Akron, Ohio honors DEVO the local band that taught the world to “whip it good.”
While the Chili Mac Dog has is now regrettably defunct, the band DEVO still has a cult following and tours regularly. Their home town has honored them with a mural that is located at the exact site of their devoted former hot dog restaurant.
DEVO was formed in 1973 in Akron by two sets of brothers: Mark, Jim, and Bob Mothersbaugh and Gerald and Bob Casale. The band style was unique, to say the least. Their mix of science fiction, dark social commentary, and jaunty synthesizer was the perfect mix for the emerging new wave music movement of the late 1970s.
The mural is located next to the Akron Civic Center where the band did some of their first concerts. After the show, the band would often meet with fans at the Chili Mac that used to be located next door.
While some might of seen DEVO as an eccentric novelty act, anyone who gave more than a cursory listening of their music would know otherwise. DEVO often hid mordant social commentary in their music. The name of the band DEVO was short for de-evolution. De-evolution was a concept postulated (only half-jokingly) by the group that humankind had reached its zenith of intellectual and moral abilities and was beginning a descent back to being apes. The band members met while attending Kent State University at the time of the infamous shooting of unarmed protesters by the Ohio National Guard. Four students were killed, and 9 others were wounded, and the incident is considered the impetus of the band forming their concept of “de-evolution.”
DEVO was the very first concert I ever attended. (Well, without my parents in tow). I saw them at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas back in 1981. Their dark humor and overall weirdness appealed to me. It was a treat to see their hometown honor them.
I should also mention that Akron is the hometown of Chrissie Hynde the lead singer of the band “The Pretenders” another band from the early 80s I really liked. Ms. Hynde still lives in Akron parttime and had a Vegan restaurant that I just read had recently closed. Shame, I didn’t get a chance to eat there. But the mural is still up so if you are in the northeastern Ohio area and are a DEVO-tee, definitely give it a visit.