About this project
[Operated by: Jeff E. Winner]
FINAL DAY of our Kickstarter funding campaign — watch this exclusive early edit preview focusing on DEVO's mysterious origins during the Kent State shootings in 1970:
UPDATE: Thanks to you, we've met our initial goal, but that was in fact a modest step to move forward, and we really need much more to deliver the Film U Want. Please summon all Spuds in this Wiggly World to contribute so we can secure the vintage film rights (expensive properties like SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, DAVID LETTERMAN, and many others), visual archives, and all cultural textures that surround this amazing group and their history!
Produced in cooperation with DEVO, this feature-length documentary has been in development for 3 years...
Although the band has been notoriously secretive for nearly 4 decades, they have granted us unprecedented full-access to their personal inner-workings and daily lives while on the road, backstage, and at home. The film is now in post-production, and we need your help to meet our goal for Sundance and other festivals.
From their origins during the 1970 Kent State shootings, to their latest album and tours, this documentary offers a funny and fascinating story that appeals to generations of art and music aficionados. Featuring new interviews with contemporaries (Iggy Pop), and followers (Dave Grohl, Tony Hawk), the official documentary reveals the truth about this important and misunderstood band with rare archival film, private home-movies, and recent concert footage.
The ARE WE NOT MEN? film delves into the brains — and the souls — behind the concept, music, and spectacle of Devo. Sculpting its music, lyrics and visuals are two men whose personalities seem different but whose worldviews are the same: introspective Mark Mothersbaugh and outspoken Gerald Casale. It is Mark and Jerry’s cataclysmic, sometimes contentious, collaboration that birthed what we know as Devo. Rounding out the group are two more members whose position cements the group as a literal band of brothers — Bob Mothersbaugh and Bob Casale. Yes, behind the curtain of this art-school façade are two fascinating and sometimes fractious families, led by Akron, Ohio’s twisted version of Lennon & McCartney — with all the genius and precariousness that would imply. It is the stories of these men — together and apart — that drive the engine that is ARE WE NOT MEN?
This is your chance to be a part of the definitive Devo documentary:
• WHY KICKSTARTER? We’re in the process of making the film, but need your help to complete it. That’s why we’re reaching out to all DEVO fans to lend a hand. In return for your support, we've created some really cool rewards that we think reflects your help in breathing life into this film.
• STATUS - 95% shot and currently editing. Estimated release date Spring 2013. Help us get this film edited, mixed, and to the festivals!
"This is the band of the future." —David Bowie, 1977
THE FUTURE IS NOW! This is the first-ever documentary about one of the most influential bands of the 20th century. The true inside story of DEVO, told in their own voices, chock-full of never-before-seen clips, interviews, and testimonials. This is the D-E-V-O film fans have been waiting for.
"Of all the bands who came fromthe underground and actually made it in the mainstream, Devo is the most challenging and subversive of all." —Kurt Cobain
WHO IS DEVO?
The trailblazing band Devo carved a unique niche apart from anything else in the rock, punk, or new wave landscape. Marrying ultra catchy electro-pop riffs to colorful, iconic imagery, they took the embryonic MTV by storm — most famously with the hit “Whip It.” Their matching BVDs and yellow chemical suits marked them as the video pioneers of a new era, and their trademark sound and style influenced music, culture and technology through the 1980s and ‘90s, paving the way for bands from Nirvana to Nine Inch Nails.
But Devo was more than highly stylized visuals and quirky riffs. They were conceptual. Political.
Devo took their name from the concept of "de-evolution.” It posited that society, rather than progressing forward and celebrating the individual, was actually going backwards — thanks to dubious modern inventions like assembly lines and conveyor belts which turned people into mind-numbing drones. Herd mentality and the dysfunction of American corporate society was making mankind into an unthinking swarm of insects. It was a message Reagan-era America found increasingly hard to swallow, if they really even understood it at all.
As Devo sang in one of their other key songs from the era, “Freedom of choice is what you got/Freedom from choice is what you want.”
Today, Devo’s musings on humanity and culture seem sadly to have come true. We’re all Devo! And so now they’ve returned — less triumphant than rueful — with a new record and a new tour to ‘play us out.’
“We’re like the house band on the Titanic, playing as the ship goes down” —co-founder, Gerald Casale
THE BAND MEMBERS: DEVO
• Mark Mothersbaugh - One of the founding members of DEVO, Mark’s passion has always been art of all kinds. In addition to being one of DEVO’s lead singers, songwriters and the creator of many of the band’s signature synthesizer sounds, Mark is also a visual artist. Mark is also the founder and lead composer at Mutato Muzika, a highly successful commercial music studio based in Los Angeles. Mark’s music can be heard in film scores (Life Aquatic, The Tennenbaums, Rugrats, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), television theme songs, video games and commercials. In all aspects, Mark Mothersbaugh permeates popular culture.
• Gerald V. Casale aka Gorji, Chinaman, and Lt. Casanova - Casale, commonly referred to as “Jerry”, is the other founding member of DEVO. He is the man behind DEVO’s intricate bass parts, as well as the band’s other lead singer and songwriter. In addition to these duties, Jerry masterminded the design of many of the band’s now-iconic fashions, such as the red Energy Dome, plastic pompadour, and yellow radiation suits. Jerry also directed or co-directed many of DEVO’s pioneering music videos. Jerry is also a well-known director of commercials, and music videos for other artists, including The Cars, Rush, A Perfect Circle, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, and Silverchair.
• Bob Mothersbaugh aka Clown - Brother of Mark, commonly referred to as “Bob 1”, he is responsible for DEVO’s signature guitar sound. Coming from a blues background, Bob 1 brought a rock edge to DEVO’s innovative synthesizer-based music when the band first started. His guitar parts in such songs as “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA” screamed in contrast to the band’s self-perpetuated robotic image, netting fans that might not have otherwise paid the band any attention. He produces soundtracks for film and television, such as All Grown Up, How to Eat Fried Worms, and the animated Nickelodeon TV series Rugrats as part of the company Mutato Muzika. In Kent State Vietnam protests, he was involved in burning the ROTC building down.
• Bob Casale - Brother of Jerry, commonly referred to as “Bob 2”, he is the backbone of DEVO. Throughout the band’s early years, he would often switch between playing rhythm guitar and synthesizer. As the band grew more independent in later years, by necessity, Bob taught himself the ins and outs of audio recording and engineering. Bob is a well-respected producer and engineer, and his credits include David Byrne, The Vandals, and Andy Summers of The Police. In his spare time, Bob is known as quite a fine chef.
• Josh Freese - The new kid (joined in 1996) - Josh is the music industry’s number one most popular session drummer. He is well-known as a member of The Vandals, Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses, Weezer, and A Perfect Circle. DEVO, however, holds a very special place for him. As a gift, while a very young boy, Josh received a copy of DEVO’s Freedom of Choice LP. This is the album that inspired him to learn the drums. He began playing professionally at the age of 12. Now, 25 years later, Josh has appeared on over 300 records (many of which, he admits he’s never heard).
• Booji Boy - The infantile spirit of de-evolution. He is as old as the mountains, and he is yet unborn. Throughout his career with DEVO, he has died and been resurrected at least twice. When not helping the band to close their concerts, he is looked after by his babysitter, Mark Mothersbaugh. He is also an important member of the De-Evolutionary Army, smuggling secret documents to his father, and the army's leader, General Boy.
“We’re still waiting to get to where DEVO was in 1979.” —Dave Grohl
• TONY PEMBERTON - DIRECTOR - The director of the Are We Not Men? film has written, directed, and edited short films, music videos, and features, and produced the 35mm feature film Beyond the Ocean that received a Jury Award nomination at Sundance in 2000. He's worked in Russia directing commercials, TV, and at an advertising agency in the late-1990s. He has been cited by Variety as one of "10 Directors to Watch."
• ROBERTA FRIEDMAN - PRODUCER - Roberta began her career in radio as producer of the KPFK series, "Richland Woman." From there she segued into creating film titles and opticals, leading to special effects with Lucasfilm on Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back — specializing in sparks, matte work, and swords. Friedman continued in post-production working on such notable features as Ragtime, Days of Heaven, and Hair.
• LEE DANIEL - DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY - Cinematographer Lee Daniel earned his chops collaborating with filmmaker and fellow Austin resident Richard Linklater, first on Slacker (1991), and then on a string of other successful projects (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Fast Food Nation, and subUrbia). The Austin resident shot Margaret Brown’s heart-wrenching study of Townes Van Zandt, Be Here to Love Me (2004), as well as director Keven McAlester’s compelling tribute to Roky Erickson, You’re Gonna Miss Me (2005).
What happens if the money isn’t raised in time? Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. Your credit card or debit card will not be charged.
How much is shipping? Absolutely nothing in most cases — we'll take care of the costs. Whether you live in France or Japan, we'll ship it there for free if you are in the general vicinity of known places. If you live off of the grid, or your area is complicated, we reserve the right to ask for the postage if excessive.
How will you use the extra money you're raising? We'd like to have the right tools and ingredients to make a great film about DEVO. The money we've raised so far covers only a fraction of the cost of making this film. Currently we are in production, so we are still looking for funds to cover the enormous cost of post production-editing, sound mixing, color correction etc. Every pledge helps us to avoid taking short cuts as we get one step closer to finishing this film about DEVO.
If I become an associate producer, how will we find out about the festivals to attend as part of your rewards program? We’ll contact you personally. We’ve attended a ton of them in the past, so we will be able to give you the full low down after we’ve had a chance to talk to you.
Can I add someone else's name to the credits instead of mine? Yes, once the campaign ends, Kickstarter will allow us to send out surveys requesting everyone's information, shipping addresses etc. You'll be able to submit someone else's name in lieu of yours at this time.
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