The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'devo'


The BBC interviews Gerald Casale of US new-wave band DEVO on the Scottish independence referendum, and in particular, of the suggested middle option of maximum devolution within the UK, popularly known as "Devo Max". Casale appears to have been following the debate, and even suggests a rewrite of one of DEVO's songs for the campaign.

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In what is an echo of both the New Order Sunkist commercial and the self-jamming Nike billboards, anti-commercial New Wave band Devo have rerecorded their song "Whip It" for a cleaning product commercial. The ad shows middle-aged women dancing robotically whilst cleaning their suburban homes, while the music plays; the chorus has been changed to "Swiffer's good":

Devo agreed to perform the altered version for Swiffer advertisements because, Mr. Mothersbaugh said, "it was so absurd. We like messing with the boundaries between art and commerce."

Blatant sell-out, a clever subversion of consumerism, both or neither? It increasingly seems like the lines are blurred, every anti-consumerist culture jam becomes a viral marketing campaign and vice versa, with a hair's breadth of ironic detachment separating the cognisant from the suckers.

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A piece interviewing Mark Mothersbaugh, former member of Devo, SubGenius minister, and film-score composer:

To resolve some of the contradictions between his earlier band and his current line of work, Mothersbaugh said that for a while he would slip subversive messages into his advertising music. He claimed to have inserted a subliminal voice saying ``sugar will rot your teeth'' into a commercial for Gummi Savers. He said he also added ``avoid conspicuous consumption'' to a campaign for BMW and ``biology is destiny'' to a cosmetics commercial.

(He's now making ring tones for Nokia?)

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