May 1980: Devo releases Freedom Of Choice, its third LP. The title song is a brilliant bit of synthpop satire, contrasting its chorus—“Freedom of choice / Is what you got / Freedom from choice / Is what you want”—with verses based on Aesop’s fable “The Dog And Its Reflection.”
1983: Mitt Romney, in a fit of Clark Griswold-esque pique, prepares for a roadtrip by placing his family’s Irish setter, Seamus, in a modified dog carrier and strapping said carrier to the roof of the family station wagon.
June 2007: The Boston Globe includes the story of “crate-gate” in a profile of Romney, including the crucial detail that Seamus responded to his open-air ride by shitting all over the Romney-mobile. The website Dogs Against Romney is founded in response.
September 2007: 21-year-old University of Florida student Andrew Meyer is Tasered by campus security during an address by Senator John Kerry. Video of the incident becomes a YouTube phenomenon, spurring the online catchphrase “Don’t tase me, bro!” Founding Devo member Jerry Casale sees both the video and reads the Romney profile, bookmarking both for later use.
April 2009: Mark Mothersbaugh intones “Don’t tase me, bro!” in the coda of “Don’t Shoot, I’m A Man,” the first single from Devo’s forthcoming Something For Everyone, its first album since 1990’s Smooth Noodle Maps.
June 2011: Romney formally announces his candidacy for the 2012 United States presidential election.
Summer 2012: Casale simultaneously recalls the Romney-Seamus story and “Don’t tase me, bro!” and persuades his bandmates to join him in the studio to record “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Seamus Unleashed).” No one tells him this is a bad idea for a song, nor reminds him of the better, subtler political statements Devo has made in song in the past, because apparently they haven’t read an interview with Casale in the last 10 years.
August 2012: “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro!” debuts online, alongside the announcement of a mobile game, The Crate Escape: Seamus Unleashed, made possible by a partnership with Dogs Against Romney. Casale tells Rolling Stone “This isn’t a red-state thing or Devo stumping for Obama. But I think any animal lover that hears the story will learn so much about the character flaw of Romney.” “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro!” is added to the “Do Not Play” list of songs for official Romney events, alongside Silversun Pickups’ “Panic Switch.”
November 2012: Despite being a weird, unfunny blot at the tail end of the Devo discography, “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro!” achieves its goal: Not a single dog casts a vote for Romney in the general election. Emboldened by this turn of events, Casale begins drafting “Paul Ryan Ain’t My Honey Badger” in anticipation of 2016.