Devo Spice
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Devo Spice

Stockholm, New Jersey, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Stockholm, New Jersey, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Hip Hop Comedy




"Nerdy Rapper is Funny, Too"

HAMBURG — Tom Rockwell of Hamburg was one of 50 comedy musicians who performed in the New York Funny Songs Fest. The event, held over the course of four days in early June, showcased comedy musicians in eight locations on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Rockwell, a Web programmer for Verizon during the week, dons his custom-made baseball cap and irreverent T-shirt and performs his musical comedy on the weekends under the name Devo Spice.
Rockwell developed his stage name from a childhood experience on a family trip to Florida. “When I was in Florida, I was watching a bunch of break dancers,” explained Rockwell. “One guy was beat boxing and I heard someone else talking about his spice, referring to his sound and how cool it was. It never caught on, and I never heard it again. It may have been local to Florida. Devo is short for devastating. It should be Deva because the way devastating is spelled, but I didn't want to be Deva Spice.”
His musical and comical tastes and talents developed concurrently. “When I was a kid I always enjoyed parodies and silly songs. Rap was the first style of music I ever really liked. I started writing my own raps,” said Rockwell. He has rapped recreationally since 1986, but got serious about making a business out of his musical comedy talent about 12 years ago.
“I created a Web site and started performing regularly. I got gigs at science fiction conventions all around the country. I have songs about Dr. Who, Star Trek and other nerdy topics like that. Because some of it is nerdy I could get a foot in the door at science fiction conventions.”
Rockwell’s everyday experiences inspire his song writing. “A lot is about computer problems,” said Rockwell. “Whenever my computer crashes it is fodder for my songs.” He has done songs on road rage, airline delays and bad roommates. “I wrote a song called “The Mouth” about an ex-roommate of mine. He wouldn't shut it (his mouth) and he ate everything in the house.”
On the road

No gig is too big or too small for Rockwell. “I did a club in New York City with two other bands and nobody came; literally nobody came,” said Rockwell. “Me and these two other bands, and nobody came to see any of us. I performed for them, and then they performed for me. We had a good time and we went home.”
Not all of his gigs have been indoors. “I performed on a street corner in Harlem once. It was for the New York Marathon. Organizers booked artists to perform along the route of the marathon. It was great.”
Rockwell attracted a nationwide audience through the "Dr. Demento" comedy music show. Demento specializes in playing novelty and comedy songs, such as the parodies by Al Yankovic, in his radio broadcasts. Demento’s show has moved to an Internet format. “I had my music played on a "Dr. Demento" show and had huge success,” said Rockwell. “In 2007 I had the number one most requested song of the year, the number two most requested song of the year, the number four most requested song of the year and I was featured on song number five. Weird Al hasn't even done that.”
His largest audience was more than 1,000 people at World Con, the world science fiction convention in Reno, Nevada, last August. He performed at Dragon Con in Atlanta, a general sci-fi convention that attracted many Star Trek and Star Wars fans, where he was one of musical guests. “I wasn't even on the stage. I was in a walkway between rows of meeting rooms.” He started out surrounded by a few dozen fans who came specifically to see him perform. More and more convention attendees heard his comedy rap and stopped to listen.
“By the end of it there had to be 300 people watching my show, which was fantastic.”
Rockwell performed at Nerd A Palooza in Florida and Key Con in Manitoba. Canada. “I'll go anywhere,” said Rockwell. “The only rule is no two weekends in a row.”
Latest album
“Gnome Sane” is Rockwell’s latest album. “It is a play on the hip-hop phrase ‘do you know what I am saying’ which gets shortened to gnome saying, two syllables. “I did something a little different when I promoted it. Every two days I put out a track from the album.” He told his fans to buy the complete album on April 1 on iTunes. “The deal was if you bought the album on iTunes and send me the receipt to prove it, I sent you a physical CD. It worked. On April 1 my album went to 28 on the hip-hop charts on iTunes. It only lasted for an hour or two but it happened and I have proof.” - The Advertiser News South

"DEVO SPICE - Gnome Sane?"

Tom Rockwell aka Devo Spice needs no introduction if you're a fan of the Dr. Demento show or an aficionado of nerdcore (a genre primarily composed of comedic rap songs.) But if you haven't heard of him, get ready for a good chuckle. With a deadpan delivery, sampled beats (that often turn into clever mashups,) a sharp wit, and a plethora of nerdist pop-culture references, Devo Spice wrings humor from our technology-obsessed day to day lives. If there's a knock, it's that he often visits the same territory twice: There are songs about nerds and geeks, Christmas and Halloween, Twitter and Facebook. But Rockwell (along with a stellar cast of nerdcore guest stars, including Worm Quartet, the Great Luke Ski, MC Lars, and YT Cracker) hits the mark more often than he misses. Pick hits: "Platform Wars" (Mac vs PC), "I'm Not Your Personal IT Guy," and probably the ultimate nerdcore in-joke, " Weird Al Didn't Write This Song." - Jersey Beat Magazine

"Devo Spice :: Gnome Sane?"

Dr. Demento's reigning king of hip-hop humor is Devo Spice, also known as the front man of the rap parody band Sudden Death. Over time it became obvious that Devo Spice is to Sudden Death as KRS-One is to Boogie Down Productions - the latter simply doesn't exist without the former. This led to a low-key rebranding where Spice put himself at the forefront, which honestly makes perfect sense when looking at the liner notes to his latest CD "Gnome Sane?" Spice, also known as Tom Rockwell, is large and in charge on the majority of this 19 song CD handling lyrics, music and vocals all in one fell swoop. That's not to say there aren't cameo appearances and a few guest producers (we'll get to that) but it's pretty clear here that Spice isn't taking over the name as an ego thing. In fact if any rappers have puffed up egos about their importance in hip-hop, Spice's parodies are bound to take them down a peg or two. Take for example "I Hate Mondays," Spice's response to Asher Roth:

"I only got college for another three weeks
Trying to pass, I cheat off the geeks
For that to work I have to get to class
Which means, I really have to move my ass
So fill up my cup, coffee straight up
I drive in a daze like huh, who, what?
I make it to class but don't feel great
A one hour class, I'm fifty minutes late
Got a pop quiz, don't know what the topic is
Gonna have to take it, guess I'll just fake it
I see the worried faces, all over the places
Pray to three gods just to cover all the bases"

"I Hate Mondays" is the perfect antithesis to the college frat boy party life that Roth espouses, showing the consequences of being hungover, graduating with a low GPA, and winding up in an unsatisfying dead-end job. It's not really intended as a morality play though - just a humorous send-up of Roth's carefree lifestyle. Spice takes after Weird Al Yankovic in that his parodies aren't spiteful or mean-spirited - they just take three decades of hip-hop for a spin on the merry-go-round. Where it stops is not a mystery though - the song titles are your guide. "The Geeks Come Out at Night" featuring The Great Luke Ski flips Whodini into a tale of a comic book con gone wrong, but Spice could only be intimately familiar with the foibles from having been to a few himself. That's also why "Nothin' But a Geek Thang" featuring Worm Quarter works so well: he's making fun of himself and the occasionally pretentious nerdcore rap set at the same time. Like most Yankovic parodies, the beat is just different enough to get away with it but just familiar enough to get the point across. Oh, but did I tell you "Weird Al Didn't Write This Song" or any of the others? Maybe Spice is a little tired of the comparisons:

"I've got all the porn I can get, so now I'm searchin 'round the net
for some Metallica albums I haven't downloaded yet
They've had more misses than hits lately and greatly gone soft
But I do it just because I know it pisses them off
I go on another hunt and check another locale
for stuff I want and find a folder titled OLDER WEIRD AL
It's news to me but here's an early Billy Joel parody about buggary
called "It's Still Just a Hole to Me"
Believe me when I tell you the shock value astounds
It's a catchy little tune using crappy MIDI sounds
Recorded by a teen working in a machine shop
And the singer sounds like William Hung gargling a mop
How could anyone think Al had this done?
Oh right, the average IQ online is 81
So I give up, I don't even try to understand why
these songs are written by this WIRED Al YANKOVICH guy!"

Devo Spice isn't bothered by the comparisons to Weird Al at all - he's bothered by all the songs that get mislabeled as Al parodies that aren't. He's not exaggerating - there are thousands and thousands of mislabeled songs on the internet the Al-ster never did. The song serves another good point though - Spice's original material can be just as good and in some cases funnier than his parodies. His duet with Luke Ski called "Platform Wars" was the #4 most requested song on the Dr. Demento show in all of 2009, and it's a send up of all those "I'm a Mac - and I'm a PC" TV commercials that seem to have mercifully come to an end. It's among the non self-produced tracks on the album, as T. Uliasz steps in for a spell. Although Luke and Spice have fun taking potshots at each other in their respective roles, Linux REALLY gets taken to task by both when he tries to jump in (as played by Dual Core). I won't spoil it for you - you can check out the song's music video for yourself.

To this point we've clearly established that Devo Spice is a funny dude, whether as part of Sudden Death or on his own, and that "Gnome Sane?" is some of his best work to date. To be fair though there are a few caveats. Since Spice is a really nice guy, the barbs that might sting the sharpest are never really fired out of the quill. He's happy making fun of Twitter and of being broke on Christmas, but there's no song about Lindsay -

"Picklehead Music on Fatal Accident Zone (2002)"

Okay, we'll admit it up front. Normally we don't listen to a lot of rap music here at the Picklehead Mansion. We're not sure why - we just don't. But when we listened to this CD from these rappers from New Jersey, we nearly fell off our Picklehead Thrones. As featured on Dr. Demento and other radio stations around the country, this new CD features great rappin' comedy. ... And as a special bonus, this CD even includes some bonus CD-ROM material for your computer! - Picklehead Music

"Torpedo Magazine on Fatal Accident Zone (2002)"

The latest CD from these Dr. Demento regulars featuring geeky comedy rhymesmith Tom Rockwell and whoever the hell he feels like working with. This is a collection of rap parodies (Jay-Z, Kid Rock, and the Fat Boys are among those who take it on the nose,) and hysterical originals. Very witty and clever stuff tackling such worthy topics as Hangnails, the Superfriends, New Jersey ("The state symbol is Calvin urinating on a Ford truck",) and one somewhat serious standard "everything on the radio sucks" soapbox song. The high point, in my humble-yet-published-in-this-magazine opinion, is "Dead Rappers," an incredibly funny rant about how hip hop artists continue releasing albums despite the minor handicap of being deceased ("I got some advice for those who hate Eminem, don't kill him cuz then you'll never get rid of him.") ...I still recommend the hell out of this disc. -RS - Torpedo Magazine

"Dr. Demento Reviews Unplugged (1998)"

Review by Dr. Demento. Sudden Death, which has been circulating home-made tapes for a decade, broke through this year with the Funny Five hit "South Park Junkie." Sudden Death's first CD may still sound a little like a cassette, but Tom Rockwell's comic raps are pure delight. He's funny, and fun to listen to even if you hate most rap music. Includes "The Mouth," "Silicon Valley" and a cover of Weird Al's "Happy Birthday." Guest appearances by fellow home-tapers Mr. Zipp and the great Luke Ski. Printed lyrics included. - The Demento Society News

"Review of Fatal Error (2008)"

Sudden Death – aka Hamburg, NJ-based comedy/rapper Tom Rockwell – is back with another album of lo-fi old school beats and laugh-out-loud lyrics about our modern over-technologized, underperforming world. Pharmaceuticals, encroaching middle age, horror flicks, and that awful new flu bug that’s going around are just a few of this targets. It helps to get all the jokes if you’re well-versed in scifi and computer-geek speak, especially when Rockwell starts rapping about robots and RAM bytes. The beats here may not make Timbaland lose any sleep, but they keep the flow moving and give the album enough musical depth that you’re likely to listen to this more than once, unlike a lot of comedy albums.

Sudden Death has been knocking around since 1990 but unless you’re a faithful listener of Dr. Demento’s syndicated radio show (where Rockwell is one of the most requested acts in the 37-year history of the show,) you’ve probably never heard of the guy. Well, listen up, yo; this shit be funny. - Jersey Beat Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



Devo Spice is a comedy-rapper from New Jersey who has been called "the red-headed stepson of Weird Al Yankovic and Eminem." His demented brand of hip hop made him one of the most popular artists on the nationally syndicated Dr. Demento Show. Devo Spice founded the comedy rap group Sudden Death whose songs "Cellular Degeneration", "Getting Old Sucks" and "Pillagers" were the numbers 1, 2, and 4 most requested songs on Dr. Demento in 2007. 

Devo Spice performs regularly across the country at music clubs, comedy clubs, and science fiction conventions. He has shared the stage with Dr. Demento, MC Lars, MC Frontalot, Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm, and many others. The live show features videos and animations synchronized with the music resulting in a hilarious show that goes over very well with a variety of audiences.

Devo Spice has had a total of eight #1 songs on the Dr. Demento Show and many more Top 10 and Funny Five hits.  His 2011 album Gnome Sane reached #28 on the Hip Hop charts on iTunes.  

In 2014 Devo Spice celebrated the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who by releasing a concept album called I Am The Doctor which features one song per incarnation of The Doctor along with the title track.  The album features cameo appearances by several actors from the original run of the show.

For more information on Devo Spice please visit his web site at:

Band Members