“Satisfaction (Can't Get No),” DEVO
DEVO was the first rock 'n' roll circus act to dazzle me. Long before I heard them sing a single note I first read about them — in a science fiction magazine profile, cracking wise and even somewhat presciently about the future. Their industrial suits and goggles, the tweaking of retro-kitsch into something that could be seen either as corny or repulsive, depending on the moment, was smarty-pants MAD magazine stuff that held more appeal for me than the blunter aesthetic of their other punk compatriots. Rumors that they weren't at all disinclined to mix it up with disgruntled audience members only heightened their mystique. Like Spike Jones before them, they were deadly serious about their joking around.
So is their perversion of the Rolling Stones' anthem the final word on the so-called counter-culture of the 60s gone mainstream? Is it a jazz approach to rock 'n' roll? Or is it just another act in the ongoing circus, producing infectious fun for all?
All of the above, I think. And I still dig it.