We usually use this space to make fun of far-right pop bands, but this next tune is a treat. Gerald Casale is a founding member of Devo, and this summer his alter ego Jihad Jerry released a new song, titled "I'm Gonna Pay U Back," which sounds exactly as you'd hope Devo would in 2021. Last week, in the wake of the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, Casale spoke to Dangerous Minds about the origins of Devo as a response to the rise of American fascism in the 1970s — and the way he describes it, it sure seems that the band would be right at home in the current era:
Some things never change. I mean, the atmosphere we grew up in was just like now. A plethora of horror stories that are too numerous to even sort out, of injustice, of corruption, of inhumanity to man, of cruelty that just seems to be rampant, running free, with impunity, off the charts.
And now you’re seeing it again just today, folks. Rittenhouse gets off scot-free. So, if you’re a white supremacist vigilante with an AR-15, you can stalk people, and when they don’t like it, you can just kill ‘em with impunity! Shoot first, ask questions later, let God sort out the details. It’s right out of Dr. Strangelove. And now that we have courts packed with right-wing judges that were carefully ensconced by Trump and his henchmen, hey! If you’re a right-wing white supremacist, you’re allowed to commit murder... It’s fascist America now.
But so was it then, so was it then! 1970, ’71, ’72, Nixon… had Watergate not happened, I fear for where we would have gone then. There was a course correction. And there were two parties then that actually both at least gave lip service to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and Nixon went too far for the Republicans. But today, there aren’t two parties, and nobody can go too far for the Republicans. They’re reading the 1933 Nazi playbook, right out of the Reichstag.
Which reminds us: Devo, we think you're about due for another album. Why don't you return to the studio and see what you can come up with?