DEVO, Eno, Bowie, Holger Czukay
December 6, 2017 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Mark Mothersbaugh says he's found tapes of (most of) DEVO jamming with Brian Eno, David Bowie, and Holger Czukay. The news dropped at a Bowie-focused even Mark spoke at in New York City. Daniel Maurer was there and has the details. Holger Czukay, bassist for Can, recounted his experience of the session in a short essay on his website. In addition, Mark also claims to have found the 24 track tape and Brian Eno's production notes for Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!, which include additional tracks with Eno's synth, and additional vocals by David Bowie. No word on any potential release yet.
posted by SansPoint (23 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
posted by philip-random at 12:16 PM on December 6

The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang
posted by thelonius at 12:16 PM on December 6 [4 favorites]

and from that Holger Czukay reminiscing ...

one evening after a delicious dinner prepared by conny’s virtual wife christa i left the round with a cup of coffee heading into the studio where devo had already set up their equipment. hmmm…i don’t know what kind of impulse i was following but i picked up their bass and started playing 'yoo doo right' (can monster movie) when the band also joined in on their instruments. out came something i had missed with can for a long time: a punky punchover strike along a railway which needed to get urgently aligned - to characterize the musical situation in a few words. the guys obviously didn’t know about 'yoo doo right' and so their playing was more characterized by the forwarding dirtiness of the 80's than the ending process of the revolutionary 60's.

But what was most important to me and why i will never forget this happening was the fact that devo didn’t care about making mistakes at all. when they got out of rhythm sync by accidental obstacles they got back in again in shortest time. after 30 minutes or so the session stopped and i had a feeling like jesus christ rising up to heaven 7. u n b e l i e v a b l e! why didn't anyone criticize my bass playing? unlike i had experienced with can who had criticized me to death so that i was unable get out a single note from my instrument anymore.

thank you, devo for the wonderful experience and the eh…successful medical treatment.

posted by philip-random at 12:20 PM on December 6 [20 favorites]

posted by rhizome at 12:23 PM on December 6

posted by aspersioncast at 12:26 PM on December 6

Mark's duty now is for my future to have this music in it.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:30 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]

That Czukay memory makes me love Devo even more.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 12:33 PM on December 6 [10 favorites]

Who was it, U2 or Devo? In an interview, I heard Eno say they never paid him, for producing their first LP.
posted by Rash at 12:50 PM on December 6

The news dropped at a Bowie-focused even

When you're all out of evens, dig deep and you might find you still have a Bowie-focused even.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:52 PM on December 6 [9 favorites]

Rash: It was the DEVO LP, but it wasn't DEVO who stiffed Brian, it was Warner Brothers.
posted by SansPoint at 1:01 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]

I hope these tapes are released with the Iggy Pop tapes Mothersbaugh mentions in this interview.
posted by cazoo at 1:24 PM on December 6 [3 favorites]

I got an uncontrollable urge.
posted by parki at 2:20 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]

Good timing, as next year marks the 40th anniversary of the album. I'm sure we'll see a deluxe edition with this stuff.
posted by tremspeed at 2:21 PM on December 6

Did you guys skip the disclaimer right at the top?

We were unsure whether this scoop about Mothersbaugh and the Bowie tapes was legit, but we decided to go with it. We signaled our concerns about the veracity of the account with reference to Billboard’s article about the Sonos event, which did not feature the same details. Commenter “M.” points out that Maurer’s Bedford and Bowery blog was published shortly before the event took place. We regret the error, and leave this post up as a fun “what-if?” exercise in speculation.
posted by anazgnos at 2:23 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]

anazgnos: That wasn't there when I posted it.
posted by SansPoint at 2:48 PM on December 6

I’m kinda glad it was a hoax because the potential letdown on hearing it suck (which was why they never released it) would’ve been bitter.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:54 PM on December 6

Another comment suggests that it wasn’t a hoax, but that there were two events. Guess we’ll have to wait for official word from Mark or DEVO, Inc.

Bare minimum, the jam session did happen, and has been confirmed by multiple participants. Mark and Jerry have also confirmed they muted Eno’s contributions to Q?A!. There may still be truth to this.
posted by SansPoint at 3:13 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]

Yes, it has been understood that Devo mixed out Eno contributions on AWNM for some time (hence, that unheard Eno elements exist on the mastertapes, if they still exist). Czukay described jamming with Devo, but he made no mention of Bowie or Eno. These known facts don't necessarily suggest that the further embellishments are also true
posted by anazgnos at 3:22 PM on December 6

*Me reading the FPP*





Oh wow."

"No word on any potential release yet."

posted by soundguy99 at 4:39 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]

These known facts don't necessarily suggest that the further embellishments are also true

The recording of the album reportedly started in October 1977 at Conny Plank’s studio in Cologne, produced by Brian Eno, while David Bowie (who basically made the album happen) had some free time between the completion of “Heroes” in Berlin and the tour that followed. Can’s Out of Reach was also recorded in October 1977; not sure which studio, but most probably their own Inner Space, near Cologne.

If it’s all a fabrication, it’s a well-researched one. Shit lines up!

(Czukay quit Can during Out of Reach, and, having heard the album, I don’t blame him. Especially if he was aware that Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO! was being recorded down the street.)
posted by Sys Rq at 6:09 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


I recall a Devo anecdote that Plank's studio was unheated, and cool.
posted by ovvl at 7:23 PM on December 6

Czukay's experience and his delight in it reminds me of "Photo Song" and is very different from Eno's statement about Devo: "They were a terrifying group of people to work with because they were so unable to experiment”.
posted by jet_silver at 7:46 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]

posted by ZipRibbons at 12:45 AM on December 7

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