Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh is remembering the late Pee-wee Herman creator Paul Reubens, who passed away July 30 after a secret battle with cancer. He was 70.

Mothersbaugh wrote the theme song and music for Reuben’s hit show Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which had a huge effect on Mothersbaugh’s career.  

“I’d never done a TV show before,” he tells Yahoo Music. “That took me into the world of film and television and video games. It totally changed the trajectory of my career.” 

Mothersbaugh, who did not know about Reubens’ battle with cancer, described him as someone who “always had a good personality and a good heart.” 

“It’s just shocking and sad that he’s gone,” he says. “I really didn’t expect it. We’d even been talking about working on an animated version of Pee-wee’s Playhouse.”

Mothersbaugh met Reubens at the Groundlings when the rocker was dating former Saturday Night Live star Lorraine Newman. They first collaborated on the 1980 cult film Pray TV, which starred Ruebens and featured Devo. Mothersbaugh was originally approached to do the music for the 1985 movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, although a Devo tour kept him from doing it. He got a second chance with the Pee-wee CBS TV show, and it was an experience that was perfect for him. 

He notes, “Maybe with a different television show, I might have said, ‘I never want to do this again!’ But it was such an ideal, perfect situation.”

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