Obits — June 25, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Drummer Alan Myers, Devo’s ‘human metronome’ from 1976 to 1986, loses cancer battle

Alan Myers of Devo

Alan Myers, the third and most well-known of Devo’s drummers, the so-called “human metronome” who anchored the classic albums Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Duty Now for the Future, Freedom of Choice and more, died this week, according to Ralph Carney, a jazz musician and friend of Myers’, and current Devo drummer Josh Freese.

Carney, a onetime bandmate of Myers’ and uncle of The Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney, tonight posted on Facebook earlier tonight: “i just got some bad news. Alan Myers passed yesterday from cancer. he was Devo’s best drummer and one of the first people to teach me about jazz. i cry……….”

UPDATE: Devo’s Gerald Casale has paid tribute to his former bandmate, tweeting:



Devo also released a statement from Mark Mothersbaugh: “Alan Myers’ metronomic drumming style helped define the sparse machinery rhythms that were a signature of our band’s early sound.”

Myers joined Devo in 1976, replacing Jim Mothersbaugh, and played with the band through its formative years in the mid-to-late ’70s and then into the group’s commercial peak with the hit single “Whip It” and beyond. He left the band in 1986, having last appeared on Devo’s album Shout, after reportedly feeling a lack of creative fulfillment.  He was replaced by Sparks’ David Kendrick, but continued to play music in Los Angeles with a variety of ensembles.

Freese has credited Myers’ playing on 1980’s Freedom of Choice as his own inspiration to drum.

In 2010, he told Spin magazine:

“It was the first album I got, when I was eight years old. I sat in my basement and played along to it all the time, so it was crazy when we did that tour last year where we played it top to bottom. It’s fun in the way that it’s very metronomic and the patterns are very deliberate and kind of nursery rhyme. A lot of people think that it’s a drum machine on ‘Whip It.’ But that’s Alan Myers.”


Tonight, Freese tweeted:


And some of Myers’ best-known performances:


Devo, “Whip It”


Devo, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”


Devo, “Freedom of Choice”






  1. My Dad would dance with me on his feet to your songs :) your drumming talent will sure be missed!!!!! One of the best American Drummers ever!

  2. The first of my real idols to die. Seeing Devo in Urgh! A Music War on USA’s Night Flight was one of those formative moments. My best friend Jere promptly ordered Q: Are We Not Men? and Freedom Of Choice from Columbia House (when they would still send vinyl through the mail). I practiced my drums to Devo’s albums for hours, and credit them as the band that got me interested in synthesizers. Rest in peace, Alan.

    • NightFlight and Urgh! and DEVO! It was almost too much perfection to take in one fevered, late-night viewing. Oh that Alan! Rest in Peace, Brother!

  3. Alan was a true inspiration on every level. He was the drummer who taught me how to play drums. It was tragic enough that he quit Devo after “Shout” but this is just devastating on every level. Thank you Alan for sharing your unique talent with the world and teaching me about Elvin Jones, timing, and making the toms rumble. You will always be my favorite drummer! Rest in Peace.

  4. Wow. I’m at a loss for words. RIP Alan. Your talent shines on through the music you left us.

  5. Heart-broken.

    RIP Alan. Condolences to your family, friends & fans. You’ll live on in our hearts.

  6. El Arreglardo

    A sad day indeed. Brings back great memories of the early days when it “wasn’t cool to be a DEVO fan”.

  7. Scott Stalcup

    I know one of the guiding principles of de-evolution is “Be Happy or Not,” but every spud worth his/her genetic imperative is firmly rooted in the “Not” camp at this news. It’s a beautiful world for none of us having heard this news.


  8. As a life long DEVO fan this is such a sad day in my life. DEVO was my first concert and the only one I wanted to see when I was a kid. Thanks Alan for your talent that made many of us happy in our lives.

  9. So Sad. RIP Alan.

    I had the privilege to see Devo live many times in the 70’s and 80’s. He was so good he made it seem easy. Not until I saw them live did I understand there were no “studio tricks”, that was all him.

    I’ve missed him, and now I miss him more.

  10. One of the best drummers around. So rhythmic, so precise, so creative and so interesting. He is such an inspiration to most all post punk and new wave artists.
    You will be missed.

  11. I’ll never forget when DEVO played for the first time on Saturday Night Live. I was 12 then (48 now) and they just blew me away. I had never seen anything like that, no doubt had anyone else at the time. Just so original and powerful. None of the bloated trappings and fake garbage of the era. Straight up music in your face with an act tailored to the “technical simplicity” of the music. RIP Alan Myers

  12. Such a huge part of the Devo sound. Relentless. RIP.

  13. See ya on the other side man. You were great!

  14. The band in heaven just got better.

  15. Jim vandegrift

    Thanks Alan, ya did well.

  16. Eric Frenzel

    Funny how I had been in Allens home so many times and never heard him play the drums, I worked with Allen for years as an electrician, he was the most down to earth person ever, the SNL gig he told me that #1 He loved John Beluchi who aspired to be a drummer, somebody told the group there are 27 million people out there watching so don’t mess up, that pissed Allen off so much he told me his drumming for SNL was on fire. I was just searching Allen out on Facebook and learned of his death, RIP buddy now you can play with Billie Holiday, Allen loved his jazz and would never sell out to commercial music

  17. Sad loss. Was my favourite, Devo was never the same, good but not great when he went. Will see him again in the recom Lab in heaven.

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