Gerald Casale

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Gerald Casale
DevoJerry78.jpg
Gerald Casale in 1978
Background information
Birth name Gerald Vincent Pizzute
Born (1948-07-28) July 28, 1948 (age 66)
Origin United States
Genres New wave, post-punk, synthpop, alternative rock
Occupations Musician, singer, songwriter, music video director
Instruments Vocals, synthesizer, bass, guitar, keyboards
Years active 1972–present
Associated acts Devo, Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers and The Network

Gerald Vincent Casale (born Gerald Vincent Pizzute, July 28, 1948), often known as Jerry Casale, is a vocalist, bass guitar/synthesizer player, and a founding member (with Mark Mothersbaugh and Bob Lewis) of the new wave band Devo. Along with Mothersbaugh, whom he met at Kent State University, Casale co-wrote most of Devo's material (including the hit "Whip It"), designed Devo's distinctive attire (including the Energy Dome, plastic pompadours, and yellow radiation suits) over the years with Mothersbaugh, and directed most of Devo's videos. He has also directed videos for other artists, including The Cars ("Panorama"), Rush ("Superconductor"), A Perfect Circle ("Imagine"), Foo Fighters ("I'll Stick Around"), Soundgarden ("Blow Up the Outside World"), and Silverchair ("Freak" and "Cemetery"), among others.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Casale was raised in Kent, Ohio, United States. He graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1966.[1] After graduation, he attended Kent State University, majoring in Art. In the late 1960s, he was a self-described hippie, until the May 4, 1970 shootings. Being involved with Freshman orientation at the KSU Honors College, he personally knew two of the victims, Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause, and was near Krause when she was shot. Casale described that day in multiple interviews as being "the day I stopped being a hippie".[2] Together with Bob Lewis and Mark Mothersbaugh, Casale used the shooting as a catalyst to develop the concept of Devolution, forming the band Devo in 1973.[citation needed]

Before Devo, Gerald played bass, after switching from drums, with Kent, Ohio blues band 15-60-75, also known as "The Numbers Band." Casale caused friction in the group by suggesting they incorporate advertising jingles and other "lowbrow culture" elements into their music. He was forced out of the band, allegedly, after slipping either an ape mask, or a Colonel Sanders mask on during a performance. Casale began to focus primarily on Devo at this point, developing the band's distinct visual style, and working closely with Mothersbaugh and Lewis to create a performance art group.[citation needed]

Describing himself as Devo's "chief strategist", Casale is responsible for much of Devo's distinct visual appearance, designing their costumes including the Energy Dome. He also directed most of Devo's music videos, along with Chuck Statler. Casale also directs music videos for other artists, including Rush, The Cars, Soundgarden, Silverchair, and Foo Fighters. In addition to music video, Casale also directed a number of television commercials, including ads for Diet Coke and Honda Scooters featuring Devo, as well as for Coco's restaurants, and Miller Lite. Distinctive elements of Casale's visual style include dutch angles, desaturated color, and color washes on images.[citation needed]

In 2005, Casale created a solo project, Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers. The album, Mine is Not a Holy War was a more blues-oriented album than Devo's output and featured performances of two early Devo songs, along with a B-side from 1982, and a cover of "He's Always There" by The Yardbirds. While Jihad Jerry never toured, the theatrical character appeared with Devo at several shows in 2006, as well as on the Fox News program "Red Eye." Casale abandoned the Jihad Jerry character in 2007;[3] however, he donned the Jihad Jerry turban for a performance with UK-based DJ and producer Adam Freeland at the South by Southwest music festival in 2009.[citation needed] In 2009 he participated in the project Die Alten Maschinen, together with the Czech producer and composer Moimir Papalescu. EP "To Be Or Not", in which Gerald Casale participated as an author, was released on vinyl. At the same time, the song "To Be Or Not" in a different version appeared on the album "Songs About Love And Machines", which was released in 2010.

Casale has played several types of bass guitars, left-handed, mostly heavily customized. Among the most distinctive is a teardrop shaped bass, actually a Gibson Ripper with its horns sawed off and a thick arm padding added to the top side, as seen in videos for "Satisfaction" and "Come Back Jonee". From 1981 on, in performance, Gerald Casale has used a right-handed Steinberger L-Series bass guitar, played upside down. He has also played various keyboard basses, including a MiniMoog, a custom six-oscillator Moog keybass, and a Roland D-50. Currently, Casale uses a Korg synthesizer for bass.[citation needed]

Outside of his musical and directorial pursuits, Casale has taken a deep interest in wine since moving to California in 1978.[4] In the 1990s he taught classes in wine tasting for three years during Devo's hiatus.[5] In 2014 he announced that he would be opening a new wine company, The 50 by 50, selling Pinot noirs.[6]

Videography[edit]

(Items marked with a * were co-directed with Chuck Statler.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Prufer, Jason (August 7, 2011). "DEVO's Seminal 1975 Night on Kent State's Front Campus". Kent Patch. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  2. ^ Knight , Brian L. (2005). Oh Yes, It’s Devo: An Interview with Jerry Casale. The Vermont Review, 2005. Retrieved on 2010-05-04 from http://vermontreview.tripod.com/Interviews/devo.htm.
  3. ^ "BIYL Interview Gerald Casale of Devo". June 2007. 
  4. ^ "A Drink With: Gerald Casale". October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Devo Frontman Is Whipped by Wine". September 2010. 
  6. ^ "Devo's Gerald Casale Starting New Wine Company, the 50 by 50...No Spuds Involved". April 2014. 

External links[edit]