Chuck Statler

Minneapolis, MN

Chuck Statler, arguably the godfather of the music video, is a pioneer who directed music films for upstart record labels and emerging superstars like Elvis Costello, Madness, and DEVO before MTV’s existence. Minneapolis-based but Akron-born-and-bred, Statler met fellow art students Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerry Casale—the nucleus of DEVO—at Kent State University in the early 1970s. They soon began collaborating on the music films that would become a hallmark of DEVO’s act. Soon Stiff, Blank, ZE Records, and other maverick New Wave labels commissioned Statler to produce films for their artists. Music videos (aka short band films), traced from the budding European “pop clip” business of the 1960s, were used by record labels in America and Europe to promote new talent. Already friendly with many New Wave artists and skilled in 16mm film production, Statler soon found his niche. Highlights include films of Costello, Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Madness, Suicide Commandos, and DEVO. Post-MTV clips include music by Pere Ubu, The Moldy Peaches, and The Wipeouters.

In the Beginning Was the End: The Truth About De-Evolution

(Chuck Statler, 1976)

A music video featuring the band Devo and two of their songs: Secret Agent Man and Jocko Homo. This won an award at the 15th Ann Arbor Film Festival and...