Bob Casale, guitarist for surreal art-rock geniuses Devo, has died aged 61.
Casale was part of the original line-up of the band formed by his art student brother Gerald at Kent State University in the early 1970s. Devo caught the attention of David Bowie and Iggy Pop with their jagged new wave single ‘Mongoloid’ and angular interpretation of the Rolling Stones’ ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’, which appeared on their hugely influential 1978 debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!.
For their next two albums, 1979’s Duty Now For The Future and 1980’s Freedom of Choice, the band moved towards a spiky synth-pop sound that reached its zenith on their Top 40 hit single ‘Whip It’. They also gained a reputation for their kitsch and surreal stage shows, evidenced by their signature ‘energy dome’ headgear.
Five more albums followed and the band continued to tour sporadically throughout the 90s and 2000s, eventually reconvening to release their ninth album Something For Everybody in 2010.
Gerald Casale announced the news on Facebook:
As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning. He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got. He was excited about the possibility of Mark Mothersbaugh allowing Devo to play shows again. His sudden death from conditions that lead to heart failure came as a total shock to us all.