Jocko Homo  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Jocko Homo" is the B-side to Devo's first single, "Mongoloid." Based on a chant from the movie Island of Lost Souls, "Jocko Homo" introduced the call-and-response "Are we not men?" / "We are Devo", and is generally considered to be Devo's anthem. The title is taken from an anti-evolution tract called Jocko-Homo Heavenbound by B. H. Shadduck. The song revolves around an idiosyncratic descending guitar riff and absurdist lyrics. The song peaked at #62 on the UK Singles Chart.

Song lyrics and themes

The song's verses primarily concern themselves with the satirical view of devolution, noting foibles in human society. Most versions include a bridge that begins with "God made man, but he used the monkey to do it." The song also contains several call and response choruses, including the repeated chant "Are we not Men? / We are Devo!" "Jocko Homo," in its variations, has also contained other chants between the main verses and the closing chant. These include "We Accept You / We Reject You / One of us! One of us!" (a reference to Tod Browning's Freaks ) and "I've got a rhyme that comes in a riddle / O-Hi-O! / What's round on the ends and high in the middle? / O-Hi-O!"

The song usually begins in the unusual time signature of 7/8 time, but switches partway through to common 4/4 time for the call and response sections.

The original version of "Jocko Homo" lacks all call and response choruses except "Are we not men?", as well as the "God made man" bridge. This demo version appears on the Hardcore Devo: Volume One compilation. The Booji Boy Records single version contains both the "O-Hi-O!" and the "God made man" bridge. The version on Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO! only includes the "God made man" bridge.

Mothersbaugh attributes the line "Are we not men?" to the 1932 film Island of Lost Souls, saying "There were like, watered down, wussy versions of it in the later Islands Of Dr. Moreau stuff, but that was a really intense movie." Island of Lost Souls is a film adaptation of the 1896 H.G. Wells novel Island of Doctor Moreau, from which the line originated.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jocko Homo" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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