Hear Mark Mothersbaugh Recount Devo’s Beginnings in Animated Clip
In a new animated video created by Google Play and California Sunday magazine, Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh discusses how he first discovered his interest in music and the band’s origins.
“I was absolutely certain that music was invested just to torture me,” Mothersbaugh says in the clip, which you can watch above (via Vulture). “I thought it was a terrible thing to waste your time learning an instrument, until, at 12 years old, we’d all watch Ed Sullivan while eating dinner. One day, it’s just a typical Ed Sullivan Show, and the Beatles come on … and I just remembered, ‘That’s why I’ve spent my whole life learning to play music – so I can do that.’”
Mothersbaugh also recounted Devo’s early days when he, bassist Jerry Casale and guitarist Bob Lewis were students at Kent State University in Ohio during the time of the school shootings in 1970.
“When we first started Devo, Jerry and Bob and I were artists who were working in a number of different medias,” he says. “We were around for the shootings at Kent State, and it affected us. We were thinking like, ‘What are we observing?’ We decided we weren’t observing evolution; we were observing devolution so we decided to write music around that.”
He goes on to discuss the band’s move to L.A. and stumbling on their hit song, “Whip It,” and its ramifications on them as artists.
“And then we accidentally got a hit and that in some ways was a conundrum, because it meant that the record companies then for the first time took an interest and said, ‘Do anything you guys want to do, just do another ‘Whip It,’” he explains. “I never thought of music as writing a hit song. We were just reporting the good news of devolution.”