Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Feb 12th 2010 2:30PM by Steve Baltin
The new, broader-appeal Devo will introduce itself to the world with a Feb. 22 performance at the Winter Olympics. For Casale, a transplant to sunny Southern California, it marks the return to weather he's tried to avoid. "Ever since I left Ohio I haven't been seeking out snow," he says, laughing.
It also means he's not much of a winter sports aficionado himself, but that doesn't mean he can't still admire some of the efforts of the Olympians. "It has to be the downhill and the ski jumps for sure," he says of his favorite events to watch. "They're both incredibly dangerous and kind of logic-defying when you're watching it happen -- like, 'How can they do this? It's super-human.'"
Despite trying to avoid the snow all these years, Casale and his mates are happy to return for this experience, as it'll give them a chance to reach that broader appeal. They'll show off the new Devo by debuting material from their forthcoming album (a brand-new song called 'Fresh') and a new look. That's right, the trademark yellow suits and red energy dome hats are giving way new attire. While Casale says, "I don't think a verbal description's going to really excite anybody," he still gave us a preview. "It's a manly look," he says, "Let's just say we're going to look like we're in the de-evolutionary army and we'll be wearing head gear that further obscures any of the differences between us -- the team spirit."
On top of changing to the manly look, Devo are seeking acceptance by testing the new material out on focus groups. "All the songs are pretty much finished," Casale says. "They are being tested by focus groups through an agency and we're seeing which things people like and which things they want changed, so we're tweaking the songs, seeing which people have the favorite song and why they like it." Watch Devo's focus-group video below.
Yes, the band is also aware that it's done a complete 180-degree turn from its earlier days, and that's intentional. "We enjoy this experiment and it's a real experiment," Casale says. "It's like Devo was always self-contained and people said, 'Oh, you guys don't really play ball. You're just in your own little world.' We think, 'Okay, we did all that. Let's find out what people think just the way CNN and Fox do. We want to know what you think.' And it's interesting. Once you open yourself up to that in a way that's not cynical you get a lot of interesting feedback."