My First DEVO Album


I had two older sisters who were well versed in the late 70s and 80s rock bands. Now they were a couple of years older then me so their was a generation gap. So while they were sneaking cigarettes and listening to Zeppelin, BoC and the Clash in their rooms well into the night, I was in the next room dreaming about video games or trying to watch late late movies.

I would often complain loudly, but what could I do it was a rock N roll household. In retrospect my sisters were pretty cool, but to me it was all noise. I inherited an old portable record player from one of my sisters, mostly to use to play Disney records, but one day while fumbling around in the basement I found a collection of older records that would dominate my life for a year and follow me my whole life. They were jazz and Big Band records. I loved it. Bing Crosby, The Ink Spots, The Mills Brothers – I had them all plus more.

I never asked my sisters how they felt about my affinity towards older music. They were not the criticizing kind, but I imagine it must have seemed odd to them that their little brother could spend hours listening to Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters, while they were rocking out to the Sex Pistols in the very next room. Now I admit, I kind of liked some of the music they played (and would like it more later in life) and it was always fun when they had parties in the yard and weird looking people would be playing around with guitars while listening to all this rock and or roll. I was an unofficial mascot at their weekend parties and I learned a lot about card games and coin tricks during that time.

The people who came to the parties would bring beer, instruments and of course record albums. Most often, when the bacchanalia was over, they would leave these albums behind. Which I would round up and look at like a scientist on a strange planet. Only the albums whose covers intrigued me (and they needed to be very interesting), would I try and play. That is how I first heard Queen’s “News of the World” (who could resist that cover) and it was also how I heard DEVO for the first time. Someone had left a copy of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! behind and I thought the art was really interesting. When I opened the album up and saw that the vinyl was YELLOW, I needed to see what this was all about.

The music both alarmed me and hypnotized me. Before I knew it, I had listened to side A and flipped it over. I did this again and again and again.

About a week later the album disappeared. The album’s original owner reclaimed it. It would several years before I got another copy of the album and I have never been without a copy of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! since in one form or another. Seeing them perform the album from start to finish was a lifetime goal that I will cherish forever.

If It’s a Game – The Pac-Man Album

I remember sitting on the work carpet of dark paneled bedroom as a kid. My bent and broken hand me down portable record player plugged into the outlet near the door (the only open outlet in the room) humming. I would pop my Pac-Man Picture disc album on, roll onto my back and drift away to the sounds of Patrick McBride & Dana Walden’s wonderful album. For the first time since I worked on the Pac-Man podcast, I put the album on again while checking my email this morning. When “If It’s a Game” came on, I stopped everything and closed my eyes and nearly drifted off into game fantasy land once again.

Such a a great song.

If you have a record player, you can still find a pretty affordable copy of The Pac-Man Album online. Of course if you do not want the album (which would look great framed), you can find a lot of the songs from the album online for download.

sesame street monsters

The Sesame Street Monsters! (1975)

sesame street monsters

When I spotted some songs from Sesame Street’s Monsters on YouTube, it sent all sorts of memories flooding back to me. I remember laying on the floor of my room with my ear almost pressed up against the weak speaker of my sisters portable record player listening to the The Sesame Street Monsters. Even as the record player started to die and slow down, I would still listen to it all warped and slowed down, which gave it a surreal quality (which is probably why it is stuck in my brain).

If you would like to relive the experience, turn your speaker down low, drink some warm milk and put your head on your desk and just hit play below.