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Devo is an American Art Punk / New Wave multimedia music group from Ohio.

Song lyrics


All songs written by Gerald V. Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, unless noted.

Singles (b-sides)

  • Take a step outside yourself / Then you turn around / Take a look at who you are / It's pretty scary.
    • Turnaround (1980)
  • It's not nuclear bombs we must fear but the human mind itself (or lack of it) on this planet.
  • Lies, lies, lies. That's all we get from those who pretend to know but don't!
  • But once again DEVO attempts to cut through the mental grease and grime with techniques of positive mutation designed to protect you from the ninnies and the twits.
  • It's time to seek out new traditions.
    • Nu-Tra Speaks (New Traditionalist Man) (1981) spoken word b-side written by Gerald V. Casale
  • This is the boy who burns the books / This is the way he always looks / This is the boy who smashed his car / This is the boy who went too far / Washed his eyes with yellow soap / He stole his daddy's microscope.
    • Mecha-Mania Boy (1981)
  • Big people set the trap for you / Using you-know-what for brains / You're just another lab experiment / And you're easy to replace.
    • Growing Pains (1984)
  • Got an urge i wanna purge / 'Cause i'm losing control.
  • I got my head down to my lungs and move my feet.
  • They say the fittest shall survive / Yet the unfit may live / Wear gaudy colors or avoid display / Hey it don't matter / It's all the same.
  • Guess i'm just a spudboy / Looking for that real tomato.
    • Smart Patrol /Mr.DNA
  • She sends out an aroma of undefined love / It drips on down in a mist from above.
  • A victim of collision on the open sea / Nobody ever said that life was free.
  • Use your freedom of choice.
  • In ancient Rome there was a poem / About a dog that had two bones / He picked at one he licked the other / He went in circles till he dropped dead.
  • Freedom of choice is what you got / Freedom from choice is what you want.
  • Twist away those gates of steel / Unlock the secret voice.
  • A man's not made of steel / A man is real that's how he feels.
  • Love without anger isn't love at all.
  • Why believe in things that make it tough on you.
    • Love Without Anger
  • It's a wonderful time to be here / It's nice to be alive.
  • It's a wonderful place / For you.
  • It's a beautiful world / For YOU / Not ME.
  • None of you would help me when I baked my bread / Now all of you would help me eat it / I can see that you are very well fed / This indicates that you don't need it.
  • Remember to do nothing when you don't know what to do.
  • The way that we weren't is what we'll become.
  • Laugh if you want to / Or say you don't care / If you cannot see it / You think it's not there / It doesn't work that way.
  • In this land where stability is hard to find / You can rearrange the patterns so unkind.
    • Patterns

Shout (1984)

  • Love comes in spurts.
    • Please Please
  • Beautiful mutants I can see in the distance / I think they're calling our name.
  • Not necessarily beautiful / But mutated.
  • Life must be eaten or at least bitten into to get past the surface.
    • Some Things Never Change
  • You only punch yourself out when you start swinging blind.
    • Plain Truth
  • Like a fish in the water / You don't know where you've been / 'Til you jump out and take a look around / At the big picture.
    • The Big Picture
  • Subhuman bloodless leaders / Fed on lies and fear / And tv anchor news teams / Trim all we see and hear.
  • Besides, God isn't dead / He's in your head / Right where he ought to be.
    • DEVO Has Feelings Too
  • One thing's always the same / No matter what they say / There's way too many problems / Way, way too many problems.
  • But wishin' is for chumps / High hopin' is for fools / They'll hunt you down / and taze you bro / for playin' with the rules.
    • Don't Shoot (I'm a Man), (2009)
  • Turn the page on the demons in your head.
    • Step Up
  • We push against the rest of life / As if we can survive without the world around us / Can’t have a rainbow without the rain / Can’t have a painting without the pain / Can’t have a lover walk out without the love leaving with them.
  • There’s no place like home / No place like home / To return to.
    • No Place Like Home

Other works

General Boy: "In the past this information has been suppressed but now it can be told. Every man, woman and mutant on this planet shall know the truth about De-Evolution."
Booji Boy: "Oh Dad, we're ALL Devo!"
  • Released in 1981 in U.S.A.
  • Jerry. Alan. Mark. Bob I. Bob II.
    • DEVO introduce themselves.

Rod Rooter: Yeah! She Didn't Know I Was A Midget. That's hot, that's hot! Parcheesi - a new group. Shipped platinum. Huh ho, killer.
Why can't you guys cut stuff like that?
Bob Mothersbaugh: Well, I guess we like ideas.
Rod Rooter: Yeah, well, I guess we like to talk in tonnage.

  • Alan Myers: Then when you put the king in this position the game is over.
    Woman: What a dull game.
    • Alan, demonstrating chess to a woman at Club D-EVO.

  • People accuse us of trying to be glamorous! We don't wear these because we like them. We have to! They're protective gear.

  • We're sucking the gooey cellulite from modern music. Reductive synthesis. We do it all for you.
  • Question for all you who should know much better but don't / With your brains and your instincts around you / Why do you still blow it?
  • I have been hurt / I will hurt others / That's what he said / That's what he said.
  • Maybe the time's come / To use what you got / For some good.
    • That's What He Said videogame soundtrack

  • It's a modern life but it's not what you're looking for.
  • You try to make a difference but you're just another man.
    • Modern Life (recorded 1982, completed & released 1999) Interstate '82 videogame soundtrack

  • We're all special, everyone of us / We're all beautiful in our own way / We're all a part of a great big wad / And nothin' could be finer.

  • There is no zombie in the closet / There is no thing underneath the bed / There's no alien abduction / The monster's in your head.

Quotes by members

  • What we seek then, is that transcendent state most fully engendered by Fred Flintstone -- technologically sophisticated cave-man.
    • Bob Lewis Readers vs. Breeders: Didactical Works re De-Evolution (1972) Essay, originally published 1972-07-14 in the Los Angeles underground newspaper The Staff AKA LA Staff, republished in 2007 at (archived link)
  • Like the Bible, devolution is basically an extended joke. One man's doughnut is another man's death.
  • Today's noise is tomorrow's hootenanny.
    • DEVO Press Kit (1980) [1]
  • We do give straight answers, but nobody believes them.
  • Being in a band is really great when you're 20. When you're 30, it's kind of 'Spinal Tap,' and when you're 40, it's just pathetic.
  • We denounce this as impostors playing with fire.
    • Gerald V. Casale post on DEVO website (2007), in reference to the band Korn's use of Devolution to promote a single.[4]
  • One thing we learned from the hippies was that rebellion was obsolete. Hippies turned into safe little yuppies, and punks turned into safety pin wearing paraphernalia consumers. You can't fight the system head-to-head. It is like, "I fought the law and the law won." They will kick your butt each time.
    • Mark Mothersbaugh (25 December 2007), Home Front Invasion Wartime Interview with Mark Mothersbaugh [5]
  • As the Chinese proverb goes, the nail that sticks out gets pounded. You are especially scrutinized and judged if your success carries any whiff of change or controversy. If you challenge authority in any real manner, your voice in the marketplace is quickly revoked.
    • Gerald V. Casale Watch Us Work It: A reflection on “work” by Devo founder, Gerald V. Casale (2011) Essay, published 2011-06-26, in Essay Collection at
  • We’re inspired by reality because the world is so ridiculous and stupid. DE-EVOLUTION IS REAL.

Quotes about Devo

  •  ...when I was in high school, I dressed like a punk rocker and people would scream "Devo!" at me - because Devo infiltrated the mainstream. Out of all the bands who came from the underground and actually made it in the mainstream, Devo is the most subversive and challenging of all. They're just awesome. I love them.
  •  This is the band of the future. I'm going to produce them in Tokyo this winter.
  • Devo, I think, is great. I love them. They are like Dadaists to me. Everything that they express is a complete reaction against everything that we stood for. But they do it so well, theatrically speaking. And with a great sense of humor. I love it. Now as far as putting on a Devo album? It wouldn’t be something I would do. It’s the visuals that make them fresh and fascinating to me.
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