“We started off at Akron speed,” Casale joked. “But then, once we went to New York and saw the amazing energy of the Ramones and the Damned, it just put a fire under us.” The quintet started getting some music-industry interest. David Bowie even introduced the group onstage, at one of their 1977 New York shows, calling them “the band of the future.” Their first single, “Mongoloid,” released earlier that same year, had got little buzz; now, the band decided to capitalize on its momentum by recording “Satisfaction” as their second single, releasing it on their own label. Soon after, as labels were bidding over the Ohio eccentrics, the band decamped to Germany, to record their début album with the producer Brian Eno and with Bowie, who wanted to help. Warner Bros. signed the band.
From the start, there was tension during the recording sessions. “They were a terrifying group of people to work with because they were so unable to experiment,” Eno later said. “When they turned up to do this record in Germany, they brought a big chest of recordings they’d already done of these same songs. We’d be sitting there working, and suddenly Mark Mothersbaugh would be in the chest to retrieve some three-year-old tape, put it on, and say, ‘Right, we want the snare drum to sound like that.’ I hate that kind of work.”
“Our goal was to just try and make it as faithful to what we were doing as we could,” Mothersbaugh recalled. “But Brian and David added on extra harmony vocals, and they put in synth parts. When we weren’t in the studio, Eno would go in on his own and record extra parts over the top of our songs. Most always, we took all the stuff out that they did.” In the end, the song basically emerged unchanged from Devo’s prior recording.