Devo – Whip It

Am I a big Devo fan? No, I’m not but I do like some of their songs. I do respect them…I can’t help but respect them. They had no peers…they did what they did better than anyone else…because they were the only ones that did it. Whatever it is. They are just so bizarre but I can’t help but admire them.

I showed my son the SNL clip of Devo when he was around 10-12 years old and I looked around at his confused look… his mouth was hung open. He asked me slowly…Dad, what was that? Son, that was Devo…it still works.

Whip It peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #11 in Canada and #51 in the UK. This song was by far their most successful though they barely missed the top 40 in 1981 with Working In a Coal Mine.

The song was written about whipping your problems but when the band heard that many people took the lyrics the wrong way…they made a video to play up to that thought.

From Songfacts.

Jerry Casale: “We made a video to it for like $15,000 that was shot in our rehearsal studio. We kind of magnified that myth that this was a song about whipping and sadomasochism. We decided to make the video feed that popular misconception and had a lot of fun doing it. It was one of the few times Devo worked like that, usually, we would start with a visual idea or story and write music to fit it. In this case, we didn’t originally have a video idea for ‘Whip It,’ and when people started thinking it was a song about whacking off or sadomasochism, we had these quack books that we would collect from junk stores or vintage magazine stores that served as inspiration or jokes. There was this one magazine that I found in a store in Santa Monica. It was a 1962 men’s girlie mag called Dude, I think.

There was a feature article on a guy who had been an actor and fell on hard times, he wasn’t getting parts anymore. He moved with his wife to Arizona, opened a dude ranch and charged people money to come hang out at the ranch. Every day at noon in the corral, for entertainment, he’d whip his wife’s clothes off with a 12-foot bullwhip. She sewed the costumes and put them together with Velcro. The story was in the magazine about how good he was and how he never hurt her. We had such a big laugh about it, we said, ‘OK, that’s the basis for the video. We’ll have these cowboys drinking beer and cheering Mark on as he’s in the barnyard whipping this pioneer women’s clothes off while the band plays in the corral.’

Back then, nobody cared. MTV had just started up in three cities, we had already shot five videos before Whip It, and nobody cared. There was no industry around it, there were no gatekeepers, there was no pecking order, there were no video commissioners, there were no representatives going, ‘No, you can’t do that, we won’t show that.’ There wasn’t enough money or power involved for anybody to care, so we were just considered crazy artists that went out and did whacko things. So we made the video and one day we started showing it in concerts and then MTV started playing it.”

 

Whip It

Crack that whip
Give the past the slip
Step on a crack
Break your momma’s back

When a problem comes along you must whip it 
Before the cream sits out too long you must whip it
When something’s going wrong you must whip it

Now whip it into shape 
Shape it up 
Get straight 
Go forward 
Move ahead
Try to detect it
It’s not too late to whip it
Whip it good

When a good time turns around you must whip it
You will never live it down unless you whip it
No one gets their way until they whip it
I say whip it whip it good
I say whip it whip it good

Crack that whip
Give the past the slip
Step on a crack
Break your momma’s back

When a problem comes along you must whip it 
Before the cream sits out too long you must whip it
When something’s going wrong you must whip it

Now whip it into shape 
Shape it up 
Get straight 
Go forward 
Move ahead
Try to detect it
It’s not too late to whip it into shape 
Shape it up 
Get straight 
Go forward 
Move ahead
Try to detect it
It’s not too late to whip it
Whip it good

 

and for the bonus Devo track of the day… Peek a Boo

 

 

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

16 thoughts on “Devo – Whip It”

  1. Devo videos are works of art and the music has its own niche. I could see why your son would be wondering what the heck. Mark Mothersbaugh did a large portion of the music for Wes Anderson’s, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” which is quite good.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I love the movie. One of my favorite Wes Anderson and favorite Bill Murray movies. I also own the soundtrack. It has a Portuguese musician, Seu Jorge, also doing several David Bowie covers.

        Like

  2. I think if you take all their work- it would make a pretty good ‘best of.” They were different. I remember a local FM rock station back in the late 70’s every night would have a vote- between two versions of a song- and one night it was Satisfaction- and Devo won. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun band, decent memories. Like i said not long ago, I wouldn’t want everything on radio to sound like them but they added a dash of fun and showed why the 80s were great- it was ‘anything goes’ musically!

    Liked by 1 person

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