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Devo: always ahead of its time

Devo has always been ahead of its time.

"Out of all the bands who came from the underground and made it in the mainstream, Devo is the most challenging and subversive of all," Kurt Cobain, the late Nirvana frontman, once said. The Akron, Ohio, band has inspired everyone from Moby to Neil Young, who named his legendary live album "Rust Never Sleeps" after a Devo catchphrase.

Though it's been more than 30 years since its smash single "Whip It" stormed the charts and introduced the world to the concept of "Devolution," the pioneering multimedia artists -- who play the Paramount Saturday -- continue to bring innovations to the music industry.

Here's a look at some of them:

MUSIC VIDEO (1980): Devo had been making short films for its songs for years before MTV even launched, so when the video channel began in 1981, the band was ready with plenty of material, from its version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" to the controversial "Whip It."

3-DEVO (1982): The first show of the band's tour for the "Oh, No! It's Devo!" album suffered from a few technical glitches, but had many of the hallmarks that are currently trendy in the movie industry. The concert in Los Angeles was broadcast live to movie theaters and college campuses across the country and included special 3-D effects.

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HONDA SCOOTERS (1984): Long before musicians with clothing lines and signature perfumes became commonplace, Devo created an ad campaign for Honda's line of scooters. The band maintained creative control of the ads while forging a partnership with the company.

"ADVENTURES OF THE SMART PATROL" (1996): In the post-Guitar Hero / Rock Band world, it may not seem like a big deal, but this CD-ROM, which featured its own story line created by the band, was one of the first to introduce new music to fans through a video game.

CAT LISTENING PARTY (2010): Part of the launch for its "Something for Everybody" album, the band played the entire album for a room full of adorable cats and kittens and then streamed the video results on Ustre Aww, cats! Maybe this will become a trend, too!


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