out and we’re on a new tour that starts at Coachella.
I don’t know how much you’re willing to divulge about the new record, what was your mindset about going into your first record in 20 years, what topics were at hand, are we still devolving?
Basically it was to be excited again, to feel the kind of excitement and energy when we wrote material in the first place, when we were just so happy to be Devo. And now it’s not about some kind of manifesto or argument with the culture because basically I think and by the way everybody responds, devolution’s just a fact.
It’s a historical fact. Like deregulation or climate change. And now a majority kind of agrees. That’s a good thing. That’s great news that nobody’s fighting that anymore. As long as people denied there was climate change they wouldn’t do anything about it. Now if they’d just admit, ‘Yeah, we’ve devolved alright.’ Now we can get on with the next step.