Alan Myers, the former longtime drummer for the band Devo, best known for “Whip It,” has died after a battle with brain cancer. He was 58.
Myers died Monday in Los Angeles, where he lived, Devo spokesman Michael Pilmer said Wednesday.
Myers was the band’s drummer from 1976 to 1985 during Devo’s heyday. The group was formed in Akron, Ohio, in the early 1970s by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, and introduced themselves to the world in 1977 by making a frenetic version of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.”
Casale told The Associated Press on Wednesday that without Myers, Devo never would have reached the heights it did, calling him the best drummer he has ever played with.
“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.”
He called Myers “the human metronome.”
“People watching him thought we were using a drum machine,” Casale said. “Nobody had ever drummed like that.”
Casale described meeting and playing with Myers for the first time in 1976. After their first session ended, Casale — who had been facing away from 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 was devolving into its monkey state.