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PASSINGS: Bob Casale, Mavis Gallant

Bob Casale, guitarist with '80s group Devo, dies at 61; Mavis Gallant, Paris-based writer known for short stories, dies at 91.

11:04 PM EST, February 18, 2014

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Bob Casale

Guitarist with '80s group Devo

Bob Casale, 61, guitarist for Devo, whose commercial success peaked in the early '80s with the MTV hit "Whip It," died unexpectedly Monday of heart failure in Marina del Rey, his brother Gerald said.

Bob had recently been hospitalized because of stomach ailments, his brother said Tuesday, but had been thought to be recovering. Gerald said his younger brother was otherwise in good health and had been working on numerous Devo-related projects.

Devo was formed in the early 1970s in Akron, Ohio, by singer Mark Mothersbaugh and bassist Gerald, who met while at Kent State University. Gerald recruited Bob for guitar and keyboards. Mothersbaugh's brother, also named Bob, played guitar, and drummer Alan Myers rounded out the group, which straddled the avant-garde and pop worlds with a twisted, technologically savvy take on rock 'n' roll.

By the time Devo released "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" in 1978, the band had cemented an oddball presentation, whether it was the group's deconstructed version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" or its yellow lab-suit costumes, that left audiences guessing.

Bob Casale later worked with Mark Mothersbaugh at the Devo frontman's Mutato Muzika facility, writing music for films and television.

Devo in recent years had performed on and off, occasionally releasing new material. The band performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2010. Myers, the drummer, died last year of brain cancer.

Mavis Gallant

Paris-based writer known for short stories

Mavis Gallant, 91, the Montreal-born writer who carved out an international reputation as a master short-story author while living in Paris for decades, died Tuesday in Paris. Her publisher, Random House of Canada, confirmed her death.

The bilingual Quebecois started out as a journalist and went on to publish well over 100 short stories in her lauded career, many of them in the New Yorker magazine and in collections such as "The Other Paris, "Across the Bridge" and "In Transit." She also wrote two novels, "Green Water, Green Sky" and "A Fairly Good Time," as well as the play "What Is to Be Done?"

Though Montreal's literary scene was thriving — with writers including Irving Layton, Mordecai Richler and Leonard Cohen — Gallant left Canada for Europe in 1950. She eventually settled in Paris, where she felt she could live solely as a fiction author as opposed to having to supplement her income elsewhere.

"I found for the first time in my life a society where you could say you're a writer and not be asked for three months' rent in advance," she said in the 2006 Bravo! television documentary "Paris Stories: The Writing of Mavis Gallant."

Born Mavis Leslie Young in 1922, Gallant was an only child in a fractured, English-speaking Protestant family: Her father died when she was young and her mother remarried. Starting from age 4, she attended numerous boarding schools in Canada and the U.S., many of which were French and had no other English-speaking students besides her.

After graduation, Gallant returned to Montreal and landed an entry-level stint at the National Film Board and then a job as a reporter for the Montreal Standard.

In 1942, Gallant married Winnipeg musician John Gallant, but they divorced five years later.

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