Although other rock frontmen had been strange before MARK MOTHERSBAUGH (born 1950), none had been so aggressively strange or so brazenly uncool. Devo was the soundtrack of a life spent stumbling on uneven pavement, knocking over full glasses at the dinner table. Mothersbaugh is a nonfictional Lionel Essrog, giving Tourettic yelps and pricks to unsettle the comfortable. The classic Devo single is “Mongoloid” — even as you sing along you feel like the mark in a long con. For years since Devo’s peak Mothersbaugh has been inserting counter-hegemonic viruses into the heads of children of all ages through his work scoring Rugrats, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and Wes Anderson’s films, for instance. But practice nodding that head in 7/8 time, because a new Devo album is scheduled for fall 2009.
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