AV CLUB: Oddly enough, one of the thing that really brings home the sexual undercurrents in Devo’s songs is the Devo 2.0 project from 2006, where you and Disney assembled a group of tweens to sing revamped versions of Devo songs. Not only is “Girl U Want” changed to “Boy U Want,” but the references to watering mouths and an “aroma of undefined love” are completely reworked.
Jerry Casale of DEVO: That’s the best story. The Disney people, in the beginning, go, “Hey, how would you like to repurpose your material for a 4-to-8-year-old audience?” And we went, “Really?” They said, “Yeah. We want you to do a whole DVD. What would you do?”
They gave us about a week to think about it. And I said, “Well, what if we did it like The Monkees? What if we cast a bunch of kids that can actually sing and play, and they will play Devo songs, and I’ll shoot videos with them, and we’ll tour them at middle schools.”
“Yeah, that’d be great. But we want to pick the songs.” [emphasis mine] And we said okay. So they picked 12 songs [emphasis mine].
What’s fantastic is, they must never have actually listened to those songs. Because deep into the picture, at the phase where we’ve recorded everything and we’re shooting the videos and I’m turning in a video budget—it’s at that point that somebody upstairs in the Disney Taliban would like to see all the lyrics printed out. I don’t think I’m hiding anything, so I send the lyrics.
Oh my God. Unbelievable, the next thing that happened—the firestorm that started. They’re poring over these lyrics, executives in their 30s and 40s, suits at Disney poring over these lyrics and for the first time paying attention to the songs they loved and picked. So it was like, “So listen, um, ‘Beautiful World.’ We’d really like that on the DVD, but you can’t say ‘It’s a beautiful world, but not for me.’” And it was like, “Oh really? Gee, that was kind of the whole point. What can we say?” The guy goes, “How about ‘for me too?’” And it just got better from there.
My favorite of all was—there’s a verse in “That’s Good” that I wrote the lyrics to in 1982. And the verse goes, “Life’s a bee without a buzz / It’s going great ’til you get stung.” Meaning, basically, you can get surprised. You can get ambushed, and that’s the point.
They go “You gotta take that whole verse out of there, or replace it with another verse, or edit the song.” And I’m going, “What do you mean?” They go, “We know what you’re talking about, Casale.” And I go, “What do you mean? What am I talking about?” They go, “‘Life’s a bee’ means ‘Life’s a bitch.’ ‘Without a buzz’ means unless you’re getting high. And ‘It’s going great until you get stung,’ meaning as long as you get away with it, unless the cops pop you.” And it was like, “Who was I talking to here? P. Diddy?” Their sensibility had been so formed by hip-hop and current music that they were reinventing meanings in my words to go along with urban street culture now. The words were written 30 years ago, [emphasis mine] basically. You went beyond getting mad to just like going, “This is proof of devolution. This is it.” We thought it was really funny.
[Source: The AV Club, 30-Jun-2010]