How Devo Became Devo

Studio 360
Devo in 1981

Devo's catchy futuristic-disco song "Whip It" and their iconic flowerpot-like headgear put them on the pop culture map in the 1980s. But the band has surprisingly serious origins. Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale were students at Ohio's Kent State University when National Guard troops shot and killed four student protesters demonstrating against the war in Vietnam. The shootings profoundly affected Mothersbaugh and Casale --- and led to Devo's art-rock aesthetic.

They called it Devo to call attention to the "devolution" of society they saw around them. "Nobody was really talking about the issues in the arts. We thought, 'Well this is a time for us to do something, to say something.' And that's how we began," Mothersbaugh says.

(Originally aired April 3, 2009)

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