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Mark Mothersbaugh

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The mastermind behind Devo's ironic and provocative electronic pop, Mark Mothersbaugh later enjoyed success composing for film and television. In keeping with Devo's dehumanized, automaton image, Mothersbaugh obscured the details of his upbringing, although it is known he co-founded the group in 1972 with keyboardist Jerry Casale, a fellow art student at Kent State University. A pioneering force behind the marriage of music and video, Devo's futuristic image and robotic pop sound underscored their stated (albeit tongue-in-cheek) belief in mankind's cultural de-evolution. With their deliberately soulless 1978 cover of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction," the group landed a contract with major label Warner Bros. The album Freedom of Choice went platinum on the strength of the band's million-selling pop hit "Whip It," but after subsequent efforts appeared to diminishing critical and commercial returns, Devo disappeared for the better part of the mid-'80s. Mothersbaugh then moved into composing commercial jingles and soundtracks, scoring the children's television favorites Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Rugrats in addition to feature films like Bottle Rocket, Happy Gilmore, and Rushmore. He resumed his Devo activities with 1988's Total Devo and occasionally re-formed the group over the decade to follow; Mothersbaugh additionally opened his own Los Angeles-based production company, Mutato Muzika. ~ Jason Ankeny

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