with Nathan Norman of Devo 2.0
So last issue I wrote the big article on Devo 2.0. To recap, Devo 2.0 is a Devo tribute band put together by Disney & Devo themselves made up of pre-teens (I think one member might be thirteen). Now here is an interview with the guitarist for Devo 2.0, Nathan Norman.
QRD – What’s the biggest difference between Devo & Devo 2.0 sonically?
Nathan – DEVO 2.0 used much better recording techniques than were available in the DEVO 1980’s.
QRD – When & where did you first hear Devo?
Nathan – I actually never knew who Devo was until I got the audition for Devo 2.0. So, I did my research for the audition regarding Devo, and listened to their songs and watched their videos. It turned out that I liked Devo a lot and thought they were really cool.
QRD – What’s your favorite Devo song that Devo 2.0 doesn’t do?
Nathan – “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA”
QRD – Do you think Devo 2.0 will ever do some of the obscure Devo songs like “I Need a Chick” or “Midget”?
Nathan – Well, maybe “Midget” because it has “little people” appeal.
QRD – When you play live, how much of the sound is pre-recorded & how much is live?
Nathan – There are some sequencer lines playing back 16th notes and 32nd notes from pro-tools sessions, but the rest is absolutely live. In other words no different than U2 or Coldplay or Nine Inch Nails.
QRD – Will Devo 2.0 tour?
Nathan – Stranger things have happened.
QRD – I know that Gerald said one of the goals was for Devo 2.0 to eventually write & record its own material, has this started yet?
Nathan – There really hasn’t been any opportunity yet due to everyone’s school schedule and professional commitments.
QRD – Are there current plans for recording a second record?
Nathan – It’s too soon to know if that is going to happen.
QRD – Would you rather people just hear the music or see the videos along with the music & why?
Nathan – I would rather people listen to the music as well as see the videos, because it really adds to the show. But I also want people to recognize the talent we have with their own eyes and see that we are not lip-syncing or fake-playing our instruments. We are the real deal and that’s the message we are trying to put out.
QRD – There’s been a lot of Devo fans calling Devo 2.0 a sell-out despite (or maybe even because of) it being clearly engineered & sanctioned by Devo themselves. Do you have anything to say to those people?
Nathan – I think they missed the point. It wasn’t aimed at them; it was done for 5 to 9 year olds so that a new generation could experience a phenomenon that they would otherwise never hear about.
QRD – One of the controversies is about the changing of lyrics in “Beautiful World” from “It’s a beautiful world for you / But not me” to “It’s a beautiful world for you / And me too.” Do you think this change is significant or important? Did it improve or diminish the song?
Nathan – It obviously completely changes the song from one of irony and cynicism to optimism. Disney would never let the original message go to a pre-teen demographic.
QRD – If you could have one piece of Devo merchandise (energy dome, yellow suit, plastic hair, etc.) which would it be & why?
Nathan – I think the energy domes, because they are iconic to Devo.
QRD – What piece of merchandise would you like to see made for Devo 2.0?
Nathan – Well, probably wristbands, because I like wearing them.
QRD – Why did you start playing guitar & who are your guitar heroes?
Nathan – The guitar seemed like the coolest and most interesting instrument to play. My dad is a musician and plays the guitar and I grew up listening to Carlos Santana, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix. I love playing the guitar and feel like I was born to play it. It’s one of my greatest passions.
QRD – What’s your guitar rig (guitar, pedals, & amplifier)?
Nathan – Musicvox & Marshal amplifier.
QRD – How did the big live show last week compare to your expectations for it?
Nathan – It was better than I imagined it would be. We played better than ever before and were glad to be on stage again. It was a lot of fun.
QRD – What age group was most of the audience?
Nathan – We had all ages. Adults and children. What's great is that there were a lot of original Devo fans and they created a lot of energy in the crowd. It was cool to see them jumping up and down right along side of the younger Devo 2.0 fans.
QRD – What would you like to change/improve for your next live show?
Nathan – I would like to play more songs
and have a longer concert. It was so fun that we didn't want it to