CORRECTION: Initial news reports incorrectly named brain cancer as Alan Myers’ cause of death. Actual cause of death was stomach cancer. -Ed.
Alan Myers, former drummer for New Wave outfit Devo, has passed away. As reported by Slicing Up Eyeballs, the man affectionately nicknamed “The Human Metronome” succumbed to a long battle with brain cancer on June 25.
First news of his passing came from the Facebook page of his friend jazz musician Ralph Carney, who reported, “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……….”
Myers was Devo’s third, and arguably most significant, drummer, anchoring the band through their most successful decade (1976-1986). He played on some of the band’s best-selling albums, including Q. Are We Not Men? A. We Are Devo! and Freedom of Choice. It is his playing we hear on their cult-classic hit “Whip It.”
As noted by the 2003 book We Are Devo!, Myers departed the band in 1986 citing creative differences due to the band’s increased use of electronic drums. After his departure, he made a living as an electrical contractor, but still continued to play drums, most notably in the bands Skyline Electric and Swahili Blonde (with his wife and daughter, respectively).
As news of Myers’ death spread, social media lit up with posts of grief and condolence. Amidst a string of tweets by current Devo bandmate Gerald Casele was this statement: “I begged him not to quit Devo. He could not tolerate being replaced by the Fairlight and autocratic machine music. I agreed… Alan, you were the best – a human metronome and then some.” He also tweeted, “Losing him was like losing an arm.”
R.I.P., Alan Myers. You will be missed. Thank you for teaching us to “whip it.”