June 24, 2013 – Alan Myers (Devo) was born in 1955 in Akron, Ohio, USA. He joined the band Devo in 1976, replacing Jim Mothersbaugh. His distinctive style ultimately made him one of the most influential drummers of his generation and his angular playing proved so precise on Devo’s most beloved classics, his beats were frequently mistaken for a drum machine.
He was also an actor, known for Human Highway (1982), We’re All Devo (1983) and Urgh! A Music War (1981). Myers was the third and most prominent drummer of the band when he joined in 1976 to replace Jim Mothersbaugh.
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.
He left between 1986 and 1987 after the recording of the 6th album ‘Shout’. According to the book “We Are Devo,” Myers cited a lack of creative fulfillment as his reason for leaving the group, something he had felt since Devo’s move to Los Angeles in the late ’70s. He was replaced by David Kendrick of Sparks. Among all of Devo’s drummers, he is the one most associated with the band and probably the most popular among Devo fans.
After he left Devo he recorded a demo with Babooshka, a band that was his girlfriend Greta Ionita’s brainchild, using live drums as well as electronic percussion similar to his last two albums with Devo. As of 2005, Myers remained active in the Los Angeles music scene. He had also played drums with the Asian-themed pop band, Jean Paul Yamamoto.
Since its founding, also in 2005, Myers’s band, Skyline Electric, played monthly shows in art galleries and clubs in Los Angeles. The line up at the time of Myers death included his wife, Christine (Sugiyama) Myers, and an assortment of other experimental musicians.
In 2010, Myers began also playing in the experimental live ensemble of Swahili Blonde with his daughter, Laena Geronimo (Myers-Ionita).
Alan Myers died from cancer on June 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Myers’ former bandmate Gerald Casale praised the drummer on Twitter as news of his death spread. The Devo founder called Myers “the most incredible drummer I had the privilege to play with for 10 years. Losing him was like losing an arm.”
In subsequent tweets, Casale wrote, “I begged him not to quit Devo. He could not tolerate being replaced by the Fairlight and autocratic machine music. I agreed . . . Alan, you were the best – a human metronome and then some.”
Drummer Josh Freese, who played in Devo from 1996-2012, has cited Myers as one of his major influences. “An underrated/brilliant drummer,” Freese tweeted. “Such an honor playing his parts w/Devo. Godspeed Human Metronome.”