Gerald Casale

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Gerald Casale
Casale performing live in 1978
Background information
Birth name Gerald Vincent Pizzute
Also known as Jerry
Born (1948-07-28) July 28, 1948 (age 67)
Ravenna, Ohio, U.S.
  • Vocals
  • synthesizer
  • bass
  • guitar
  • keyboards
Years active 1972–present
Associated acts

Gerald Vincent "Jerry" Casale (born Gerald Vincent Pizzute, July 28, 1948) is a vocalist, bass guitar/synthesizer player, and a founding member (with his younger brother, Bob Casale, 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.[4]

Casale 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.[5]

Early years[edit]

Casale was born in Ravenna, Ohio. He was born with the last name Pizzute because his father, Bob, had legally changed his name (his birth name having been Robert Edward Casale) to that of his foster parents. Four years after Gerald's birth, his father changed his name back to his birth name. Gerald Casale grew up in Kent, Ohio and graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1966.[6]

After graduation, Casale 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".[7] 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.[8]

Music career[edit]

Before Devo, Gerald played bass with The Numbers Band in his native Kent, Ohio. He caused friction in the group by suggesting they incorporate advertising jingles and other "low culture" elements into their music. He was forced out of the band after slipping on a monkey mask during a performance.[4] 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.[9]

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;[10] 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.[11]

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 "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Come Back Jonee". From 1981 on, Casale has used a right-handed Steinberger L-Series bass guitar, played upside down. He has 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.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Casale took an interest in wine after moving to California in 1978.[13] In the 1990s he taught classes in wine tasting for three years during Devo's hiatus.[14] In 2014, he announced that he would be opening a new wine company, The 50 by 50, selling Pinot noirs.[15]

Casale bought the historic Josef Kun House in 2007 and spent seven years in meticulous restoration with the help of preservationist James Rega. The house was designed by Richard Neutra in the early 1930s. Casale placed the house on the market in 2015.[16]

On September 11, 2015, Casale married Krista Napp in a themed wedding based on the September 11 attacks, with a cake baked in the shape of the Twin Towers. He later apologized after much scrutiny, and said he "understood the outrage." The event was "themed in that style due to the fact that even a tragedy such as September 11th could not stand in the way of the love they have for each other." [17]


(Items marked in italics were co-directed with Chuck Statler)


  1. ^ Long, Pat (May 2, 2009). "Pat Long meets new wave 80s oddballs Devo, who are intent on making a comeback". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Devo". AllMusic. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ Steinberg, Shirley; Kehler, Michael; Cornish, Lindsay (2010). Boy Culture. Greenwood. p. 355. 
  4. ^ a b Adams, Sam (30 June 2010). "Devo's Gerald Casale". Retrieved 7 Jan 2016. 
  5. ^ "Gerald Casale videography". Retrieved 7 Jan 2016. 
  6. ^ Prufer, Jason (August 7, 2011). "DEVO's Seminal 1975 Night on Kent State's Front Campus". Kent Patch (Patch Media). Archived from the original on September 7, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2012. 
  7. ^ Knight, Brian L. (2005). "Oh Yes, It's Devo: An Interview with Jerry Casale". The Vermont Review. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  8. ^ Kreps, Daniel (6 March 2015). "Mark Mothersbaugh Explains How Tragedy Inspired Devo in Animated Clip". RollingStone. Retrieved 6 Jan 2016. 
  9. ^ Greene, Doyle (2014). The Rock Cover Song: Culture, History, Politics. McFarland. Retrieved 7 Jan 2016. 
  10. ^ "Gerald Casale of DEVO". June 9, 2007. Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Jihad Jerry Biography". Retrieved 7 Jan 2016. 
  12. ^ "The Devo guitar guide". Retrieved 6 Jan 2016. 
  13. ^ "A Drink With: Gerald Casale". Christie's. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Devo Frontman Is Whipped by Wine". Wine Spectator. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Devo's Gerald Casale Starting New Wine Company, the 50 by 50...No Spuds Involved". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  16. ^ Barragan, Bianca (January 15, 2015). "Devo Founder Selling Richard Neutra's Landmark Kun House". Curbed LA. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Devo bassist Jerry Casale says he understands 9/11-themed wedding outrage: 'The cake was such bad taste'". Daily News. New York. Retrieved September 15, 2015. 

External links[edit]