Fellow members of The De-evolutionary Army:
Gerald Casale for Devo here. My friend and colleague, Jeff Winner, reminded me that today, December 29th, is Alan Myers’ birthday. If he was still with us here pumping out Devo rhythms he would have been 68 years old. As with my brother Bob, the loss only hurts more as time marches on.
I really can’t imagine how Devo would have succeeded as well without Alan Myers. When you see and/or hear Alan perform live in Devo performance videos or on our records from our heyday it’s somewhat mind-boggling to think that Alan drummed the way he did, when he did. I have flippantly referred to him in interviews as “the human metronome.” It was a comment meant to bequeath giant praise. Clearly his precision and power eclipsed whatever advantages that soulless drum machines can ever offer.
Like the recently deceased master of minimalism, Charlie Watts, Alan came from the discipline of a jazz drumming background. Rather than flail away with corny rock n’ roll flash dissipating his strength, Alan channeled his energy straight from the brain, through his body and onto the skins via tireless hands and feet. An hour and twenty minutes into a Devo performance, he could muster his overdrive gear to a power through Smart Patrol, Gates of Steel, Gut Feeling, and Come Back Jonee, that took the manic audience over the top. He credited his serious, daily devotion to practicing Tai Chi as the source for his other-worldly energy reserve.
Alan’s drug of choice was meditation. He avoided silly distractions of backstage chaos and celebrity indulgences. Devo meant business and Alan was the driving force that provided the proof of concept. There was no drummer like him then in the 1970s and ‘80s. There are imitators now, but there was only one Alan Myers. Make no mistake about that.