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Case Number 27084: Small Claims Court

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Devo: The Complete Truth about De-Evolution

MVD Visual // 1972 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // March 15th, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum is through being cool and must whip it, but he can't get no satisfaction!

The Charge

Are we not men? We are DEVO!

The Case

DEVO was founded around 1972 in the unlikely state of Ohio. The classic lineup of the band included two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs (Mark and Bob) and the Casales (Gerald and Bob), along with Alan Myers. They were geeks making rock music, and they ushered in the electronic-driven sound of the New Wave. 1980's "Whip It" was their biggest hit, but DEVO had a devoted following that has let them make music for over four decades. The name came from an idea that mankind is "de-evolving," and rather than progressing falling apart in an apocalyptic mass of bad behavior. When a problem comes along, you must whip it!

Videos include:
• "Devo Corporate Anthem"
• "Secret Agent Man"
• "Jocko Homo"
• "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
• "Come Back Jonee"
• "The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprise"
• "Worried Man"
• "Whip It"
• "Girl U Want"
• "Freedom of Choice"
• "Through Being Cool"
• "Love Without Anger"
• "Beautiful World"
• "Time Out for Fun"
• "Peek-A-Boo"
• "That's Good"
• "Theme From Doctor Detroit"
• "Disco Dancer"
• "Post Post Modern Man (original and remix)"

Devo: The Complete Truth release has been out in a couple of forms including one by Rhino video in the mid-2000s. This is an MVD edition, and it has some differences which I will try to illuminate for you. First up, the quality of the video seems rougher around the edges as if this DVD was mastered from a little less pristine source. For the most part that is not a deal-breaking problem when you consider DEVO was largely a band of note during the early days of MTV and pioneers of the low-tech video look. Still, colors suffer a bit, and detail is not as high. The sound is clear enough with stereo working well without any hiss or distortion.

Most every video DEVO made is here in the correct full-screen ratio. There are still title cards and sometimes abrupt endings, but on the whole this is certainly better than scrounging through YouTube in hopes of getting a good quality upload. Fans had a beef with Rhino not including a couple of songs, and here we get one and not the other. MVD does include the missing video for "Theme from Doctor Detroit," but "Are You Experienced?" remains missing from the catalog, thanks to a legal battle with the Jimi Hendrix estate.

Extras are plentiful! More footage of the primitive live early gigs are here, so that's a nice touch that should make fans happy. There is the commentary with Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale which was recorded a long while ago, but they offer a great oral history of the band and it's truly invaluable for fans who want their DEVO mythology straight from the source.

There are also these features:
• Interview with Director Chuck Statler—the man who helped DEVO pioneer the early days of video.
• Slideshow—100 slides of text and photos about the band
• Early Live Footage—1972 video of the band playing Kent State
• "Mongoloid," a film by Bruce Conner—a 1976 project that DEVO scored
• DEVO Releases—a slideshow of album covers and merchandise
• Booji Boy My Struggle—a largely silent film with text about Booji Boy, the band's mascot
• The Deal—another slideshow about record deals made with DEVO
• Laser Disc Commercials—ad spots when Devo pimped out Pioneer's Laser Disc
• "Big Entertainment" Clips—Lorraine Newman and another guy doing funny bits about DEVO
• "Gates of Steel"—a live 1980 song caught on tape
• Uncontrollable Urge—another live song caught at a recent concert in Japan
• "Mongoloid"—a rough-looking performance from a reunion in 1996 at Sundance
• The Men Who Make the Music—a montage of live clips
• R U Experienced—just gives you a web address and code to get to the video clip for the song

DEVO doesn't have all surviving original members, but it still has a tight core. In 2014 we lost Bob Casale, and in 2013 Alan Myers died of stomach cancer. Right now we only have Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Mothersbaugh, and Gerald Casale to carry on the de-evolution message, but I bet they'll find a way to soldier on. This compilation captures the band at their most glorious, when DEVO were kings of the wild frontier of music videos and the New Wave movement. Devo: The Complete Truth About De-Evolution is a DVD every fan should own as a chronicle and testament to the enduring legacy of these college kids from Ohio who threw down the cool gauntlet once and for all. Freedom of choice is what you want!

The Verdict

A great record of a great band doing great things! It's a beautiful world we live in! It's a beautiful not guilty verdict!

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 94

Perp Profile

Studio: MVD Visual
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 1972
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Concerts and Musicals
• Performance

Distinguishing Marks

• Live Footage
• Interviews
• Slideshows
• Galleries


• IMDb: Mark Mothersbaugh

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