Mecha-Mania Boy (Devo Cover) – Restored from a 20-year old cassette.

DEVO (Red Energy Dome icon)I think it was around 1994 when I was approached to contribute something for a compilation CD of Devo covers. At that time, “Mecha-Mania Boy” was only available (as far as I know) as the B-side of “Jerkin Back And Forth”, and it would still be a couple of years before it would be released on a CD. Only hardcore DEVO-TEES (and their close spud friends) had ever heard it – which is a shame, because it was one of their best.

At the time I was also administering a “majordomo” mailing list about the Korg Wavestation, and the individual putting together the compilation was a member, so I wanted to use my Wavestation A/D prominently. I created a patch with two wavesequences that would sync up with the song — the first is the main synth melody using those silly Wavestation percussive voice sounds, and the second is a beat-synced pseudo-sample-and-hold drone that initially sounds random, but in fact the sequence of timbres is quite deliberate. A Roland S-330 sampler provided the drums (mostly TR-505 samples), clangy struck metal and the Moog bass sound, Yamaha DX11 plays the main synth melody, and the ring modulator breakdown in the middle was played on a Yamaha CS40M. The vocoder in the second verse is from the Wavestation A/D.

I can’t sing a note, so luckily my friend and co-conspirator Glenn Gibson was willing to lay down the vocal. He was recorded into Logic Audio on an old-school Mac, then the whole thing was mixed down to cassette using a Simmons SPM 8:2 mixer (yup). The cassette sat for about 20 years. Today I digitized the cassette, then applied a little EQ and dynamic processing to create this MP3:

Mecha-Mania Boy (1994)

Unfortunately I failed to submit this recording in time to make the compilation. Back then the internet was a dial-up affair for almost everybody, and MP3s didn’t exist yet. Trying to transfer a 30 MB AIFF file using a 14.4 kbps modem was not worth the aggravation. And being young and stupid (and lazy), I failed to send him a master by snail mail.

Then again, maybe the world just wasn’t ready.

7 thoughts on “Mecha-Mania Boy (Devo Cover) – Restored from a 20-year old cassette.

    • We are all our own worst critics – the silly little voice sounds are cool in their own way perhaps, but to me they’re just … so … 1991 or something.

  1. You know, the more I listen to this the more I think I like it a little better that DEVO’s version. And let me tell you,, that’s no small thing cuz I’m a HUGE DEVOtee. How do I purchase a copy?

    • Wow Janice, that’s one of the nicest things anybody probably could have told me! I’ll set up a lossless download and post a link here, shortly. Also there’s a chance that it will make it on to a new fan cover compilation.

  2. Love this song. Trying to make a version with my 8-bit Atari computer.

    You have tabs for it? I have most of it down but bits and pieces I haven’t arranged. Great work!

    • Thanks! Sorry, no tabs. I remember going to a lot of trouble to get all the parts right. I just scoured my hard disk and actually found the Logic song file for this. It was last opened in 1997. It was probably created in Logic 3 or 4. It would contain all of the played parts as MIDI data, including drums, bass, melody. I would offer a MIDI file, but modern “Logic Pro X” won’t open it. I do have some old Logic install CDs, but it would probably be some time before I could actually locate the ol’ dongle and run it somewhere!

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