Bob Casale, the guitarist and original member of the U.S. New Wave band Devo best known for the 1980 hit “Whip It,” died on Monday from heart failure at the age of 61, his brother and bandmate said.
“His sudden death from conditions that led to heart failure came as a total shock to us all,” Gerald Casale said on the group’s website on Tuesday.
Devo, whose name is a contraction of “de-evolution,” was formed in 1972 in Akron, Ohio, and later moved to Los Angeles. The band consisted of the Casales and brothers Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh. The group’s former drummer, Alan Myers, died of cancer last year.
Devo started out as an underground band and released an influential debut album, “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We are Devo!”, in 1978 that was produced by British recording pioneer Brian Eno.
The bank hit the mainstream with the 1980 song “Whip It” from its “Freedom of Choice” album. The video for the single received wide play in the early days of MTV.
Devo also recorded off-beat covers of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and Allen Toussaint’s “Working in the Coal Mine.”
“As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning. He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer, and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got,” his brother wrote on the band’s website.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Amanda Kwan)