Bob Casale, a guitarist and founding member of Devo, passed away on February 17th at age 61 from "conditions that led to heart failure," according to an official statement by his brother and bandmate, Gerald V. Casale.

Known as "Bob 2" to differentiate himself from guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh ("Bob 1"), Casale served as a jack-of-all trades within the band, playing guitar and keyboards and contributing to the production and engineering duties while his brother and Mark Mothersbaugh were the primary frontmen.

Devo, a blue-collar family band from Akron, Ohio, had its aesthetic roots in Futurism and Dada as well as the seedy flotsam and jetsam of American thrift stores. The theory they espoused was much greater than simply the regression of humanity to an ape-like state ("de-evolution"); it warned against corporate oligarchy, and had a particular fascination with labor and utilitarianism (from their ubiquitous industrial jumpsuits to their borrowed lyrics about working in coalmines and being faceless secret agent men). 'Whip It', their biggest hit, was part coy sexual reference, part satire of me-generation motivational business-speak.

Musically, Devo bridged the gap between the Rust Belt proto-punk of Pere Ubu and the motorik grind of Neu! and Kraftwerk. Devo's sense of humanity, whether it was the Ohio accents or Mark Mothersbaugh's idiosyncratic synthesizer parts, always kept the band from being a one-note joke about robots. For the press's endless references to late drummer Alan Myers as "the human metronome," he was hard-hitting enough to help the band cement its ever-growing punk audience.

The Devo of the 1980s appealed both to punks and nerds, even showing up to perform on Square Pegs, Sarah Jessica Parker's sitcom about awkward high-schoolers. The "nerd" signifiers may have been a red herring though: Devo's raison-d'être was about being regular Joes. They likened themselves and their fans to the "spud," the humble potato, the food of the common man.

Yet with all the vox populi talk, a common theme of Devo's work - perhaps as a corollary to de-evolution - was disappointment in the human race. As late as 2010, they lamented that "we are creating a brand new world without us" ('No Place Like Home', from Something for Everybody).

It is unknown at this time whether Devo will continue to record or play live without Bob Casale, but his brother's statement indicated that Bob was "excited about the possibility" of touring again. Rest in peace, Bob 2.