When Devo was scheduled to play the House of Blues October 9, Joey Ugalde, 20, and Kaitlin Mattick, 18, of the Chula Vista-based new-wave band the Atoms, decided to hang out on Fifth Avenue and listen from the street.
Ugalde says they were standing outside the House of Blues when..."Kaitlin says, 'Oh, my God!' and walking toward us in these huge, metallic glasses is Mark Mothersbaugh [of Devo]." Ugalde gushed about Devo's influence on his band before giving him a copy of their demo.
"Then [Mothersbaugh] pops the question: 'So, are you gonna go to the show tonight?' " Ugalde says. "As soon as he said that, he realizes, 'Oh, you just told me you're under 21.' We put on our sad faces and told him we were just happy to hear the sound from outside...."
Mothersbaugh said, "Well, you know what? Let me try to get you in for the sound check." About 15 minutes later, Michael Pilmer, Devo's visual art project coordinator, came out to grab them on behalf of Mothersbaugh. He told the reluctant security guard, "Devo is ready to do their sound check, and they're waiting for me to get these kids in because Mark's friends with them and they're just waiting for them to come in."
The pair was led inside the empty club and seated in the front row of the balcony. Pilmer signaled the band, and they kicked into "That's Good."
The band performed for about 20 minutes before security tried to throw Ugalde and Mattick out. Mothersbaugh stepped in and told the staff to leave them be. After the sound check, Ugalde said bassist Jerry Casale asked Mothersbaugh who they were.
Ugalde says, "The P.A. is still on and Mark says, 'They're the Atoms. They're a band,' through the speakers."