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The Men Who Make The Music

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The Men Who Make the Music VHS front cover
The Men Who Make the Music was the first home video released by Devo. Finished in 1979, the film was set to be the first Video LP, but was shelved by Time Life due to concerns about its anti-music industry content. It was released in 1981.

SynopsisEdit

The film takes place mostly in General Boy's office, where he fills the viewer in on the philosophy behind the theory of De-evolution. Cutaways to Devo members also serve this purpose, allowing Devo, themselves, to explain some of the more minute details. General Boy's speech is interspersed with live footage of Devo in concert, as well as a few music videos. The film ends with footage of Booji Boy performing "Red Eye" in concert with Devo and a reprise of the Devo Corporate Anthem.
In between the music video to "The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize" and concert footage of "Praying Hands" is a short segment, called "Roll Out the Barrel/Rod's Big Reamer" (approximately six minutes in length), involving Rod Rooter of Big Entertainment (Michael Swartz). In it, Daddy Knowitall, Rooter's boss, demands that the latter "get them back into their yellow suits" or he would be fired. Whilst the band are watching a slideshow of grotesque skin diseases at Devo Inc., they receive a call from Rooter, ordering them to meet at his office in fifteen minutes. Jerry, Mark, Bob 1, and Bob 2 go to Big Entertainment whilst Alan opts to meet them later at Club Devo. Before Devo arrive at the office, Rooter's secretary, Penny, is seen with a couple (whose faces are never seen), providing them with an envelope (presumably containing money).
When the band arrives, Rooter is listening to a song by a new band, Parcheesi, called "Midget". He tells them that particular single was a platinum hit on release and asks, semi-sarcastically, why Devo's music does not perform as well. He proceeds to criticise the band for their "artistic" behaviour and finally kicks them out when Booji Boy (Mark Mothersbaugh) shows up and essentially accuses him of being a slave to his job.
At Club Devo, Alan asks how the meeting went. Jerry remarks that it's "hard to sit down". Mark seems convinced that everything will change when they get their own recombo DNA lab.
Unbeknownst to them, the couple who were paid by Rooter are also present and are recording their conversation. "A short time later", Jerry appears and states that Devo wear the yellow suits not as a fashion statement but as "protective gear".

Track orderEdit

  • Music video, Jocko Homo*
  • Opening title
  • General Boy segment 1
  • Live, Wiggly World
  • General Boy segment 2
  • Music video, The Day my Baby Gave Me a Surprize
  • Roll Out the Barrel (AKA Rod Rooter's Big Reamer)
  • Live, Praying Hands
  • General Boy segment 3
  • Live, Uncontrollable urge
  • Music video, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
  • General Boy segment 4
  • Live, Jocko Homo (partial performance)
  • Music video, Secret Agent Man*
  • Live, Smart Patrol / Mr. DNA
  • Music video, Come Back Jonee
  • General Boy segment 5
  • Live, Red Eye
  • Credits
  • Music video, Devo Corporate Anthem
(* Excerpt from In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution)

CreditsEdit

DEVO

  • Mark Mothersbaugh
  • Gerald V. Casale
  • Robert "Bob1" Mothersbaugh
  • Robert "Bob2" Casale
  • Alan Myers

Produced by

  • Chuck Statler

Co-directed by

  • Gerald V. Casale
  • Chuck Statler

Written by

  • Gerald V. Casale
  • Mark Mothersbaugh

Special Thanks to

  • Bill Gerber
  • General Boy

NotesEdit

  • There is a prototype version of The Men Who Make The Music, produced in 1977. General Boy’s dialogue is largely the same, but the overall tone of the production is very much more self-made and amateurish (static camera positions, actors reading from cue-cards, etc.). The interstitials with Devo members are very different in style than the Warner version and feature different dialogue, as well. No music videos were used and the “Rod’s Big Reamer” segment was not present (as it had not been written yet). Concert footage used was from two concerts during Devo’s pre-Warner era. It was directed by Jerry Casale and produced by Marina Yakubic (Mark’s girlfriend at the time).YouTube
  • The music playing behind Daddy Knowitall's scene was written by Mark Mothersbaugh and goes by the name "Smozart".
  • This film introduces the character of Rod Rooter, played by Michael Swartz. He is characterized as a music-industry executive who lives lavishly on the money he takes from the artists and is a frequent user of archetypal American slang. Rod would re-appear twice in future Devo productions: in the 1985 spiritual sequel to this film, called We’re All Devo, and in the 1997 computer game, The Adventures of the Smart Patrol. Swartz reprises the role both times.
  • The comment made by Pliny and Mongo (“We’re just not your kind of girl?”) is a reference to an oft-told story from Devo’s early period. The band was invited to play at a club in Los Angeles by Kip Cohen of A&M Records, interested in signing them onto his label. After their performance, however, he summoned them to his office and reportedly told them something to the effect of: he could get five naked teenage girls in his office and each of them, despite being good looking, has a specific flaw that makes them unappealing. To cut the long letdown time, Alan reportedly asked him what he meant. According to Jerry, the response was, “You’re just not my kind of girl.”
  • There is a Japanese LaserDisc that goes by the title "The Men Who Make the Music", however it is a completely different production. The video is mostly comprised of footage from a concert at Nippon Bukodan Hall in Tokyo in 1979, interspersed with short clips of Booji Boy, Pliny, and Mongo at a sushi restaurant, shot for Japanese television around the same time as the concert. The opening title-card and each song title is provided in Japanese (with English subtitles).YouTube
  • TMWMTM has been officially released in various videotape and videodisc formats.ref This title was kept in print on VHS through the 1980s and 1990s re-releases.
A DVD of this film was announced in 2000, due to be released by Rhino Records, but this never came to pass until a DVD was announced in 2014, to be released by MVD Visual.

ReferenceEdit

Devo Live GuideEdit

External linksEdit

The Men Who Make The Music (1989 VHS re-release) -- Discogs
Men Who Make the Music [Video] (overview) -- AllMusic (1991 VHS re-release)
Devo: The Men Who Make the Music (1981) -- IMDb
Devo: Devovision - The Men Who Make the Music (1979) (overview) -- allmovie
The Men Who Make the Music -- Wikipedia
DEVO
Mark Mothersbaugh | Gerry Casale | Bob Mothersbaugh
Bob Lewis | Bob Casale | Jim Mothersbaugh | Alan Myers
David Kendrick | Josh Freese & Jeff Friedl | Josh Hager
Record Labels / Publishers
Booji Boy Records | Warner Brothers | Enigma | Devo, Inc. 
Stiff | Virgin | Rykodisk | Infinite Zero | Restless | Discovery | Rhino 
MVD Audio | The Orchard | Superior Viaduct | Futurismo
Production
Brian Eno | Ken Scott | Robert Margouleff | Roy Thomas Baker | DEVO 
The Teddybears | Greg Kurstin | Santi White | John King | John Hill | Mark Nishita 
Official Studio Albums
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) | Duty Now For The Future (1979) | Freedom of Choice (1980) | New Traditionalists (1981) | oh, no! it's DEVO (1982) | Shout (1984) | Total DEVO (1988) | SmoothNoodleMaps (1990) | Something for Everybody   (2010)
Other Albums
Be Stiff EP (1977) | E-Z Listening Disc (1987) | Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace (1989) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1 74-77 (1990) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 2 1974-1977 (1991) | DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years (1992) | DEV-O Live (1999) | Recombo DNA (2000) | Live In Central Park (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (2012) | Something ELSE for Everybody  (2013) | Miracle Witness Hour  (2014) | Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977  (2014) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Filmography
The Men Who Make The Music (1981) | Human Highway (1982) | We're All DEVO (1984) | The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (1993) | DEVO Live (2004) | DEVO Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Related Articles
History | Bootlegs | Booji Boy | Devolution | Influence | The Wipeouters | Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers | Devo 2.0 | Akron, Ohio | Music Videos | Versions | Outfits

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