Alan Myers died Monday in Los Angeles at age 58 as a result of his struggle with brain cancer. The third and most important drummer of alternative band Devo, Myers was called the Human Metronome. He performed with the band in the critical 1976 to 1985 period and was the drummer on Devo’s iconic hit, 1980’s “Whip It.”
On Wednesday Devo spokesman Michael Pilmer confirmed the sad news that Alan Myers had died. The band’s website also posted a brief notice.
Singer and co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh said simply: “Alan Myers’ metronomic drumming style helped define the sparse machinery rhythms that were a signature of our band’s early sound.”
The New York Times report noted that Devo co-founder Gerald Casale said that the Devo could have never gotten as far as it did without Alan Myers:
“We were mostly in basements and garages writing songs. It was Alan that brought everything to life…
“People watching him thought we were using a drum machine. Nobody had ever drummed like that.”
An Associated Press report added that Alan Myers was a peaceful practitioner of Tai Chi, which Casale said made him fit right in with Devo’s unconventional style.
On the Club Devo website, Casale added that Myers was “the most incredible drummer I had the privilege to play with for 10 years. Losing him was like losing an arm.”
The always-experimental Alan Myers left Devo after recording the album Shout, saying that he was seeking more creative fulfilment. Well into the 21st century, Alan Myers continued to perform in experimental groups in the Los Angeles area, including a live ensemble with his daughter called Swahili Blonde.
The news that Alan Myers has died seems to close a door on an era.
[Devo 2010 performance photo by Phil Roeder via Flickr and Wikimedia Commons]