Devo arguably are one of the most revered and influential bands of the new wave era. The band were also one of the early pioneers of the music video. Devo took a different and more artistic approach to making music videos. Their videos weren’t simply lip synced faux live shows that played it safe like the majority of artists during this time. Devo’s videos pushed boundaries artistically and lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh himself stated that their videos “weren’t just commercial advertisements to get on MTV”. The band were visual artists before they became musicians so it’s no wonder their style of their videos (and live shows) was quirky and off the wall with a strong anti corporate sentiment. I doubt there’s many music fan’s out there who haven’t seen their MTV staple Whip It video. Devo really kicked off the movement for more artistically minded music videos and blazed the trail for other artists to follow. The airwaves certainly would be less interesting without them.
This disc is basically Devo 101 and gives a pretty decent overview of the band’s career. Lots of great tunes presented chronologically so you can see the evolution stylistically of Devo’s use of the medium. It’s a good place to start if you’re new to the band as well as having enough rare oddities to keep the die hard fan happy too. I particularity enjoyed Bruce Conner’s collage Mongoloid video that was included in the extras. I was also pleased to see the Theme From Dr Detroit on there too as it’s definitely on of their more overlooked songs. There’s also some great live footage ranging from the early shows through to 1996.
The content on this disc was released previously on Laserdisc and on DVD by Rhino so if you already own either of these you probably don’t really need to run out and buy this edition. There’s a few bits and pieces that are new on the disc but there’s still a few quality issues that I was disappointed with. Some of the clips could’ve done with remastering and are essentially rough VHS quality. The changes in aspect ratio were annoying and a few of the clips were had poor mono quality audio. Some of the clips seemed to be cut short compared to the originals too. I guess it could be argued that this makes it a more effective document of the time keeping the original quality. The purists might be happy but if you’re taking the time to release a disc I think there should be more quality control. You could basically save yourself some cash and chuck on a Devo playlist on Youtube because some of the versions on there are better quality.
Extras include bonus live footage, Bruce Conner’s Mongoloid film, a commentary with Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald V Casale, an interview with Chuck Statler plus a photo gallery.
Although this collection isn’t entirely complete and some of the video and audio quality is a bit poor in places this is still a solid release that I’m sure fans of the band will enjoy. A little rough around the edges but still a solid collection that will fill the gap until a more polished collection comes along.
Director: Various | Country: USA | Year: 2014 | Distributor: MVD Visual | Running Time: 70 Minutes | Aspect Ratio: Various | Region: All/NTSC | Discs: 1