Alan Myers (drummer)

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Alan Myers
Awnm stkr.jpg
Myers in 2006
Background information
Also known as Human Metronome
Born 1955
Akron, Ohio, United States
Died June 24, 2013(2013-06-24) (aged 58)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • music programmer
  • electrical contractor
Instruments
  • Drums
  • percussion
Years active 1976–2013
Associated acts
Notable instruments

Alan Myers (1955 – June 24, 2013) was an American punk rock drummer whose music career spanned more than 30 years. He came to prominence in the late 1970s as the third and most prominent drummer of the new wave band Devo, replacing Jim Mothersbaugh. Myers was known for the precision of his drumming, especially on the complex and often bizarre rhythms Devo used on their albums. He was often called the Human Metronome.[4]

Early years[edit]

Alan Myers was born in Akron, Ohio, and came from a jazz background. In 1976 he met Bob Mothersbaugh in a café in West Akron, and went to the house Bob and Gerald Casale were renting for an audition.[5]

Career[edit]

Devo[edit]

In early 1970, Bob Lewis and Gerald Casale formed the idea of the "devolution" of the human race after Casale's friend Jeffrey Miller was killed by Ohio National Guardsmen firing on a student demonstration.[6] Myers joined Devo in 1976, replacing Jim Mothersbaugh following his departure, and played on a conventional, acoustic drum kit. After the band underwent a few line-up changes, Myers became part of the most popular five-piece incarnation, which included the Casale brothers: Gerald and Bob ("Bob 2"), and the Mothersbaugh brothers: Mark and Bob ("Bob 1"), and played on Devo's first six studio albums. In 1981, Myers with Devo served as Toni Basil's backing band on Word of Mouth, her debut album, which included versions of three Devo songs, recorded with Basil singing lead.[7][8]

Some of the tracks on the album New Traditionalists featured drum machines for the first time on a Devo album, and most of the music on their next album Oh, No! It's Devo was created by electronic means, while Shout was made almost entirely using the Fairlight CMI digital sampling synthesizer.

He left between 1986 and 1987 following the commercial failure of their sixth studio album Shout. According to the book We Are Devo, Myers cited a lack of creative fulfilment as his reason for leaving the band. This was something that he had felt since Devo's move to Los Angeles, California, in the late 1970s due to the band's increased use of drum machines and electronics which had greatly reduced Myers' role in the band. He left the band even though Gerald Casale had begged him not to.[9]

Among all of Devo's drummers, Myers is the one most associated with the band.[10] In 1987, Devo reformed with new drummer David Kendrick, formerly of Sparks to replace Myers.

Other work[edit]

After he had left Devo, Myers went to work as an electrical contractor, but also remained active in the Los Angeles music scene.[4] He recorded a demo with Babooshka, a band that was his girlfriend Greta Ionita's creation, using live drums as well as electronic percussion similar to his last two albums with Devo. Myers also played drums with the Asian-themed pop band Jean Paul Yamamoto.[11] In 2005, he founded the band Skyline Electric which played monthly shows in art galleries and clubs in Los Angeles. The line-up at the time of Myers death included his wife, Christine (Sugiyama) Myers, and an assortment of other experimental musicians.[12] In 2010, Myers began playing in the live ensemble of musical project Swahili Blonde with his daughter, Laena Geronimo (Myers-Ionita).[13]

Death[edit]

On June 24, 2013, Myers died at the age of 58, in Los Angeles, California, due to stomach cancer[4][14] News reports at the time of his death incorrectly cited a brain tumor as the cause.[4][15][16] Myers' death was first reported on Facebook by his friend Ralph Carney, a jazz musician who knew him in Devo's hometown of Akron, Ohio, and his death came a day after the release of Devo's compilation album Something Else for Everybody.

Gerald Casale tweeted that Myers was "the most incredible drummer I had the privilege to play with for 10 years. Losing him was like losing an arm."[17] And Josh Freese tweeted that Myers was "1 of [his] all time favs. An underrated/brilliant drummer. Such an honor playing his parts w/Devo. Godspeed Human Metronome."[18]

On June 28, 2013, Skyline Electric performed a tribute to Myers at Human Resources Los Angeles in Los Angeles's Chinatown.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Long, Pat (2009-05-02). "Pat Long meets new wave 80s oddballs Devo, who are intent on making a comeback". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2012-05-09. 
  2. ^ "Devo". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-09-30. 
  3. ^ Steinberg and Michael Kehler (2010), p.355
  4. ^ a b c d Danton, Eric R (26 June 2013). "Alan Myers, Devo Drummer on 'Whip It,' Dead at 58". Rolling Stone. 
  5. ^ Diehl, Matt (28 June 2013). "Devo Bandmates Remember Late Drummer Alan Myers". Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Paul Vermeersch: A brief history of Devo, Part 1, October 21, 2014, retrieved August 4, 2015 
  7. ^ "Mickey — Toni Basil". Top One Hit Wonders. Retrieved 2014-05-26. 
  8. ^ Gruber, Xaque. "'Mickey' Turns 30: A Closer Look at the One and Only Toni Basil". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-05-26. 
  9. ^ https://twitter.com/Gvc3Casale/status/349761230120026113
  10. ^ "Former DEVO drummer Alan Myers loses cancer battle". uberrock.co.uk. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Jean Paul Yamamoto". Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Skyline Electric". Retrieved 12 September 2007. 
  13. ^ "Devo whipping up first album since 1990". Reuters. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 
  14. ^ "Alan Myers Obituary". Drum Magazine. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  15. ^ Roberts, Randall (June 26, 2013). "Alan Myers, longtime Devo drummer, has died". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 27, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Devo drummer Alan Myers dies of brain cancer". Associated Press. June 26, 2013. 
  17. ^ https://twitter.com/Gvc3Casale/status/349760677684068352
  18. ^ https://twitter.com/joshfreese/status/349752425843920897
  19. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/alan-myers-devo-drummer-on-whip-it-dies-20130626

External links[edit]