Mark Allen Mothersbaugh (born May 18, 1950 in Akron, Ohio) is an American musician, composer, singer, and painter.


While Mothersbaugh attended Kent State as an art student, he met Devo co-founders Jerry Casale and Bob Lewis. After the infamous Kent State shootings closed the school for the spring and summer of 1970, Mothersbaugh joined with Lewis and Casale who continued to develop the idea of the "devolution" of the human race, produce multi-media literary and Art Devo and, by 1973, started to perform music together as Devo, eventually known as a New Wave rock group.

Mark has limited his time with Devo as he developed a successful career writing musical scores for commercials, television, and film. In film, Mothersbaugh has worked frequently with filmmaker Wes Anderson, and scored Wes's first four feature films (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)ref, and contributed one percussion composition to the soundtrack for Moonrise Kingdom. Mark wrote the score for Thor: Ragnarok.

His musical compositions have been a staple of children's television shows since he did much of the music for Pee-Wee's Playhouse[1] in the 80's. Mark wrote music scores for many other shows including Rugrats and Clifford the Big Red Dog. He also wrote the theme song for the new Felix the Cat show for Hanna Barbera, and in 1990 and the theme song for The New Super Mario World for DiC Entertainment in 1991.

Mothersbaugh is also known for his music in video games including Sony's Crash Bandicoot series (which was primarily composed by Josh Mancell), the Jak and Daxter series, and Maxis Software's The Sims 2. This work is often done by Mutato Muzika, the music production company he formed with several other former members of Devo including his brother, Bob Mothersbaugh.

Mothersbaugh has composed music scores for many commercials including the distinctive music heard in the award-winning "Get A Mac" commercials (seen on TV and online) for Apple Computer 2006/2007.

In 2016, Mark had a major art career retrospective show that toured the country and an accompanying boo k. Jerry disputed the book's factuality and its emphasis on Devo, as Devo is separate from Mark's art and music scoring career. [2] [3]

In 2021, Mark participated with singer-songwriter and innovator Beatie Wolfe in “Postcards for Democracy,” a campaign to “encourage as many people as possible to support USPS (at this critical time), our right to vote, and democracy as a whole via the power of art.” They enlisted people to make and mail postcard art which was then exhibited in a museum.

DEVO members responded to Russia’s unprovoked war against the independent democracy of Ukraine by donating one month’s song licensing revenue to ‘Music Saves UA’ and ‘World Central Kitchen’ and encouraged others to join them “to help make this gesture reach critical mass.” Hollywood Reporter

In a tribute to Paul Reubens Mark said that writing music for Pee-wee’s Playhouse “changed the trajectory” of his career.

Rev. Mothersbaugh is also a member[4] [5] and ordained Minister of the Church of the SubGenius, which is both a parody and a real religion. It mocks consumerism, cults, and the commercialization of religion, and Mark has produced songs and visual arts for the Church. [6]

Early Life[]

Life without glasses[]

Mothersbaugh is legally blind. At the age of seven, he was taken to the optometrist where he obtained his first pair of glasses and saw, for the first time, "smoke from chimneys and birds." After truly "experiencing" the world for the first time, Mothersbaugh started to draw, and his second grade teacher praised his work. That same night he had dreamed of being a famous artist.

Mark graduated from Woodridge High School. A teacher helped Mark apply for a partial scholarship to Kent State University. [7]

Kent State[]

Mark liked Kent State and said KSU printmaking teacher Ian Short encouraged him. [8]

Jerry sought out Mark, who then printed decals of Jerry's potato men drawings. [9]

May 4, 1970[]

Mark says, in his page five “forward” to DEVO: Unmasked (2018), he was moving into a studio* for a conceptual art class on May 4, 1970. [10] [11] (*KSU had the Davey Warehouse renovated and it was "used by the KSU art department as a studio" for “several of its courses.”)

They shut down the campus. It was May 4. So, spring quarter wasn’t over yet. They shut down the campus until fall, September. And I had all my art supplies-- I had all my art stuff there. But I couldn’t really screen print. That’s where I used to-- I was in love with screen printing at that point in my life...”
“And there were shootings at number of campuses. And there were riots at a number of campuses. But in American fashion, when it got too real for everybody, they all kind of put their heads in the sand. And everybody went to sleep...
” - Mark (2017)[12]


Solo discography

  • Muzik for Insomniacs (Cassette, 1987)
    Later released on CD as Muzik for Insomniacs, Vol. 1 and Muzik for Insomniacs, Vol. 2 in 1988 by Rykodisc
  • Muzik for the Gallery (LP, 1987)
  • Joyeux Mutato (CD, 1999)
  • The Most Powerful Healing Muzik in the Entire World (6-CD Set, 2005)
  • "Hello, My Good Friend" (12" Vinyl, 2016) one-track record store day release limited to 3000 copies
  • Mutant Flora (6 × Vinyl, 7" Box Set, 2017)
Listed at -


Solo & Group Art Exhibitions
Listed at -


I write all the time. I do artwork that's part of a diary, and I write short stories to go with them pretty much every day. - authorized press. - news articles. – on podcasts. Credits - Full Cast&Crew. Are We Not Men?. Authorized DEVO Documentary Film. “One of the founding members of DEVO, Mark’s passion has always been art of all kinds. In addition to being one of DEVO’s lead singers, songwriters and the creator of many of the band’s signature synthesizer sounds, Mark is also a visual artist.” Created by Tony Pemberton.

Notes and References[]

  1. Forbes. 2014-3-6. Mark Mothersbaugh On Making Music For TV, Games And Film by David M. Ewalt. The first TV show I worked on was Pee-wee’s Playhouse. But that quickly led to a lot of other offers, and then to commercials.
  2. "Dean Delray's LET THERE BE TALK" 2015-9-16 Podcast. "#193:Jerry Casale/Devo" Interview.
  3. "Let There Be Talk" 2015-9-16 podcast recording. "#193:Jerry Casale/Devo" Interview - mirror site.
  4. Membership "Salvation/Membership/ Ordainment".
  5. 2000-4-6. "Slack Is Back Quit your job! Make waste! The Church of the SubGenius has come to town!" by Jeff Niesel. Celebrities such as Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, writer Ken Kesey, actor Pee-Wee Herman, the Talking Heads' David Byrne, and director Jonathan Demme are all card-carrying members.
  6. dailymotion. (An example of Mark's contributions.) The Bobacatto (Mark Mothersbaugh/SubGenius Foundation) uploaded by Cale Stacy. "Music by Rev. Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO, with animation by Rev. Ivan Stang and artwork by Nenslo, St. Kenneth Huey and Mr. Fernandinande LeMur."
  7. Nickoloff, Annie. (2022, September 13) "Q&A: Mark Mothersbaugh Talks DEVOtional, Devo's Rock Hall Snub and COVID-19". Cleveland magazine.

    "...a school teacher helped me get a partial scholarship, so I could do a night job and afford to pay for my schooling. When I went to Kent State, it was really amazing. It turned my life upside down. I experienced something I hadn’t even anticipated was going to be so wonderful."

  8. PA Press. (2016, September 12). "The Early Art of DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh" (From

    This decal is typical of the printmaking work Mothersbaugh created as an art student at Kent State University." Mark Mothersbaugh. Lucas Cows, 1969.
    My printmaking teacher Ian Short was very encouraging. He was definitely a mentor for me, though he was probably thinking, “This kid isn’t even old enough to be a grad student, but he spends all day and night in the studio.” He would arrive in the morning, wake me up, and I’d go off to English class. By my sophomore year, Jerry [Gerald Casale] helped me enroll in graduate-level art classes.

  9. Lecaro, L. (2022, April 20). ‘Living Legends: Devo Subverted The Herd Mentality Beginning In The ’70s, But Their Art Punk Aesthetic Is More Relevant Than Ever: Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale discuss the evolution of devolution, and the video revolution they helped whip into reality: “We drew a line in the sand, and either you hated Devo or you loved Devo.”’ (From

    When I met Jerry at Kent State University, he was a grad student and I was a sophomore. We collaborated early on on visual things. He had come up to me and said "Are you the guy that's sticking up pictures of art and astronauts holding potatoes standing on the moon?" And I go, "Yeah, what of it?" He goes, "What does a potato mean to you?" I really liked that for an opening conversation. Before there was a word for posting up art or graffiti, before there was Shepard Fairey, I was a teen who was posting artwork around school at Kent State. I don't know why I did it, but I had to do it for some reason. So that's how we met. We were visual artists, and we collaborated on visual projects. He liked that I was making these decals that stuck on things, and he liked that I liked potatoes. So I made these potato decals for him for his senior graduation class project… that he hung all over photos he’d blown up from his high school yearbook...

  10. Mothersbaugh, Mark. “Forward”. DEVO: Unmasked. Page five. Rocket 88. 2018.
  11. Thomas, Bryan. (2017, May 4) "Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale remember the Kent State Massacre". Night Flight. From

    ’Mark Mothersbaugh was off campus setting up his new art studio at the Davey Warehouse, an art facility on Water Street, when the shooting took place. “I was decorating [the studio] when there were police cars going down the street with megaphones going: The school is shut down. The city is shut down. Please go to your homes.”’

  12. Garcia, Chris. (2017, November 13) “Oral History of Mark Mothersbaugh”. Computer History Museum. Pages 2 and 3 of 21.

External Links[]

Mark Mothersbaugh | Gerry Casale | Bob Mothersbaugh
Bob Lewis | Bob Casale | Jim Mothersbaugh | Alan Myers
David Kendrick | Josh Freese
Jeff Friedl | Josh Hager
Record Labels / Publishers
Booji Boy Records | Warner Brothers | Enigma | Devo, Inc. 
Stiff | Virgin | Rykodisk | Infinite Zero | Restless | Discovery | Rhino 
MVD Audio | The Orchard | Superior Viaduct | Futurismo
Brian Eno | Ken Scott | Robert Margouleff | Roy Thomas Baker | DEVO 
The Teddybears | Greg Kurstin | Santi White | John King | John Hill | Mark Nishita 
Official Studio Albums
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) | Duty Now For The Future (1979) | Freedom of Choice (1980) | New Traditionalists (1981) | oh, no! it's Devo (1982) | Shout (1984) | Total Devo (1988) | SmoothNoodleMaps (1990) | Something for Everybody   (2010)
Other Albums
Be Stiff EP (1978) | E-Z Listening Disc (1987) | Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace (1989) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1 74-77 (1990) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 2 1974-1977 (1991) | DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years (1992) | DEV-O Live (1999) | Recombo DNA (2000) | Live In Central Park (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (2012) | Something ELSE for Everybody  (2013) | Miracle Witness Hour  (2014) | Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977  (2014) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015) | Art Devo 1973-1977  (2023)
In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution (1976) | The Men Who Make The Music (1981) | Human Highway (1982) | We're All DEVO (1984) | The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (1993) | DEVO Live (2004) | DEVO Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Related Articles
History | Bootlegs | Booji Boy | Devolution | Influence | The Wipeouters | Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers | Devo 2.0 | Akron, Ohio | Kent, Ohio | Music Videos | Cover Versions | Outfits