That Time Ray Interviewed Gerry Casale of Devo

In my 16 years writing in the music industry, I covered many genres, though metal and punk were my bread and butter. I was blessed to have interviewed more than 300 artists in my time on the scene. Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Rob Halford, Nicko McBrain, Marky Ramone, Nita Strauss, David Coverdale, Lita Ford, Doro Pesch, Glenn Danzig, Serj Tankian, Sebastian Bach, Otep, Ace Frehley, Dee Snider, Biff Byford, Jacoby Shaddix, just to name a few…

I was enjoying a ride through my portfolio of tear sheets from this gratifying period of my writing life, and I may throw a few scans here at Roads Lesser Traveled if readership interest is there.

For now, I want to share one of my favorite interview assignments ever, Gerry Casale of 80s new wave legends, Devo. I was always a fan of Devo back in the day and spun in my desk chair faster than one of the band’s spiraling energy dome hats when the offer was put before me. I bounced around my office singing the chorus of Devo’s stomping sociological rant, “Freedom of Choice.” “Freedom of choice…is what you got…freedom from choice…is what you want…”

I interviewed Gerry in 2011 for The Big Takeover as Devo had just released their superb comeback album, Something For Everybody. My chat on the phone with Gerry was one of the most memorable I’ve drawn in my career–and I’ve had a ton of memorable interview sessions done backstage, on tour buses, hotel rooms, in bars and restaurants and over the phone.

Gerry was there at the Kent State riot in 1970, the year I was born. You can’t wholly detect it in word, but over the phone, Gerry had a grim and somber recount of the event I’ll never forget. I even got Gerry to talk about Devo’s apperance on the short-lived 80s teen show Square Pegs, a beginning point for Sarah Jessica Parker.

Have a go with this enlightening chat with one of the all-time greats of counterculture music:

–Ray Van Horn, Jr.

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