DEVO’s Mark Mothersbough

Devo made a strong impact on the musical world in their running time. Many believe that since 1984, they been M.I.A. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Bands are like a virus, they have a life span to live and die,” Mothersbaugh said with a full-belly laugh.

Devo has been anything but a fly-by-night virus. They still live and are in full effect. From the innovative and quirky sight and sound to the all-expanding work in scoring movies, commercials, cable programs, and video games Mark Mothersbaugh is still making music and tipping his red dome cap to the world.

“How come I don’t have coffee?” he asked himself out loud. “I need some coffee.”

He excused himself for coffee.

Devo still gets together when asked to for special projects and concerts.

But the salad days of Devo still linger in Mothersbaugh’s mind.

“For me it’s about a fascination in humans, human behavior and the world around us.”

“From an artistic standpoint, it was the biggest, coolest thing that I got to be a part of,” he said. “I miss being in my 20’s. It’s nice being in your 20’s,” he continued and laughed.

Three out of the five original members’ work together at the company Mothersbaugh, along with Casale, founded Mutato Muzika. The name comes from a combination of “mutant” and “potato”.

“Mutant and potato are both Devo song references and the name allowed me to have a non-apparent Devo name for the company,” Mothersbaugh commented.

Mutato formed in the late 80’s. He wanted the company to do work with a different sound from Devo. Which Mothersbaugh feels got locked into a very recognizable vibe.

“It was really constricting,” Mothersbaugh said.

Mutato started quite small; in a living room. It’s now grown and progressed to a large building that’s looks like a green space ship located on Sunset Strip in California.

“It’s a dream come true,” he commented with a sound of satisfaction in his voice.

He recently finished scoring a movie with an 80-piece orchestra for the movie A Guy Thing. His next project to score is a film called Thirteen. He thoroughly enjoys working with Barry Levinson and will score his film Envy in the future.

All the gentlemen at Mutato, Josh Mancell, Albert Fox, Bob Mothersbaugh, and Bob Casale, work on separate projects but also work together as a team. They do six TV shows a week, 60-70 ad campaigns a year as well as some of the biggest video and computer games. Mothersbaugh is responsible for scoring the TV show MD’s.

He has a special place in his heart for his collaborations with Wes Anderson. He loved working with him on projects such as the movies Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tannenbaums and Rushmore. Devo days have a place there as well.

In addition to his audio art, he also does visual art. He is doing gallery shows in Portland Oregon, Santa Monica California and 25-30 other venues worldwide next year.

Devo will be getting their red caps on and doing it up live in conjunction with Tony Hawk’s Huck Jam skateboarding tour on Oct. 24, 2002 in San Diego and Oct. 26 – 27 2002 in Anaheim .

“We keep threatening to do another album now and then,” Mothersbaugh said.

He’ll lie in bed at night thinking about it, kicking around five or six new songs in his head. As the artist in him grows and expands, finding new inspiration can be an ongoing process.

“(It’s) Kinda like (pause) artists tap into different parts of themselves,” he said as a faint phone ring was heard in the background. “For me it’s about a fascination in humans, human behavior and the world around us.”

That is similar to what Devo, as a group, tapped into as well.

“We keep threatening to do another album now and then.”

“We were looking for a way to comment on and respond to what was going on around us,” he continued.

Outside of Mutato and Devo, Mothersbaugh enjoys simpler pleasures; reading, writing and movies. He puts out a couple of books every now and then. He used to write concepts for TV shows, short stories with images and a diary that is half writing and half visuals all on postcards. One book he’s written that has been out of print for many years is “What I Know, vol. 1”. Excerpts from that book also appeared in the “Three Fisted Tales of Bob” anthology along with William S. Burroughs, Robert Anton Wilson and John Shirley.

He likes to read a hodge-podge of page-turners that keep his brain-a-boosting. Recently, he’s picked up the book “Everything Is Illuminated” by Jonathon Safran Foer by accident and is really enjoying it. One science fiction author that made an impact on him is William Gibson.

“I think he influenced our band in some ways,” he said with admiration. “Felt like it was from my time, a kinship to him. I hope we influenced him.”

His taste in music changes all the time, as does his taste in movies. Another phone rang faintly in the background mixing with the busy sounds of people working.

“The first Devo album is special to me,” he said. ” It was about becoming men for the five of us.”

Mutato Muzika can be found at

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