Devo Responds to Unpaid Royalty Claims from Potential Reagan Assassin
Devo bassist Gerald Casale responded to claim by John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate former President Ronald Reagan, that he owes royalties for a song he “co-wrote” with the group in 1982, claiming it’s “always the nasty things that never go away.”
Hinckley shot Reagan and three others on March 30, 1981, in an attempt to impress the obsessed actress Jodie Foster. He was placed in psychiatric care for over 30 years until his release in 2016. In 2020, a judge ruled that Hinckley could display his writings, artwork, and music under his own name, rather than anonymously.
The move has apparently emboldened Hinckley to talk about other aspects of his unfortunate musical career. In the early 1980s, Devo obtained permission from Hinckley to use part of one of his poems for the lyrics to their song “I Desire”, which appeared on their 1982 album. Oh no! It’s Devo. Hinckley is listed as a co-author alongside Casale and lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh.
Last weekend, Hinckley claimed on Twitter that he was owed money for his contributions to the song. “In 1982 I co-wrote a song with Devo called ‘I Desire’,” he tweeted. “It’s on their album Oh no, it’s Devo. ‘ The album still sells worldwide, especially in Japan and Europe. I haven’t seen royalties for 35 years. What is the problem?”
Casale said News week that he and his bandmates were “blown away by the poetic sociopathy” of Hinckley’s poem, which they saw after it was published in a tabloid following Hinckley’s assassination attempt. He also said he wrote additional lyrics that changed the context of the poem.
“We took two lines from a love poem and then I wrote the following lines which completely distorted the meaning of his lines on their head,” Casale added. “So that the [narrator] tell the girl … to run away from him because he’s a dangerous guy. “
Casale said Devo also received Foster’s blessing to publish “I Desire” and made it clear that they did not approve of Hinckley’s actions. Still, the song didn’t appeal to everyone: Mothersbaugh before. recalled that the group “had the FBI calling and threatening us” as a result of the air.
Listen to “I Desire” by Devo
Casale said he was not sure if Hinckley’s claim of unpaid royalties was true, but that the band would have little to do with it anyway, as it would be the business of the record companies and labels. editing.
“He may not be lying,” Casale said. “We’re not talking about a lot of money here. Believe me, it wasn’t a success. But it certainly wasn’t because of Devo that he didn’t get his money.” He also pointed out that Hinckley had started his own publishing house at some point, meaning that the royalties owed to him “should have been paid to him directly”.
Hinckley appears to have received at least some compensation for his contributions to “I Desire”. In 2017, a 1983 royalty check from Warner Bros. at Hinckley for around $ 610 was sold on eBay. Casale said the check was “bizarre” because Hinckley did not perform on the song and therefore would not have been paid directly by Warner Bros.
Top 40 albums of the new wave
From B-52’s to XTC, from Blondie to Talking Heads, a glimpse of the best LPs of the genre.