On August 28th, 1978 DEVO released their debut LP Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!. The album was produced by Brian Eno and David Bowie, the latter of which had wanted to produce the band since he and Iggy Pop received a demo tape in 1977, and had also seen the band featured in the short film The Truth About De-Evolution.
In fact, Bowie had expressed his desire to produce the band at Devo’s NYC debut show in 1977, proclaiming that “this is the band of the future, I’m going to produce them in Tokyo this winter.”
The album was instead produced at Conny Plank’s Studio in Cologne Germany, primarily by Brian Eno, with Bowie stopping by to assist part-time on weekends. Eno championed the band on this recording, by paying for the all the flights and studio time, confident he would make the money back when the band acquired a record deal.
The band, comprised in their classic lineup with two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaugh’s (Mark and Bob) and the Casales (Gerald and Bob), along with Alan Myers on drums chose name DEVO which is short for De-Evolution, as featured in the title of the Chuck Statler directed The Truth About De-Evolution.
The film was shot in Akron, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, the hometown of most members of the band. It was essentially promotional videos for two songs “Secret Agent Man” and “Jocko Homo”. The latter of the two-song would be released as a single and featured on the band’s debut LP.
It is the refrain from this song, “Jocko Homo” “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo?” that the album takes its name.
“Jocko Homo” was recorded for DEVO’s debut LP, with the original version being the b-side for “Mongoloid”, which was also featured on the album.
The video for Mongoloid was one of the first made using collage and was created by assemblage artist and experimental filmmaker Bruce Conner.
Also featured on DEVO’s debut is the cover of The Rolling Stones classic song “Satisfaction”, for which there is also a music video, where the band wears their trademark yellow jumpsuits.
And finally the video for the album’s single “Come Back Jonee”.