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Devo's Bob Casale dies from heart failure at 61




This June 5, 2010 file photo shows Bob Casale performing live at The 2010 KROQ Weenie Roast in Irvine, Calif. Casale, of the band Devo best known for the 1980s hit “Whip It,” died Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, from conditions that led to heart failure, his brother and band member Gerald Casale said Tuesday. He was 61. Devo founder Gerald says in a statement his younger brother’s death was “sudden” and “a total shock.”
This June 5, 2010 file photo shows Bob Casale performing live at The 2010 KROQ Weenie Roast in Irvine, Calif. Casale, of the band Devo best known for the 1980s hit “Whip It,” died Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, from conditions that led to heart failure, his brother and band member Gerald Casale said Tuesday. He was 61. Devo founder Gerald says in a statement his younger brother’s death was “sudden” and “a total shock.”
Katy Winn
This June 5, 2010 file photo shows Bob Casale performing live at The 2010 KROQ Weenie Roast in Irvine, Calif. Casale, of the band Devo best known for the 1980s hit “Whip It,” died Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, from conditions that led to heart failure, his brother and band member Gerald Casale said Tuesday. He was 61. Devo founder Gerald says in a statement his younger brother’s death was “sudden” and “a total shock.”
In this 1978 photo taken by Janet Macoska and released by Devo, Inc., the band Devo, from left, Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Mothersbaugh, kneeling, Jerry Casale, Bob Casale and Alan Myers pose for a photo.
Janet Macoska/AP


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Today we bid farewell to Bob Casale, a musician best know for his work with DEVO, a band which started making a name for itself in 1977 with this version of the Rolling Stones' classic "Satisfaction."

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Casale died suddenly of heart failure earlier this week at 61 years old. His brother and bandmate, Gerald Casale, said in a statement that his younger brother's death Monday was "sudden" and "a total shock."

"As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning," Casale said. "He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got."

No further details on his death were provided.

The new wave band released its Brian Eno-produced debut, "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!," in 1978 and reached platinum status with 1980's "Freedom of Choice," which featured "Whip It."

Gerald Casale formed Devo with lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh. Alan Myers, the group's drummer, died last year after a battle with cancer age at 58. Devo is short for devolution, the idea that man was regressing into an earlier state.

Gerald Casale joined Take Two today to talk about how crucial his brother was to the band and he recalls some of his favorite memories. 

Interview Highlights:

On the beginning of Bob's career with Devo:
"We each had a brother named Bob. I had Bob and Mark [Mothersbaugh] had Bob, and both of them played guitars. As you can imagine it was pretty hard to talk anybody into what was considered ridiculous and far out at the time…into cooperating to take an idea and make it real. So, it worked very well to have brothers who understood your quirks and aesthetics and trusted you to go along and become part of the creative process. That's exactly what happened."

On why working with a brother was so great:
"It was like mental shorthand, you didn't have to explain everything and they completely understood the aesthetic and started contributing in so many ways. We were like a machine, a good machine, like the five musketeers. Even though Bob wasn't a songwriter, when you're working together every day, everybody's energy and everybody's contributions are important to fleshing out an idea. Bob had great ideas and great taste on guitar. The song you just played, "Satisfaction," he created that guitar line and we all started playing with the guitar line. It became "Satisfaction." He would do that many times and then he became a super technician, he became a great audio engineer."

On convincing Bob to leave his career and join Devo:
"He was always interested in music, but he was more of a technical guy. He was a radiologist before we talked him into joining Devo. That's how much he loved music. I also was very persuasive."

On Bob's contributions to the band:
"Starting some time after our "Freedom Of Choice" record, basically he would be the primary person responsible for recording all of our instruments, and oftentimes did mixes that became final mixes, even if were working with a name producer. It became really obvious how he excelled at that by the time we were doing "Oh No It's Devo," with Roy Thomas Baker and things weren't going well. Bob saved the day." 

On his favorite memory of Bob and Devo:
"Of course, beginnings are always the best. Before there's any differences or any sense of who you are other than the energy and the excitement of being new and loving what you do. I think our summer of '77 in California where we just started to break wide open and play all the clubs from San Francisco to L.A. to San Diego, and spent 3 1/2 months here just escalating through the ranks was probably one of the most memorable experiences of any beginning anyone could have.

"Bob's a solid, even keeled, level-headed guy. He was the nice guy when everyone else was going off the rails, or being excessive artists, he would keep a cool temperament and he's slow to anger, so he became like an emotional anchor."

With contributions from the Associated Press.