Charlie Sheen is inescapable...Here is an abridged interview with Devo's Gerald Casale wherein he praises Sheen as a prime example of our devolved culture as printed on San Diego.com
Since forming in 1973 at Kent State in Ohio, DEVO have gone on to become one of the most famous bands in the world, with their classic hits from the 1980s becoming part of the public conscious, thanks largely in part to the emergence of MTV, a new medium at the time. Though the band doesnât tour as often as they used to, this past summer DEVO released their first album in over 20 years, called Something For Everybody. The album is a continuation of their distinct sound of straight-ahead punk rock combined with synthesized keyboards and various electronics. Currently preparing for their upcoming spring tour, founding member Gerald Casale talked with SanDiego.com about the DEVO musical thatâs in the works, and the prospect of having Charlie Sheen join the band as lead singer.
Whatâs a typical day for Gerald Casale?
Gerald Casale: Well, unless youâ re in the middle of video production or on tour playing or recording, youâre fielding a lot of phone calls answering a lot of emails and usually trying to convince somebody or browbeat somebody into pulling the trigger on a project.
Are you working on anything right now or just getting ready for the tour?
Iâve been working on a script for a musical, a DEVO musical.
Wow, like a live Broadway production?
Yeah, well hopefully it would make it to Broadway someday.
How long has that been in the works?
The ideaâs been going on awhile, but no writing has been going on until recently. Itâs what youâd expect from DEVO.
Do you ever watch MTV these days?
Well Iâve watched what itâs become. I donât have kids, and if I did I probably wouldnât encourage them to watch it.
When you relax at home, do you find yourself watching television or listening to new music?
I definitely try to listen to a lot of new music coming out, thatâs pretty easy because people throw it in my face. You hear a lot of good things, whatâs frightening is how many great things you hear that never see the light of day. We live in a time where the old music business model imploded, and thereâs nothing really new thatâs as effective to take its place. So in the old days if somebody was good, it was hard to keep them down. In other words theyâd rise to the top and the good stuff would have its day in the sun. Now itâs just not true.
Do you think DEVO wouldâve been as successful in this digital era of music?
If there was a DEVO for now, like a young band starting out that became the DEVO of its day, Iâm wondering what they would do about that, if they were visually oriented, what they would do. Certainly they would have a robust website that would exploit that, and they would try to aggregate that onto every possible platform to get big eyeballs going. And theyâd try to do it like OK Go where you try to create something that sparks general interest. Youâd definitely do all those things and you would definitely work with video and youâd work with flash, because thatâs replaced the medium of the past.
Do you still listen to vinyl?
Sure, I have a turntable and people give me a lot of vinyl. Itâs a great fetish. Itâs ridiculously arcane, but it's fun.
Do you have a really high tech turntable?
No, I have a Technics turntable from the eighties that was considered high tech at the time.
What about an iPad?
Iâve resisted iPads, thereâs something about them. Itâs probably just me. I realize how cool they are but, I donât know? Just even the name, itâs somewhere between your laptop and smart phone, and Iâm not sure why I want it? When I saw the ads, they all look like this bourgeois middle of the road; for people that look like theyâre wearing Landsâ End moccasins and multi-colored skirts with it on their laps relaxing like some hideous yuppie. The whole thing looked like a Kotex commercial. Some kind of womanâs feminine napkin. I thought the iPad was an appropriate name, I imagined a flexible version being used for menstrual flow.
How come DEVO doesnât tour that often anymore?
Yeah thatâs solely because of Mark Mothersbaugh.
Oh, so youâd like to go on the road more often?
Absolutely, everybody else does. Itâs what we do. I think when you spend a life creating a musical and visual aesthetic, and a large component of it was live performance and theatrics, certainly what youâre doing is following your art the same way a painter would paint. This is what I do, it makes me happy.
DEVO has always had a great sense of humor, what sort of comedians do you enjoy watching?
Iâve always loved it when a great comic came along like Andy Kaufman; that was spectacular. Early Steve Martin was great, early Eddie Murphy was great. Most of the comedy that I see is not meant to be comedy, I mean what we laugh at is people that think theyâre being serious and theyâre ridiculous. Our humor comes from the foibles of humanity; of greed and misplaced ego. Iâll tell you whoâs really making me laugh right now, I think heâs brilliant; itâs as if someone wrote a script for a Scorsese character, and thatâs Charlie Sheen, I just canât get enough of this. Itâs incredible and powerful stuff; I mean personally I think he should jump straight into a reality show with his two goddesses. The stuff heâs saying and the way he behaves is more powerful than anything heâs ever done. To have a guy whose money is coming from such a dumb ass show like Two and a Half Men, pontificating like heâs on level with Marcel Duchamp and Frank Lloyd Wright, itâs fantastically outrageously humorous. His thing about curing himself from mind control and having Adonis genes, flying high in the clouds with two strippers while heâs looking down at you with your ugly wife and your ugly kids, and you want what heâs got and youâre never going to have it. Wow! Itâs like did Oliver Stone write this for Al Pacino to say in Scarface? Itâs great stuff.
Did you watch the Piers Morgan interview?
Oh yes! This is far more interesting than his stupid show.
Would you be willing to direct a reality show starring Charlie Sheen?
Oh my god, I would do it free for Charlie. Itâs reached the level of art. I mean wow. I like the way he called Thomas Jefferson a (wimp) on that radio interview, and then he put down the 12-Step guy as an addled brain idiot weakling, because he knows how to use his mind to instantly cure himself, and all these weak people donât understand it. Itâs fantastic!
Did you know he just joined Twitter and set a world record for getting 1,000,000 followers in a day?
Yes, the Guinness people verified it.
It totally makes sense to me. I mean this guy is kind of liked a coked-up Yoda.
Are you on Twitter?
No but what you just told me I think itâs changed my mind about the whole thing. I just thought it was so lame, and all youâre doing is inviting every psycho and subhuman out there to just go for it.
Twitter is a perfect platform for Sheen though, he has so many one-liners.
Thatâs what I mean. This guyâs brilliant, heâs a philosopher of our devolved culture. He impresses me with the (stuff) he says, itâs unbelievable.
Would you take this moment and officially extend an invitation to Charlie Sheen to become a member of DEVO and go on this upcoming tour?
Weâd be honored. Any of our songs that he wanted to sing.
What else do you have going on today?
Well actually now I realize what I have to do today, which is since Mark doesnât want to tour, I need to ask Charlie Sheen if heâll be our lead singer! I mean that would be DEVO and it would be tremendous! Canât you see him singing and taking a drag of a cigarette in between?
I think he would do a great âUncontrollable Urge.â
(Golly) thatâd be great. Weâll give him a real whip and let his goddesses up onstage, oh man. I am in awe.
Does DEVO have a message for the children?
Run children, run as fast as you can.
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