Thursday, 16 August 2012

LISTEN TO: Devo - Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Seamus Unleashed)

Devo's new song is about Mitt Romney's dog. The American new wave band are putting an Irish setter front and centre on 'Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Remember Seamus)', which takes fire at the Republican presidential candidate.

In 1983, Romney took his family on a 12-hour road trip from Boston to Ontario, strapping the family dog to a kennel on their car roof. As the Chevrolet station wagon barrelled down the highway, Seamus clung on for dear life; even after the dog suffered a diarrhoea attack, Romney just sprayed everything down and continued with the journey.

Although Seamus may not be at the forefront of Romney's election battle against Barack Obama, Devo have not forgotten him. On Tuesday the band announced their next single, due 25 August, with cover art depicting Romney behind the wheel and a terrified dog on the roof

The song is part of a campaign by Gerald V Casale, one of Devo's founders. Remember Seamus proposes to "make 2012 the year where animals like Seamus are valued and honesty is praised". The group has rallied behind Dogs Against Romney, a Facebook page with more than 70,000 fans, and Casale has also contributed to a forthcoming video game, The Crate Escape: Seamus Unleashed, which is due on 26 August – National Dog Day in the US.

"This isn't a red-state thing or Devo stumping for Obama," he says. "But I think any animal lover that hears the story will learn so much about the character flaw of Romney. It's just a deal-breaker about the man. My God, the world is a scary place with seven billion people. What you want in a leader is a guy with some humanity at his core. I just don't feel that Mitt does."

In 2008, Devo did a fundraising show for President Obama in their hometown of Akron. Does Casale approve of his job performance over the past three-and-a-half years? "No!" he says. "Absolutely not. Devo are not naive people. If anyone still thinks that the President of the United States of America runs things, they really live in the Wizard of Oz-land. My God, we're a plutocracy. We're owned and leveraged by global corporations."

He still plans on voting for Obama, though. "That's the safer choice," he says.  "Believe me. If we have real choice. There isn't freedom of choice anymore. The difference between the two parties is like the difference between Pepsi and Coke."

"Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro" has already gotten more attention than Devo's 2010 LP, Something for Everybody. "That album had Warner Bros. and a brilliant marketing team behind it," Casale says. "It never got us anything like we did with this song. It's topical and we really tapped into something." 

There are no plans for any future recordings, but Casale is quite open to the idea of posting anything they might record on the Internet. "The promise of the Internet and digital distribution is that things can be instant and topical," he says.  "It doesn't need to be from the old-school publicity mill. You can respond quickly, guerilla style. For years that was more a theory than a reality. Finally, I see there is a democratization of getting an audience."

They're also creating an iPhone app for the tune called the Crate Escape – a game where players attempt to free Seamus from his crate. 

As for Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts insists that Seamus enjoyed being on the car roof. "The dog loved it," said his wife, Ann Romney, in April. "He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks."


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