Robert “Bob 2” Casale, founding guitarist of experimental new wavers Devo, has passed away from heart failure at the age of 61. “As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning” said Casale’s brother Gerald, himself a fellow founder of the band, on the group’s Facebook page this morning. “He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got. He was excited about the possibility of Mark Mothersbaugh allowing Devo to play shows again. His sudden death from conditions that lead to heart failure came as a total shock to us all.”
Formed in 1972 by musicians from and around Ohio’s Kent State University, Devo are considered one of the definitive new wave bands of the late 1970s and early ’80s. Though well-known thanks to their eye-catching, bizarre outfits and music videos, the group’s angular, disjointed rock and ironic take on both high-minded concepts and low-brow pop culture continues to nurture a fanbase at rock’s cutting edge. The band most recently released the 2012 single “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro (Seamus Unleashed),” which poked fun at then-Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Casale is unfortunately the second original Devo member to die in the past year following the death of drummer Alan Myers from stomach cancer in June, 2013.