Kent State alumni from Devo up for nomination at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Vanessa Gresley

Music fans only have a few more days to vote for Devo, the groundbreaking rock band formed out of Kent State, who are up for nomination at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Voting is open until Sunday, Dec. 9.

“Devo really sprouted out of Kent State and out of the Kent State University School of Art. It’s probably one of the greatest art projects that ever came out of the school,” said Jason Prufer, the author of the upcoming book “Small Town, Big Music: The Outsized Influence of Kent, Ohio, on the History of Rock and Roll.”

The band filmed some of their first music videos in places like the Governance Chamber and Brewhouse, which was JB’s at the time, Prufer said.

The band was formed by art students Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, both Kent State alumni. Casale is a graduate of the university and Mothersbaugh was given an honorary Ph.D. in 2008.

“They are Devo in the same sense that John Lennon and Paul McCartney are the Beatles, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are the Rolling Stones,” Prufer said. “It’s Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale, if it’s not those two it’s not Devo.”

Casale was front and center for the shootings of May 4, 1970. In the preview for the DEVO documentary “Are We Not Men?,” Casale said it wasn’t until witnessing the shootings that he “really snapped.” Inspired by the shootings, Devo set out to use music to report on what they were looking at, which they called de-evolution.

Devo’s top hits include “Whip It”, Working In The Coal Mine” and “Theme from Doctor Detroit.” Their  music video for “Whip It” made big waves on MTV shortly after the channel launched in 1981.

Other artists up for nomination this year include Def Leppard, Radiohead and Janet Jackson.

Vanessa Gresley is the housing reporter. Contact her at [email protected].