Devo's Bob Casale, founding guitarist of the genre-defying new wave band, electronic music pioneer, and wearer of the best hat in music, has died from heart failure at 61. In his honor, drop everything and dance to their breakout hit "Whip It," which might just contain one of the most memorable guitar riffs of all time.
In 1973, Casale was actually recruited to a then-unnamed band by his brother Gerald, who announced Casale's death on Facebook today with this quote: "He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got." The art students also tapped their friend Mark Mothersbaugh to join the band, as well as Mothersbaugh's brothers, Jim and Bob (known as Bob 1; Casale was Bob 2), and various other members throughout the years. Drummer Alan Myers died last year.
Devo—its name a take on the idea that society was "de-evolving"—was founded on the Kent State University campus in Ohio, somewhat as a reaction to the National Guard shootings in 1970 that killed four students during a protest.
Casale had spent the last few decades collaborating on film and television scores with Mothersbaugh, who offered this statement: "Bob was instrumental in creating the sound of projects as varied as Rugrats and Wes Anderson's films. He was a great friend. I will miss him greatly."
According to Heavy.com the band was at work putting together a collection of their legendary videos as well as a live album from a 1977 performance which will be released on Record Store Day in April.