|Courtesy of Mark Kozee|
Devo was the first band that I saw live when I was 13 years old in 1980 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. I always tell people, and tell my wife, that I would be a much different person if the first band I ever saw was Journey. I’d probably be a normal person. But Devo was the first concert I ever saw, and it still is the best concert I’d ever seen. I’ve pretty much been hooked ever since.
Casey, my older brother, was going to Georgia State University in Atlanta. Casey had heard Devo on his local college radio station and said, “We should really check this band out. We should really listen to this.” We sort of were scratching our heads when we first saw them on TV. We were like a lot of people back then. We didn’t know if it was a gag, if they were pulling our legs; we didn’t know if they were serious; we didn’t know if they really thought they were robots.
In 1980s music was disco and punk and classic rock, arena rock, album-oriented stuff. It was a good time for music, but there was also a lot of bad music. I was a young teenager so I was really interested in fitting in and being cool. When I saw Devo, I realized that being cool was about being yourself. It really gave me a different appreciation for what was really important in my life. I love the music. When you’re 13-years-old and in the South, it’s a little risky to like a band like Devo. After seeing them live, I really felt a connection with them. I felt like, “They understand me.” I didn’t feel different anymore. — as told to Lauren Swanson