Modifications by Mike Walters, 2005

Back to Mystery Circuits Projects

Funny story... I was surfin' through the web, and I came across Derek Sajbel's website, There was a twelve second video clip of Mark Mothersbaugh talking about Circuit Bending, and I could barely see what looked like my instrument "Penatron (aka Peanut)" behind his shoulder. I gave Mark Mothersbaugh that instrument a few years ago, but never really heard anything about it since.

So I emailed Derek, who I had met at BENT2004, and he confirmed that indeed I saw Penatron on that video clip. In fact, he said Mark mentioned my instrument quite a bit through out the interview, and he would be glad to send me a VHS copy. Months later, I got a copy of the interview, and Mark did talk about Penatron quite a bit. One thing he said was that he wished it had an output so Booji Boy could use it on stage.

A guy named Michael Pilmer lives not too far from me. He actually works for Mark as the Devo archivist, and is the web master for Club Devo, Devo Obsesso, among other sites. Real cool guy. We've met before, so I emailed him about the interview I saw. I told him about the mention of having an output on Penatron, and wanted to see if Devo might want me to build them another instrument - with an output, of course.

The next day I got an email back from Michael saying that Devo wanted an instrument for their tour! He told me to call Mark at Mutato right away, and gave me his phone number. We played phone tag for about 4 days. I even got an audible souvenir on my answering machine.

Finally, I got in touch with Mark on a pretty dodgy phone connection. I was frantically walking up and down some hills beside the parking lot at work hoping not to drop the call. Mark said he wanted a little toy organ that he could tape to his arm as Booji Boy, and then he wanted to flip a switch so all the "sounds would get fucked up." It had to play in tune, and it had to have an output. And he needed it by the end of the week!! No problem, I said.

But there was a problem. I didn't have a little toy keyboard that would work for this. So I asked my friends, who asked their friends, etc. By the end of the day, I had about 5 little electronic toy keyboards to tinker with! My good friend Zeno gave me two, and I ended up using one of the ones he gave me. I pulled an all nighter, and got this little keyboard circuit bent and painted by the next day to send to Devo Headquarters.

A month or so later, Devo came to Washington DC. I drove up to see the show with my wife and my sister. But I'll be dangit, they didn't use my keyboard! They didn't do Booji Boy, so no Booji Boy, no Booji Board. But the show was great, and I had it was a dream come true to see Devo! (heroes of mine, if you haven't noticed) I met Mark and BobII after the show, and they said they had my keyboard with them backstage. Maybe it will be a duty for the future?

Booji Board with 4 flashing LEDs

Mark Mothersbaugh and Mike Walters(a bit star struck)