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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
If you grew up in the 1980s, as I did, you must know the song “Whip It” by Devo. Just hearing the name of the song, I start to sing: “When something’s going wrong you must whip it. Now whip it into shape. Shape it up. Get straight. Go forward. Move ahead. Try to detect it. It’s not too late to whip it. Whip it good.”
When I was invited to have lunch with Gerald Casale, one of the founding members of Devo, I could not get the song out of my head. While he is still a musician, Casale is now a winemaker as well with a small label called The 50 by 50. gerald-casale
Gerald Casale was a student in Ohio studying art and 20th century comparative literature when he and his brother, along with three others, started Devo. With the success of their band, they moved to Los Angeles in 1978, about the same time as the birth of California cuisine.
Coming from a blue-collar background, Casale was familiar with “bad wine and processed cheese.” But with some money and an innate curiosity, Casale soon became friends with chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Michael McCarty and Bruce Marder, with whom he would drink Burgundy wines from their cellars.