When you think of Hawaii, what do you think of? Sandy beaches? Beautiful sunsets? Groundbreaking rock bands from Akron, OH? Not many people will think that last one, but thanks to a contest that MTV ran back in 1982, Devo and Hawaii are never far apart in mind. The MTV Hawaiian Holiday With Devo ran for a few months and was featured both in print and on MTV itself.
The winner would get 5 sunny day and 4 thrilling nights in Honolulu with the band. In addition they included a cool Walkman, DEVO albums, outfits, spending money and much more. Sadly it was a contest reserved for the 18 year and older crowd, so young spuds need not apply. As a guest of Devo, you would also get to go backstage at their concert. Which took place on February 22, 1982 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena in Honolulu, HI. Sadly no footage of that concert is online.
MTV seemed to be on a real contest kick back in 1982. My sister was always talking about the House Party contests that she wanted to win. I think that one took place right after the Devo contest. It was a real fun time to be watching MTV, I can only imagine how crazy it was working there.
This classic 1982 MTV promo for the MTV Hawaiian Holiday With Devo features Devo. Plus music video clips from Beautiful World, Whip It and Satisfaction. In the image above you can see JJ Jackson and Martha Quinn digging into the crate full of contest entries for a winner. I loved this version of MTV. Not only did they do fun contests, but they were also comically broad in their approach to things.
The winner of the contest was Dolli Markovich. Dolli, coincidentally hailed from the same town as Devo, Akron, OH. Looking online, I cannot find a Dolli Markovich. If you are out there Dolli, I would love to hear from you and know what winning this contest was like.
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.
This 1963 bicycle safety film has kids dressed up as monkeys with weird nicknames and did I mention it has kids dressed up as monkeys? Well actually not fully dressed up as monkeys, but instead kids with masks and weird tails riding bikes. Watch as the one by one the kids are picked off through traffic accidents, stupidity and general slothfulness as they try and bike to the park to have a picnic lunch. I like when the one gets crushed by a steamroller. Nice! Eventually only one monkey is left and he gets to eat all the lunches, hence the “One Got Fat” title.
I think Roald Dahl and certain members of DEVO would appreciate this movie.
DEVO rocked the ABC sketch show Fridays multiple time, today we look at their 1981 appearance where they performed not one, not two, but five songs! This episode aired on October 9, 1981 and the hosts were Tony Geary & Genie Francis (but of course DEVO were the real stars). This was DEVO’s third appearance on Fridays and would sadly be their last. The show was canceled that year.
Part 1 – Theme From Adventures of The Smart Patrol and Jerkin’ Back ‘n’ Forth – Yes, those are the famous treadmills. They perfectly demonstrate how DEVO can take what is seemingly mundane and make it interesting.
Part 2 – I Saw Jesus and Through Being Cool – Gerald Casale starts us off with an Electronic Revival. That leads straight to “Through Being Cool”, which should be the hymn for all geeks. For those not familiar with “I Saw Jesus”, it can be found on Recombo DNA
Part 3 – Working in a Coal Mine – This is showmanship at its finest. Elaborate sets and choreography. Unlike SNL performances, this is like going to a concert. I wish they would indulge musical guests more often and allow them to take advantage of the medium.
I LOVE DEVO and I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do.