August 31, 2020 by Harriet Kaplan

No matter who you are, turns out that Covid-19 doesn’t care. In June, Devo’s lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh was left fighting for his life after testing positive for Coronavirus.
The Devo frontman has recovered and is now virus-free after a life-and-death battle with COVID-19. The battle saw him land at Cedar-Sinai hospital for two weeks where he had to fight for his life.

For fans, this news was very concerning. DEVO has been out of the public eye the past few years, but was scheduled to do a few appearances before the global pandemic to hold.
For many in the music world, and countless music lovers worldwide, DEVO remains a legendary band that was part of the punk movement in the 70’s,. Then, they became immortal by becoming one of the biggest band’s to come out of the 80’s new wave movement.

They ushered in a new world of music with songs like “Whip It,” “Girl U Want,” “That’s Good,” “Mongoloid,” “Peek-A-Boo,” “Freedom of Choice,” “Shout,” “Beautiful World,” “Working in a Coal Mine,” “Uncontrollable Urge,” “Secret Agent Man,” “Jocko Homo,” and the Stones cover “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction).”‘
Needless to say, DEVO fans were shocked when they got the news that Mothersbaugh had to rely on a ventilator to breathe. He was also suffering from delusions through much of the struggle with the deadly virus. While he was in the I.C.U. for those two weeks, Mothersbaugh believed being near his favorite book store in Little Tokyo where somehow he got hit on the head with bricks.
Mothersbaugh has detailed the improbable and unbelievable scenario further explaining he literally felt blood from being hit. He was then told hospital personnel he was handcuffed to a parking deck downtown. He said that in his mind, while he was hallucinating, he concocted a whole elaborate story of how there were kids who sold him to an ambulance company. They then got some sort of a payment for delivering Covid patients to their I.C.U.’s.
Mothersbaugh also said he totally believed this was happening while he was unaware he had COVID-19.
Mothersbaugh thinks he contacted COVID-19 in late May working near people he didn’t know at Mutato (his music production company). He told his wife, Anita Greenspan, that his early symptoms included fatigue but when his fever reach 103, he knew something was different and very wrong.
A nurse was then called to their home and she told him he needed to be admitted to the hospital and put in an I.C.U. To drive the point home, she outlined her experience (she was a nurse for three decades) and was able to put him in an ambulance. Greenspan credited this nurse with saving Motherbaugh’s life. 


This virus is no joke… I’ve experienced it first-hand. There was a week where my daughters thought Mark would die.”

While hospitalized, Mothersbaugh was unable to see his family including his two daughters. Instead, they kept in regular contact by video to help him stay sane and grounded. His condition gave them reason to be concerned as they observed his delusional behavior and had to be strapped to his bed by nurses. Mothersbaugh said that personal contact as impersonal as it was-was critical because it helps you keep track of time, who and what you are as well as what’s going on in the outside world.
Two months later, Mothersbaugh is back at work and has some residual after effects of the virus including his left hand that slightly trembles. This is possibly related to his nerves and the overall physical toll of the impact of the virus. He’s described the experience as being creepy. He’s also described the debilitating affect of how this devastating ordeal has aged him when before he got sick, he felt younger beyond his chronic age, healthy and energetic. Now, not as much. Hopefully, this will pass.
His goal is to get back to eventually feeling the way he did pre-Covid. Especially as he embarks on completing a visual art project he’s spent decades work on. The project is “Postcards For Democracy,” in collaboration with artist Beatrice Wolfe.
The duo describe the project 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.

SID 200820


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