“1978 sometime. I’m home alone watching Saturday Night Live, and BAM! Devo hits the stage with their take on the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction and … well, call it a Ballad of a Thin Man moments (ie: that Bob Dylan song where he sneers at straight old normal Mr. Jones and says, ‘Something is happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you?’) Except I wasn’t even twenty years old yet, how the hell could I be as uncool as Mr. Jones? And anyway, I had heard Devo already and didn’t hate them, but I didn’t exactly get them either. What I was, of course, was confused, which I’d eventually realize was the whole point. Devo existed to confuse. The trick was to trust this confusion, maybe even love it, embrace it as the true and weird future for all of mankind. Or something like that. I guess I’m still confused, but man, I do love that first Devo album.” (Philip Random)
Boys Keep Swinging being one of those David Bowie tracks that should’ve been a huge hit (and it did actually chart in the UK), but the Americas of the late 1970s just weren’t ready for a song about boys being boys, cutting their moves, striking their poses, popping cherries, checking out other boys, looking good in uniforms. Certainly not one sung by a known alien.
In which Mr. Frank Zappa and his Mothers of Invention ditch the Junior High humor for three minutes or so and spit out the necessary truth about all the slime that was oozing out of folks’ TV sets and radios back in the early 70s (and it still is). Not just gross, perverted, vile, pernicious, obsessed and deranged, but a tool of government (and industry too) destined to rule and regulate. So why do we keep watching?