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Mark Mothersbaugh's COVID Brush With Death


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The article is blocked no matter how many times I enable ads, but I am at least glad to see he recovered, yet quite sad to learn he was ill. he's one of my heroes, and a great person as well.

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I don't go to many pop/rock shows and especially don't do many repeats. There are only a handful of artists I have seen multiple times. Devo is one of them; most recently in 2016(?) on the Blondie tour. I've seen them four times altogether. Different each time, but always high energy. And mark is a true genius, no question. A wizard on synths at the level of someone like Keith Emerson. Really.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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The article is blocked no matter how many times I enable ads, but I am at least glad to see he recovered, yet quite sad to learn he was ill. he's one of my heroes, and a great person as well.

 

"Mark Mothersbaugh nearly died from COVID-19. FaceTiming with his family kept him alive

By Randall RobertsStaff Writer

As Mark Mothersbaugh lay in a Cedars-Sinai hospital bed in early June after contracting the novel coronavirus, a ventilator tube snaking into his throat to help him breathe, the Devo cofounder and acclaimed film and TV composer came to believe that he was recovering from a vicious beating in downtown Los Angeles.

 

'There"s a bookstore I love there where I get stationery supplies, and in my mind I had been there,' Mothersbaugh, 70, said Thursday afternoon, sitting on the patio of the Hollywood Hills home he shares with his wife, Anita Greenspan, and two teenage daughters. 'I was convinced for about two weeks that I had been hit by a brick by somebody in Little Tokyo.'

 

Wearing chrome-framed eyeglasses, his nose and mouth covered by a black mask branded with the logo of his Mutato Musika commercial music company, Mothersbaugh touched his right temple while recalling the experience, as if searching for a head wound.

 

'I felt blood from being hit. I was handcuffed to a parking deck downtown. I had this whole elaborate story of how these kids sold me to an ambulance company that then got some sort of a payment for delivering COVID patients to their ICUs. I totally believed it,' he said.

 

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Mothersbaugh"s delusions lasted more than two weeks during his time both on and off the ventilator. In fact, the artist didn"t contract the virus that causes COVID-19 while shopping in Little Tokyo. He caught it shuttling between his house and his Sunset Strip offices and studios in late May. His family was in Palm Springs. After he tested positive, he insisted on isolating by himself.

 

Three harrowing months later, Mothersbaugh and his family are back together and virus free. His experience, he says, was devastating. It was also unfortunately instructive, as it confirms an argument that he and his groundbreaking band, Devo, have been making for nearly 50 years.

 

'Everything"s become more devolved than I would have imagined possible,' he said. 'For anybody that"s doubting whether the coronavirus and COVID-19 is real, it"s really real.'

 

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Mark Mothersbaugh survived Covid-19 and is recovering at home. He is photographed wearing official Devo ppe.

Mark Mothersbaugh wears a Devo-branded face mask and dome-shield.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

He"s seen the doubters first hand. As he was recovering at home, a houseful of TikTok influencers across the street threw massive parties despite the shutdown and made news when Mayor Eric Garcetti shut off the property"s power. De-evolution is really real too.

 

Adjusting his mask, Mothersbaugh recalled the circumstances that led to his hospitalization.

 

He"d been taking the coronavirus seriously, he said. As news spread of its dangers, he"d avoided in-studio recording sessions for the four animated films he"d been scoring, instead conferencing in to observe and consult. But still, on at least one occasion near the end of May while working at Mutato, he unintentionally found himself in the company of a number of people he didn"t know.

 

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When symptoms arrived a few days later, he thought his exhaustion was from juggling too many things at once. Then he took his temperature. It read 103. At first he thought he was reading the thermometer wrong. He told his wife, and she immediately started making calls.

 

Recalls Mothersbaugh, 'A nurse came over the next morning and said, 'You should be in ICU." I said, 'That"s ridiculous." She replied that she"d been a nurse for three decades: 'You need an ambulance right now."'

 

From Greenspan"s perspective, the virus steamrolled through her husband"s system. 'It went from, 'I don"t feel good" on Tuesday to an ambulance to Cedars on Saturday. It was terrifying.' She believes that the nurse, Patricia Lineweaver, saved Mothersbaugh"s life.

 

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Mark Mothersbaugh's family communicating with him while he was hospitalized in Cedars-Sinai.

Mark Mothersbaugh"s family communicating with him while he was hospitalized in Cedars-Sinai.

(Patrick Mahaney)

Mothersbaugh spent much of the next 18 days on his back, tilted up in his hospital bed in the intensive care unit. Isolated, like all of those infected with the virus, from everyone except essential medical personnel, he lost all track of time and space. Tubes and machines cuffed him in place. At one point, he tried to break free of all the stuff attached to him and they had to secure his arms and legs.

 

During video calls with Greenspan and their daughters, 19-year-old Hui Hui and Margaret, 16, Mothersbaugh pressed them for information about the Little Tokyo brick-throwing incident. Had they found his attackers? Did they have any suspects? 'Some of the delusions were very dark,' Mothersbaugh recalled. 'Like, 'Oh no, I have to get out of this place."'

 

As he drifted in and out of consciousness, he remembers 'a lot of people coming in on stretchers and people going out on stretchers.'

 

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Another extended departure from reality involved Devo, the band he cofounded at Kent State after four students were killed by National Guard members in 1970.

 

While attached to the ventilator, he said: 'I wrote a whole new Devo album and put together a whole live show.' In his hallucination, the band performed it on the streets of Hollywood â through the use of augmented reality. 'We were standing on top of these projections, which were growing somehow.'

 

Mark Mothersbaugh at a Devo performance.

Mark Mothersbaugh tosses 'energy dome' headwear to the crowd at a performance by Devo in New York"s Times Square.

(Bryan Bedder)

In reality, while Mothersbaugh was fighting for his life, in the outside world, Devo"s trademark 'energy domes,' the flower pot-shaped red headgear the band wore during its early 1980s peak, were becoming a meme on social media. Someone at the company that manufacturers the domes realized that another of its products, plastic face shields, could easily be affixed to the hats to create a Devo dome-shield.

 

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As both the meme and the virus advanced, Greenspan and their daughters kept a constant vigil through video calls.

 

During one crucial moment, Mothersbaugh believes they helped him stay tethered to the present.

 

His voice turning soft, he remembered 'a time where I just felt exhausted. Like, 'I could just float down this river right now, and it would be really peaceful. It wouldn"t be a freak-out. It wouldn"t be something I"d be scared of. I could really just do that." I really thought about it.

 

'And then it just happened that [Greenspan] called me, and she and the kids were on my phone, saying, 'You"re getting out of there soon. Get off of that machine." I don"t know if everybody is lucky enough to have somebody do that for them.'

 

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Mark Mothersbaugh at home.

Mark Mothersbaugh at his home in the Hollywood Hills: 'We"re all getting to live through a pandemic. Who would have thought?'

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

For Mothersbaugh, the message he most wants to convey is: 'If you have anyone that you know who"s in ICU with COVID, contact them and keep them in touch with the outside world, because it"s easy to lose track of where you are and why you are. I had no idea I was on a ventilator for 10 days. Time meant nothing.'

 

Greenspan said that when the nurses finally removed the ventilator tube from her husband"s mouth, the first thing he said was, 'Has anybody seen my glasses?'

 

Nearly two months after being discharged, the TikTokkers are gone and Mothersbaugh is back at work. He says he"s still feeling a few fading after-effects. Holding out his left hand, which is trembling slightly, he described 'a little thing with my nerves.' Worse, though, is the overall physical toll, which he described as 'creepy.'

 

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'Before COVID, I was like, 'Yeah, I"m starting to feel about 50 now, and I"m 70." When I was in the hospital, I was feeling like I was about 90. And now I"m back to 70, and I"m trying to get back to 50. That"s my goal.'

 

He says he"s been recovering by completing a visual art project he"s spent decades working on, one involving his long history in postcard art. In collaboration with artist Beatie Wolfe, Mothersbaugh has launched Postcards for Democracy, which the two describe as 'a demonstration to support the 225-year-old U.S. Postal Service and the right to vote.' The aim is to help fund the Postal Service in advance of the November election.

 

Sighing through his face mask, Mothersbaugh said, 'I remember at the end of 2019 talking to somebody and saying, 'You know, I think 2020 is going to be a whole lot better." It kind of cracks me up to think about now.'

 

He added, with a hint of feigned enthusiasm, 'We"re all getting to live through a pandemic. Who would have thought?'

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"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Few things related to Covid have made by blood boil more than Tik Tokker's throwing massive parties in Los Angeles. The risks to society are cumulative. We should be doing everything possible to allow kids to go to school asap, and allowing people to do their jobs to earn their livelihood. The influencer's argument is "well, throwing parties is our livelihood," as if that should be put on a par with teachers in real classrooms or workers in factories.

 

I realize no one knows exactly how Mothersbaugh caught the virus. This rant is just a tangent.

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Wow, that's quite a story. Thanks for posting the content. Not sure I can face reading the Rolling Stone article right after the one from the LA Times. It's pretty intense stuff.

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Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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I realize no one knows exactly how Mothersbaugh caught the virus. This rant is just a tangent.

 

It was already mentioned in the article -- He did all the correct steps to prevent catching the virus, but inadvertently let his guard down -- a very common occurence:

 

"He"d been taking the coronavirus seriously, he said. As news spread of its dangers, he"d avoided in-studio recording sessions for the four animated films he"d been scoring, instead conferencing in to observe and consult. But still, on at least one occasion near the end of May while working at Mutato, he unintentionally found himself in the company of a number of people he didn"t know."

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I'm grateful to hear that Mark persevered. :eek: He's a major synth hero for me, among other laudables. His soundtrack work in general is a major must-hear module for anyone facing even mere hobbyist level dabbling. Mark is one of those who knows how to pull unique fun & weirdness from his rig. Hah, "rig," as if that covered the suite-full it takes to create the real thing. I got to talk synths with him briefly onstage during a DEVO concert break, which was a plum experience. :thu:

 "You seem pretty calm about all that."
 "Well, inside, I'm screaming.
    ~ "The Lazarus Project"

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