Frank Erwin Center
It's the typical story: One day you're young and in a band, and the world is one big party. The next thing you know, it's 20 years later, and you've been kept up all night long by a bunch of noisy kids. In the case of Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, the kids are the animated cast of Nickelodeon's Rugrats, and he's barely gotten a wink, because he's been spending all his time scoring a Rugrats feature film. Mothersbaugh is also the musical director for the Rugrats' A Live Adventure, which stops by the Frank Erwin Center this weekend.
While children's TV may seem like an odd job for the man who fronted a band that dressed in radiation suits and sang about potatoes and orgasms, Mothersbaugh doesn't think so.
"I know it seems odd to a lot of people, but it made perfect sense to me," he says. "In Devo we were always obsessed with pop culture, everything other than pop music - like elevator music, music in grocery stores, music on television commercials."
Yes, but music for the 5-year-old set?
"About 12 years ago, Paul Reubens asked me to score his TV show [Pee-Wee's Playhouse] and it just led to a career in that direction."
Mothersbaugh admits that a parade of hypercephalic characters miming pre-taped dialogue on a huge stage for the amusement of a horde of toddlers may seem strange to the adult psyche ("It's exactly what they were parodying in one of the [Rugrats] episodes, `Reptaur On Ice'!"), but he fully endorses A Live Adventure as rollicking entertainment for the young-uns.
"If you were an adult and didn't have a kid, I wouldn't recommend you to go," he cautions. "But if you have a kid in the 3-12 range, it'll be a good experience for them - especially if they know the Rugrats from TV, because they're so used to seeing it all contained in this little box. It'll be like a combination acid trip/seeing the Beatles for the first time, for a six-year-old."
Not a bad recommendation for the kiddies, and if you adults out there want to know about the possibilities of Devo returning to Austin in the near future, turn to "Dancing About Architecture" for the scoop on that, spuds and spudettes. - Ken Lieck