My fan letter to DEVO...

I tend to go through repetitive phases in my musical tastes: sometimes alternative or new wave (Beck, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cocteau Twins, Phillip Glass) or other genres...

I've been recently going through my latest "Devo phase". They have been the band I'm most interested in and listen to most often. During these phases, I will usually look at their web site (in this case, download songs (I know - evil John!), and buy an album or video.

This time, I bought a DVD called "DEVO: The Truth About De-evolution", and have watched it repeatedly. Now I'm listening to their two albums at work, "Greatest Hits" and "Greatest Misses" ("Misses" is the slightly better and more offbeat of the two, IMHO)

So, on Boxing Day, all this obsession finally culminated in a fan letter I wrote to Devo on their web site.

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I don't know if the Devos actually read or respond to emails sent to this address, but I sure hope so, since this is my first fan letter...

I'm John from Vancouver. I first heard "Whip It" on AM radio back in the late 70s or early 80s, and was amazed at how different Devo was from anything else I had ever seen or heard. Most of my musical taste at that time was in the realm of the Doors, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd: 60s and 70s blues-rock or heavy metal bands. And yet Devo did something so new and had such a different energy, well, you totally stood out from the pack for me. Having said that, it was not just the synthetic sounds that did it... Kraftwerk did that and sounded like cold and mechanical musical equivalents of the Futurist Manifesto. You guys went po-mo, using humour, absurdity, irony and contradiction to give (to me anyway) a multi-level message about for example, being *of* pop and yet against pop, or *of* mainstream urban values and yet rebelling against them.

Over the last 20 years, I've gone through multiple "Devo phases" where I remember the band and the songs and then tear out to buy an album, or most recently, the DVD "The Truth of Devolution". As I have gotten older, your depth as performance artists and musicians continues to reveal itself to me. The use (and gleeful abuse) of pop media and icons, the image and stylistics references to surrealism and Dadaism, and the overriding message of self-determination and "learn for yourself" - all of these messages are hugely important, and I cannot think of any other pop artists who have infused their work with such socially responsible and active examples.

Okay, so enough of the art school analysis :) Just "thanks for being original creative artists" and I hope you guys keep on doing it... :) "
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Kind of gushy, but also sincere.
Three days later, I got this reply:

"Thanks for getting it ! Gerald V. Casale"

Cool! I am such a fanboy :)