Monday, May 08, 2006

Mark Mothersbaugh in "Wired": Overt or Advanced?

There's a nice, long article about Mark Mothersbaugh at Wired. Let's take a look:

"In short, the world Devo propounded is all around us, and Mothersbaugh, 55, is providing the soundtrack. Over the past 15 years, he has scored nearly two dozen movies, including Lords of Dogtown, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and Wes Anderson films like The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and The Royal Tenenbaums. He has supplied the music for more than three dozen television shows, not to mention nearly 100 TV commercials for household names like Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Nike, and Toyota. His latest gig is scoring Big Love, HBO's new series about a polygamous family."


"Much of Mothersbaugh's most inventive work appears in the movies of Wes Anderson. The director is obsessed with music, and the two often spend hours together listening to stylistic models before Mothersbaugh composes a note. For Rushmore, it was the baroque strains of Vivaldi; for The Royal Tenenbaums, French impressionists like Debussy. These days, they're listening to Gilbert and Sullivan operettas in preparation for Anderson's next production, an adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox. 'It's a dark story,' Mothersbaugh says. 'There's a lot of flesh eating involved.'"

...and finally...

"Mothersbaugh is currently preparing for the Cal State Fullerton show of his Beautiful Mutants series. In a small basement room adjoining a storage space filled with vintage synthesizers, he shows me a stack of 19th-century daguerreotypes, mostly portraits. He started out using a camera and mirror to make the two sides of a face utterly - and unsettlingly - symmetrical. Now, with Photoshop, he can alter the images in a variety of ways. The subjects of the photos seem to be deformed by forces beyond their control - accidental irradiation? genetic modification? ...'It's a sophomoric exercise,' Mothersbaugh admits, 'but I like it.'"
Mark Mothersbaugh is an interesting case because on the one hand you have Herbie: Fully Loaded, but on the other you have Beautiful Mutants. Devo was certainly Overt, yet continuing with Devo as he has (not to mention the whole Dev2.0 project) is Advanced. (Going solo but playing Devo music would be more Advanced.) So what is he, Overt or Advanced? I'm going to have to say Advanced by a hair because he never tries to explain away his work in ads and TV.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mothersbaugh is fueled by modern society whether he likes it or not! He thrives on commercial success now, but does it with style- even adding some zing to Nickelodeon fromage- but, more significantly, adding a further level of richness to film-maker Anderson's flicks. Good for us!

However, he is getting old and fat. Devolution lives. At least he isn't botoxed.

Not BoojiBoy
Vilnius, Lithuania