The Source of all the Music in your Head
December 6, 2007 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Are You Not DEVO? You Are Mutato! LA Weekly goes behind the scenes of Mutato Muzika, the commercial music studio owned by Mark Mothersbaugh. Mark is a visual artist, composer, oh, and front man for a little band called DEVO who is "spending December at Mutato trying to create an album’s worth of new material and contemplating a method of dispersal in the post-record-company world."
posted by SansPoint (14 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
'Watch Us Work It', the new song in the Dell commercials, is way better than it has any right to be.

That's because it was produced by Teddybears.

I'm an old DEVO head, but the last 3 albums were teh suck.
Sorry, Mark.
posted by SPUTNIK at 12:13 PM on December 6, 2007

(waits for item to come into thread)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:16 PM on December 6, 2007

Devo are incredible. And they have never, ever equalled their first show, wherein they were hired as a Bad Company cover band to open for Sun Ra, pissed off the crowd enough for the promoters to turn off their equipment, and finally managed to annoy everyone into kicking them off the stage by playing "I Need A Chick To Suck My Dick."

Sun Ra has been quoted as saying that he dug it.
posted by koeselitz at 12:16 PM on December 6, 2007 [3 favorites]

Great post, thanks. Devo's sharp decline after Freedom of Choice (or New Traditionalists if I'm feeling charitable) is thankfully more than offset by the unequaled subversive brilliance of their first three or so albums.
posted by anazgnos at 12:29 PM on December 6, 2007

i like the acknowledgement of the post-record-company world.
posted by bruce at 12:29 PM on December 6, 2007

Saw the spuds play summer before last. They were phenomenal. Or they weren't.
posted by kaseijin at 12:34 PM on December 6, 2007

I read this earlier this afternoon and now that it's on Metafilter, the creepy synchronicity in my life is complete. I've been thinking a lot about scoring TV and ads lately, and (oddly enough) had a dream about Mothersbaugh last week. I knew he was big in this sort of thing, of course, but had no idea how ubiquitous he (and his sound) had become. Apparently my hindbrain is better informed than my forebrain.

The sense of humor he maintains about the whole thing--the article, at least, makes him just sound generally amused about it all--is great, and I think it's probably part of the secret of his success. Someone (not Mothersbaugh) is quoted about the split between "art" and "craft" in the mind of a commercial composer, and I think that hits it on the head: sort of a detached amusement about the process.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:43 PM on December 6, 2007

Very cool! I know Randy Roberts, author of the article -- he's new to LA and clearly enjoying himself there. Good stuff.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:50 PM on December 6, 2007

Jesus, I was creating those "mutant" photos last weekend on a standard photo program built into my little brother's iMac. Can I sell the ones I did for 25 bones, too?

P.S. Mothersbaugh's music is beautiful and genius.
posted by adamms222 at 12:59 PM on December 6, 2007

Mothersbaugh's music for first season of Big Love pretty much doubled my enjoyment of the series—it's really perfect. Unfortunately, David Byrne's music for the second season halved my enjoyment. Lets have some more Mothersbaugh, please.
posted by lovejones at 1:28 PM on December 6, 2007

Can I not like Devo or anything related to it? Please?

I mean, I'm all for the anti-pop ideals and dystopian views of the world and all that, but it always struck me as a strange duplicity to sell that message to ad agencies to make a fast buck. But, of course, maybe that was part of the message as well.
posted by daq at 2:44 PM on December 6, 2007

The Great Mutato?
posted by sparkletone at 4:57 PM on December 6, 2007

Freedom of Choice, from MI local cable music video show, circa '84.

Now that's devo!
posted by humannaire at 6:35 PM on December 6, 2007

We are not men. We are shills for swiffer!
posted by arse_hat at 9:51 PM on December 6, 2007

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