DEVO Ask Charlie Sheen To Join Band
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 doesn’t 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 that’s in the works, and the prospect of having Charlie Sheen join the band as lead singer.
What’s a typical day for Gerald Casale?
Gerald Casale: Well, unless you’ re in the middle of video production or on tour playing or recording, you’re 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?
GC: I’ve been working on a script for a musical, a DEVO musical.
Wow, like a live Broadway production?
GC: Yeah, well hopefully it would make it to Broadway someday.
How long has that been in the works?
GC: The idea’s been going on awhile, but no writing has been going on until recently. It’s what you’d expect from DEVO.
Do you ever watch MTV these days?
GC: Well I’ve watched what it’s become. I don’t have kids, and if I did I probably wouldn’t encourage them to watch it.
When you relax at home, do you find yourself watching television or listening to new music?
GC: I definitely try to listen to a lot of new music coming out, that’s pretty easy because people throw it in my face. You hear a lot of good things, what’s 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 there’s nothing really new that’s 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 they’d rise to the top and the good stuff would have its day in the sun. Now it’s just not true.
Do you think DEVO would’ve been as successful in this digital era of music?
GC: If there was a DEVO for now, like a young band starting out that became the DEVO of its day, I’m 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 they’d try to do it like OK Go where you try to create something that sparks general interest. You’d definitely do all those things and you would definitely work with video and you’d work with flash, because that’s replaced the medium of the past.
Do you still listen to vinyl?
GC: Sure, I have a turntable and people give me a lot of vinyl. It’s a great fetish. It’s ridiculously arcane, but it's fun.
Do you have a really high tech turntable?
GC: No, I have a Technics turntable from the eighties that was considered high tech at the time.
What about an iPad?
GC: I’ve resisted iPads, there’s something about them. It’s probably just me. I realize how cool they are but, I don’t know? Just even the name, it’s somewhere between your laptop and smart phone, and I’m 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 they’re wearing Lands’ 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 woman’s feminine napkin. I thought the iPad was an appropriate name, I imagined a flexible version being used for menstrual flow.
How come DEVO doesn’t tour that often anymore?
GC: Yeah that’s solely because of Mark Mothersbaugh.
Oh, so you’d like to go on the road more often?
GC: Absolutely, everybody else does. It’s 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 you’re 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?
GC: I’ve 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 they’re being serious and they’re ridiculous. Our humor comes from the foibles of humanity; of greed and misplaced ego. I’ll tell you who’s really making me laugh right now, I think he’s brilliant; it’s as if someone wrote a script for a Scorsese character, and that’s Charlie Sheen, I just can’t get enough of this. It’s incredible and powerful stuff; I mean personally I think he should jump straight into a reality show with his two goddesses. The stuff he’s saying and the way he behaves is more powerful than anything he’s ever done. To have a guy whose money is coming from such a dumb ass show like Two and a Half Men, pontificating like he’s on level with Marcel Duchamp and Frank Lloyd Wright, it’s fantastically outrageously humorous. His thing about curing himself from mind control and having Adonis genes, flying high in the clouds with two strippers while he’s looking down at you with your ugly wife and your ugly kids, and you want what he’s got and you’re never going to have it. Wow! It’s like did Oliver Stone write this for Al Pacino to say in Scarface? It’s great stuff.
Did you watch the Piers Morgan interview?
GC: Oh yes! This is far more interesting than his stupid show.
Would you be willing to direct a reality show starring Charlie Sheen?
GC: Oh my god, I would do it free for Charlie. It’s reached the level of art. I mean wow. I like the way he called Thomas Jefferson a pussy 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 don’t understand it. It’s fantastic!
Did you know he just joined Twitter and set a world record for getting 1,000,000 followers in a day?
GC: He did?
Yes, the Guinness people verified it.
GC: It totally makes sense to me. I mean this guy is kind of liked a coked-up Yoda.
Are you on Twitter?
GC: No but what you just told me I think it’s changed my mind about the whole thing. I just thought it was so lame, and all you’re doing is inviting every psycho and subhuman out there to just go for it. And what do people usually tweet? You read Kanye West and all these people like, ‘I’m taking a shit now. I’m at a restaurant and I’m eating chocolate soufflé ya’ll.’ I mean what the fuck? Who gives a fuck? It’s stupid.
Twitter is a perfect platform for Sheen though, he has so many one-liners.
GC: That’s what I mean. This guy’s brilliant, he’s a philosopher of our devolved culture. He impresses me with the shit he says, it’s 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?
GC: We’d be honored. Any of our songs that he wanted to sing.
What else do you have going on today?
GC: Well actually now I realize what I have to do today, which is since Mark doesn’t want to tour, I need to ask Charlie Sheen if he’ll be our lead singer! I mean that would be DEVO and it would be tremendous! Can’t you see him singing and taking a drag of a cigarette in between?
I think he would do a great “Uncontrollable Urge.”
GC: Fuck that’d be great. We’ll 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?
GC: Run children, run as fast as you can.
- City: Solana Beach
- Venue: Belly Up Tavern, 143 S Cedros Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075
- Dates: March 20, 2011
- Address: 143 S Cedros Ave