Lunch Break: Devo, “Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy”

Another nugget that popped up for me while assembling Lindsay’s holiday disc was this absolute gem from Devo.

In fact, it is such a great cut, that I was sure someone (maybe even me?) had written about the band or song before, so I was surprised to see only indirect references to Devo within the Remnants archives.

I think history will prove Devo–particularly Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry (Gerald) Casale, the band’s driving forces–vastly underated, as a band, as songwriters, and as artists. For, what Devo did was much closer to rock and roll (I guess actually New Wave) theater than most bands. But, they were also very tight musically, as you shall see.

I found these two live versions of the ever intense Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy while looking for a good representation of the song, and they are both great, and interesting.

The first is from 1977, when the band was still pretty new on the forefront of Devolution. The film is rugged and jumpy, but the sound is ok, and the opening bass solo from Casale–who adds the great stage look of having a lefty player–is really great.  You can see Mothersbaugh, as a singer/performer/front definitely has some chops.

But, check out how much tighter and polished the whole thing was three years later, after a serious cult following and a couple of discs and big time touring. By then Mothersbaugh was pretty well realized with this really mesmerizing performance.


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