Devo plans comeback album, asks for fan participation

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American new-wave band Devo, best known for the 1980 hit "Whip It," has launched an unconventional marketing campaign for its spring 2010 comeback album, the first since 1990's Smooth Noodle Maps. Fresh off a performance at the Vancouver Olympic Games, the band is calling on fans to participate in a "color study" as the first of a series of focus groups that will determine the album's direction.

In a letter on the band's website, "CCO of Devo, Inc. Greg Scholl" announces that "our partners, Warner Brothers and the ad agency Mother LA," (a visit to reveals Devo as the agency's sole client) "have initiated a series of studies to help the band determine every decision it makes regarding its body covering, its brand color, its graphic icons and even its choice of vocal style and instrumentation on any given song!"

The letter continues, "Devo has remarked that the typical artist feels special because he or she invents his own world and sticks to it, all outside opinions be damned! Instead the band feels it's much more special to actually listen to others' ideas and feelings and take them into account. It's a brave new attitude that I commend them for."

Devo is now offering a free download of the song "Fresh," "to gather valuable feedback which will be part of their song selection survey," according to the website. Listen to the song on the site, or receive it by email accompanied by a short message from Devo Inc.