Bob Casale, founder member of outsider pop group Devo, dies aged 61

Devo guitarist died from heart failure, according to message posted by brother and bandmate Gerald Casale

Bob Casale, guitarist from leftfield pop group Devo, has died aged 61 from heart failure.

His brother Gerald Casale, another member of the band, announced the news on Devo's website, writing: "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 [frontman] 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."

Devo formed in 1972, with Bob part of an early lineup as well as the band's most popular period in the late 70s and early 80s. Their music was a madcap blend of taut punkish energy, jittery funk and screwball wit, with songs like Whip It and their cover of the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction becoming cult favourites.

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In a 2012 interview with Under the Radar, Bob Casale outlined what Devo aimed to achieve. "We took people out of their daily lives, we tried to lift them up out of the grime and the grunge of their daily existence and give them an alternative – to turn them on in a number of ways, to remove them from the menial, petty things they had to deal with everyday." He complained of a shallowness in contemporary pop. "The successful artists are completely narcissistic and self-referential. Every song is about them. They talk about themselves. They talk about what they have. They talk about what they're going to do to somebody else. They talk about what they're going to get. They talk about how much money they have... They're not telling you anything, there is no spirituality, there is no idea or concept."

The band began touring again in recent years, and released a new album, Something For Everybody, in 2010. A collection of early material, Hardcore, was also recently released.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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