Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh reveals coronavirus fight, ‘very dark delusions’ during hospitalization

The musician was placed on a ventilator on and off for 2 weeks

Mark Mothersbaugh, the frontman for Devo, first noticed symptoms of coronavirus in May, which led him to a mentally and physically exhausting stay in the ICU.

The musician, who turned 70 the same month he began experiencing symptoms, said the diagnosis and hospitalization made him feel 20 years older.

Mothersbaugh went into detail about the battle in a candid interview with the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

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Mark Mothersbaugh attends 34th Annual BMI Film, TV & Visual Media Awards

Mark Mothersbaugh attends 34th Annual BMI Film, TV & Visual Media Awards (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for BMI)

The Devo frontman told the outlet his symptoms first started out as fatigue, which he attributed to his various work projects.

To his shock, he registered a 103-degree fever.

“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,'" Mothersbaugh recalled.

His wife, Anita Greenspan, also opened up to the outlet about the escalation of his symptoms.

“It went from, 'I don't feel good' on Tuesday to an ambulance to Cedars on Saturday. It was terrifying,” she said.

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Meanwhile, Mothersbaugh said his next-door neighbors were a group of TikTokers who continued to throw large parties, ignoring all social distancing guidelines.

“For anybody that's doubting whether the coronavirus and COVID-19 is real, it's really real,” he said.

In the hospital, the “Whip It” singer began to experience a multitude of delusions. Some involved the creation of new music and going on tour, while others were “very dark.”

“I was convinced for about two weeks that I had been hit by a brick by somebody in Little Tokyo,” he said. “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.”

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It was his wife and their children -- Hui Hui, 19, and Margaret, 16 -- that he said kept him alive amid points where he thought he was going to die.

"[There was] 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," Mothersbaugh said.

The “Rugrats” scorer continued: "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 and Gerald Casale of Devo perform at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California April 17, 2010. 

Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale of Devo perform at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California April 17, 2010.  (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

Mothersbaugh stressed the importance of keeping in contact with loved ones if they are battling the virus in the hospital.

“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,” he said of the isolation.

The Devo frontman is still experiencing side effects of his coronavirus diagnosis, including trembles and exhaustion.

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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.”