Devo drummer Alan Myers, 58, dies of cancer

June 26, 2013

Alan Myers, a former drummer for Devo, the band best known for the song “Whip It,” died June 24 in Los Angeles. He was 58.

The cause was brain cancer, said Devo spokesman Michael Pilmer.

Mr. Myers was the band’s drummer from 1976 to 1985 during Devo’s heyday. The group was formed in Akron, Ohio, in the early ’70s by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale and introduced itself to the world in 1977 with a spastic version of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

Casale told the Associated Press that without Mr. Myers, Devo never would have reached the heights it did, calling him the best drummer he has ever played with. He was the third drummer to play with the group.

“We were mostly in basements and garages writing songs. It was Alan that brought everything to life,” Casale said. “That was the catalyst where everything clicked.”

Casale described meeting and playing with Mr. Myers for the first time in 1976. After their first session ended, Casale — who had been facing away from Mr. Myers — turned around to see the drummer standing on one leg with his eyes closed, practicing the meditative Chinese martial art of tai chi.

“I thought, ‘Man, this guy really is Devo. He fits right in,’ ” Casale said, adding that tai chi was one of the drummer’s greatest passions. “Some bands would be doing drugs and drinking. Alan would find quiet places backstage and do a full session of tai chi.”

Devo is short for “devolution,” the idea that man is devolving into its monkey state.

Rolling Stone magazine reported that Mr. Myers left the band when its leaders began relying more on electronic drums and that Mr. Myers worked as an electrical contractor in Los Angeles while staying involved in the city’s music scene. He played with his wife, Christine Myers, in the group Skyline Electric and with his daughter, Laena Geronimo, in the experimental band Swahili Blonde.

— From staff and wire reports

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