Guitarist Bob Casale, an original member of the band Devo, which was formed in 1972 and is best remembered for its 1980 hit "Whip It," died suddenly of heart failure on Monday. He was 61.
"As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning," his brother, Gerald, also a founding member of Devo, wrote in a statement on the band's website. "He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer, and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got."
He later tweeted, "My brother Bob — Devo's anchor. Level-headed, even-keeled and very slow to anger. If he got mad you knew you deserved it."
Devo singer and co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh released the following statement, "We are shocked and saddened by Bob Casale's passing. He not only was integral in Devo's sound, he worked over twenty years at Mutato, collaborating with me on sixty or seventy films and television shows, not to mention countless commercials and many video games. Bob was instrumental in creating the sound of projects as varied as Rugrats and Wes Anderson's films. He was a great friend. I will miss him greatly."
The original members of Devo were inspired to form the band after personally witnessing the Kent State massacre in 1970. The band broke up in 1991, but reformed five years later and have been touring in the intervening years. They released Something for Everybody in 2010, their first album in two decades.
"We wanted to be Devo again," Bob Casale said during a 2012 interview with Under the Radar. "And so you can't help but sound like Devo—we weren't going to try and sound like anybody else, we were just going to do what we do and try and write good songs with the same kind of attention to lyrical content and song structure as we've always given all of our work."
Bob is survived by his son, Alex, his daughter, Samantha, and his wife, Lisa.