Devo took its name from their concept of “de-evolution” – the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed, as evidenced by the dysfunctionality and herd mentality of American society.
See for this for example an interview made in 1983 with Jerry Casale titled “Devo Interview on Night Flight – De-Evolution” on the television variety show “Night Flight“. In this short interview Jerry Casale explains Devo´s concept of “de-evolution” in American society.
Of course one could have the same idea about the German society or any other so called “advanced society” as well. We all live now in technocratic and neoliberal societies everywhere in the Western World.
Devo´s music echoes this view of society as rigid, repressive and mechanical, with jerky, robotic rhythms. The band has an obsession with technology and electronics (the group was among the first non-prog rock bands to make the synthesizer a core element) and used often atonal melodies and chord progressions, all of which were filtered through the perspectives of geeky misfits. In his music and stage show Devo mingles kitsch science fiction themes and deadpan surrealist humor.
I saw those music videos of the early 1980s from Devo tonight in YouTube and Dailymotion and I was astonished how fresh and unspent they still are. I had seen those music videos in TV already in my youth (I was born in 1965). They have lost nothing of their sarcastic, ironic and satirical impact.
The magazine “Rolling Stone” made in 2010 an interview with Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh titled “Inside Devo’s Weird Return“. In this interview both musicians explain how it came that the band produced a new studio album after twenty years.