Alan Myers (drummer)
Myers in 2006
|Also known as||Human Metronome|
Akron, Ohio, United States
June 24, 2013 (aged 58)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alan Myers (1955 – June 24, 2013) was an American rock drummer whose music career spanned more than 30 years. He came to prominence in the late 1970s as the third and most prominent drummer of the new wave band Devo, replacing Jim Mothersbaugh. Myers was known for the precision of his drumming, especially on the complex and often bizarre rhythms Devo used on their albums. He was often referred to as the Human Metronome.
Alan Myers was born in 1955, in Akron, Ohio, and came from a jazz background. In 1976, he met Bob Mothersbaugh in a café in West Akron, and went to the house Bob and Gerald Casale were renting for an audition.
In early 1970, Bob Lewis and Gerald Casale formed the idea of the "devolution" of the human race after Casale's friend Jeffrey Miller was killed by Ohio National Guardsmen firing on a student demonstration. Myers joined Devo in 1976, replacing Jim Mothersbaugh following his departure, and played on a conventional, acoustic drum kit. After the band underwent a few line-up changes, Myers became part of the most popular five-piece incarnation, which included the Casale brothers: Gerald and Bob ("Bob 2"), and the Mothersbaugh brothers: Mark and Bob ("Bob 1"), and played on Devo's first six studio albums. In 1981, Myers with Devo served as Toni Basil's backing band on Word of Mouth, her debut album, which included versions of three Devo songs, recorded with Basil singing lead.
Some of the tracks on the album New Traditionalists featured drum machines for the first time on a Devo album, and most of the music on their next album Oh, No! It's Devo was created by electronic means, while Shout was made almost entirely using the Fairlight CMI digital sampling synthesizer.
He left between 1986 and 1987 following the commercial failure of their sixth studio album Shout. According to the book We Are Devo, Myers cited a lack of creative fulfilment as his reason for leaving the band. This was something that he had felt since Devo's move to Los Angeles, California, in the late 1970s due to the band's increased use of drum machines and electronics which had greatly reduced Myers' role in the band. He left the band even though Gerald Casale had begged him not to.
Among all of Devo's drummers, Myers is the one most associated with the band. In 1987, Devo reformed with new drummer David Kendrick, formerly of Sparks to replace Myers.
After he had left Devo, Myers went to work as an electrical contractor, but also remained active in the Los Angeles music scene. He recorded a demo with Babooshka, a band that was his girlfriend Greta Ionita's creation, using live drums as well as electronic percussion similar to his last two albums with Devo. Myers also played drums with the Asian-themed pop band Jean Paul Yamamoto. In 2005, he founded the band Skyline Electric which 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 playing in the live ensemble of musical project Swahili Blonde with his daughter, Laena Geronimo (Myers-Ionita).
On June 24, 2013, Myers died at the age of 58, in Los Angeles, California, due to stomach cancer News reports at the time of his death incorrectly cited a brain tumor as the cause. Myers' death was first reported on Facebook by his friend Ralph Carney, a jazz musician who knew him in Devo's hometown of Akron, Ohio, and his death came a day after the release of Devo's compilation album Something Else for Everybody.
Gerald Casale tweeted that Myers was "the most incredible drummer I had the privilege to play with for 10 years. Losing him was like losing an arm." And Josh Freese tweeted that Myers was "1 of [his] all time favs. An underrated/brilliant drummer. Such an honor playing his parts w/Devo. Godspeed Human Metronome."
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- Danton, Eric R (26 June 2013). "Alan Myers, Devo Drummer on 'Whip It,' Dead at 58". Rolling Stone.
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- "Gerald Casale on Twitter: "RE: Alan Myers. I begged him not to quit Devo. He could not tolerate being replaced by the Fairlight and autocratic machine music. I agreed."". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-10-31.
- "Former DEVO drummer Alan Myers loses cancer battle". uberrock.co.uk. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- "Jean Paul Yamamoto". Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Skyline Electric". Retrieved 12 September 2007.
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- Roberts, Randall (June 26, 2013). "Alan Myers, longtime Devo drummer, has died". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 27, 2013.
- "Devo drummer Alan Myers dies of brain cancer". Associated Press. June 26, 2013.
- "Gerald Casale on Twitter: "In praise of Alan Myers, the most incredible drummer I had the privilege to play with for 10 years. Losing him was like losing an arm. RIP!!"". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-10-31.
- "Josh Freese on Twitter: "RIP Alan Myers. 1 of my all time favs. An underrated/brilliant drummer. Such an honor playing his parts w/Devo. Godspeed Human Metronome."". Twitter]]. Retrieved 2016-10-31.
- Danton, Eric R (2013-06-26). "Alan Myers Dead; Ex-Devo 'Whip It' Drummer Was 58, Had Cancer". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-10-31.
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