WASHINGTON – Two pioneering new wave bands – one edgily straight-ahead and sexy, the other uber-geeky and eccentric – are heading out on a U.S. tour that demonstrates the range of the punk movement in the 1970s and 80s.
Blondie, featuring founding members Deborah Harry, guitarist Chris Stein and drummer Clem Burke, will be co-headlining with Devo, formed by brothers Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh.
“Both these bands are still loud and dangerous,” says DJ and radio host Cerphe, who played Blondie and Devo in the Washington area on the legendary WHFS decades ago, as well as on his Progressive Show on Eco Planet Radio.
“Debbie Harry is the perfect lead singer to front a band with attitude and substance,” says Cerphe.
Devo, meanwhile was “way ahead of the curve, not only with their high-energy electronic rock, but they performed onstage in wild futuristic costumes” as part of their “de-evolution” theme.
Devo’s first appearance in the mainstream was made on Saturday Night Live, and left viewers wondering if the band was real or part of a skit.
“I remember playing Devo’s first album ‘Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!’ and some of the audience wasn’t really ready for it,” Cerphe remembers.
“Electropop really was brand new, and people hadn’t heard it before. Devo created it,” he says.
Harry, now 66, says she still loves playing live.
“I love performing even more now. I’ve been doing it for long enough that it’s completely heartwarming to walk on stage and have people going crazy for you and wanting to hear your music, especially if you’ve written it yourself,” she tells Reuters.
Mark Mothersbaugh tells the news agency Devo “has marinated through the decades and become more scarier and intense.” Both bands also acknowledge benefiting from younger fans hearing their music on the Internet.
And the bands’ music remains vital, Cerphe says.
“You’ve got to remember both Blondie and Devo hit big before MTV. They’re pioneers. Their music resonated with radio listeners before they ever saw a video from either band,” Cerphe says.
The 13-city “Whip It To Shreds” tour begins in September and so far doesn’t include the D.C. area. See tour dates and locations here.