Casale performing live, 2008
|Birth name||Robert Edward Pizzute Jr.|
|Also known as||Bob 2|
July 14, 1952|
Kent, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||February 17, 2014
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Robert Edward "Bob" Casale, Jr. (born Robert Edward Pizzute, Jr.; July 14, 1952 – February 17, 2014), or Bob 2, was an American multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer and audio engineer.
Casale's music career spanned more than 40 years. He came to prominence in the late 1970s as the keyboardist and rhythm guitarist of the new wave band Devo, which released a Top 20 hit in 1980 with the single "Whip It". The band has maintained a cult following throughout its existence. He was the younger brother of their co-founder and bass guitarist Gerald Casale.
Robert Edward Pizzute Jr. was born on July 14, 1952, in Kent, Ohio. He was born with the last name Pizzute because his father had legally changed his name from Robert Edward Casale to that of his foster parents. In the same year as Bob's birth, his father changed his name back to his birth name. Casale graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1970 and originally trained as a radiographer.
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. Casale joined Devo in 1973, after being recruited by his brother Gerald. After the band underwent a few line-up changes, Bob Casale became part of the most popular five-piece incarnation, which consisted of two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs (Mark and Bob) and the Casales (Gerald and Bob), along with drummer Alan Myers. Casale later claimed that "[We formed the band because] it was a more immediate way of self-expression that required less money and no outside permission." In 1981, Casale 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.
Following the commercial failure of their sixth studio album Shout, Warner Bros. dropped Devo. Shortly after, claiming to feel creatively unfulfilled, Alan Myers left the band, causing the remaining band members to abandon the plans for a Shout video LP, as well as a tour. In the interim, Casale began a career as an audio engineer.
In 1987, Devo reformed with new drummer David Kendrick, formerly of Sparks to replace Myers. Their first project was a soundtrack for the flop horror film Slaughterhouse Rock, starring Toni Basil, and they released the albums Total Devo (1988) and Smooth Noodle Maps (1990), on Enigma.
In 2006, Devo worked on a project with Disney known as Devo 2.0. A band of child performers was assembled and re-recorded Devo songs. A quote from the Akron Beacon Journal stated, "Devo recently finished a new project in cahoots with Disney called Devo 2.0, which features the band playing old songs and two new ones with vocals provided by children. Their debut album, a two disc CD/DVD combo entitled DEV2.0, was released on March 14, 2006. The lyrics of some of the songs were changed for family-friendly airplay, which has been claimed by the band to be a play on irony of the messages of their classic hits. The album, Something for Everybody was eventually released in June 2010, preceded by a 12" single of "Fresh"/"What We Do".
In Devo concerts, Casale played the lead and rhythm guitar and keyboards while also working with MIDI sampling. He also sang backing vocals, both on albums and at live shows. Starting in 1984, Casale was the audio engineer for all of Devo's studio albums, including Shout, Total Devo, Smooth Noodle Maps and Something for Everybody.
As Devo's mainstream popularity waned during the mid-1980s and its various members began working on side projects, Casale transitioned to music engineering and production. He engineered and mixed Mark Mothersbaugh's first solo album Muzik for Insomniaks in 1985, which was later expanded and released as two CDs in 1988, and in the late summer of 1986, he engineered the first solo album for the Police's guitarist Andy Summers, recorded at Devo Studios in California. XYZ, featuring songs written and sung by Summers, was then released in 1987.
In 1989, Bob Casale and other members of Devo were involved in the project Visiting Kids, releasing a self-titled EP on the New Rose label in 1990. The band featured Mark Mothersbaugh's then-wife Nancye Ferguson, as well as David Kendrick, Bob Mothersbaugh and Bob's daughter Alex Mothersbaugh. Their record was produced by Bob Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh and Mark also co-wrote some of the songs. Visiting Kids appeared on the soundtrack to the film Rockula, as well as on the Late Show with David Letterman. A promotional video was filmed for the song "Trilobites".
As music engineering and production opportunities expanded for Casale and bandmate Mark Mothersbaugh, Casale began working for television and movies, including Four Rooms, Happy Gilmore, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and Rugrats Go Wild.
On February 17, 2014, Casale died at the age of 61, in Los Angeles, California, due to heart failure. According to his brother Gerald, he went to the emergency room because he was coughing up blood. He was scheduled for tests and his family went home. During the tests, Casale became "agitated" and was given a sedative, after which his blood pressure plunged. He was given epinephrine. When his heart stopped, the medical staff was unable to get it started again.
He is survived by his brother Gerald, wife Lisa and two children, Alex and Samantha.
Devo toured the US and Canada in June and July 2014, playing ten dates consisting of their "experimental music" composed and recorded from 1974–1978. Planned as a 40th anniversary tour, this outing was billed as the "Hardcore Devo" tour. Partial proceeds for the ten shows went to support Casale's family.
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