“I still haven’t taken his number out of my phone,” Casale says. “I keep thinking I’m going to talk to him.”
Shortly after his death, Devo’s four remaining members organized a national tour to honor Bob 2, with partial proceeds going to his family, stuck now with residual ER bills. In lieu of hiring a replacement guitarist for the tour, Devo assembled a set-list built around Hardcore Devo: Volume One, a set of basement recordings the band made in the Seventies, before Bob 2 joined the band.
“These are the first times we’ve ever played live without him,” Casale notes. “We weren’t in the frame of mind to even entertain replacing Bob. It’d be too disrespectful to have anybody else standing onstage with us, so we picked songs that we could pull off as a foursome.”
Devo’s suddenly more minimalist sound reminds Casale of the band’s proto-punk Seventies roots.
“We were like the Black Keys and White Stripes back when those guys were in diapers,” he laughs. “Now, we’re able tap back into that rawness.”
He says Wednesday’s show will prove the “antithesis” of Devo’s famously elaborate performances of years past.
“Our shows were like creative assaults on the audience, with video media, props, choreography, costumes,” he says. “This tour is Devo unmasked. We’ve finally let our guards down.” – Neph Basedow