We took a break from the Sunset Strip Music Festival to head downtown. A very special show by LA Punk Legends, The Mau Maus, were playing a set at the forever funky Redwood Bar with the original 1981 line up. (They was just babies.) Self described as psycho-sexual Punk Death Rock, this show could not be missed.
Check out The Punk Museum being curated by Miss Tacquila Mockingbird for some mind-blowing handbills from some of their seminal shows where the Mau Maus shared stages with Black Flag, The Germs, X, etc.
With some changes to the original, original 70s band, a newer line up of Rick Wilder, Michael Livingston, Scott Franklin and Paul Mars Black formed in 1981 and that is who would be on stage tonight. The last time The Mau Maus went into the studio, they recorded with Robby Krieger (The Doors) on the Mad Dog Studio sessions included two songs for “Hell Comes To Your House Vol. 2.” A scene-stealing performance in the OJ Simpson detective movie “Cocaine and Blue Eyes” accented this “Joyride to the End of the World.”
We were very disappointed Mr. Krieger did not show up at the Redwood. But he was busy at Viper Room, playing a solo show as part of the SSMF. Break on through.
The Redwood is a teensy weensy serious dive bar, five times as long as it is wide, a virtual hall way with a tiny stage in the back. They have been back in business for a few years now reviving the downtown LA Rock to white hot and weird on most weekends. The Redwood features the obscure, the strange and like tonight legendary bands with a capital “L.”
The Tinglers out of Las Vegas opened the evening. Twangy Punk Pop with very strange songs that were just brilliant. Very Garage.
Followed by the Muertones, a trio out of Lincoln Heights with hardcore Dark Surf very Misirlou-Pulp Fiction type stuff. They did a cover of “LA Woman” that was to die for.
Chit-chatting with the Mau Maus pre-set got us some props for the interview Mr. Lucky did with the enigmatic Rick Wilder who may also be doing a book. Paul Mars Black gave us some of the skinny on the earlier Robby Krieger sessions. When the guitar player didn’t show – Robby jumped in and brought out a little bitty Dubose amp to the session. When the bewildered band questioned the size of the box, Krieger informed them this is what was used on all The Doors very own sessions. It’s not the size of the wave, it’s the motion in the ocean.
Taking the stage around 11, The Mau Maus were frightening. The undiluted energy of the original Punk movement was in full flower jogging the memory of a genuine underground scene back in the day-e-ay. You could get hurt if you got too close. And we are not talking about some fake mosh pit full of overweight suburban white boys. More like slam-dancing with scissors and knives kind of thing. It was wonderful to be that scared of a band.
The PA was terrible to the point of being absent if you were squeezed off to the side. (We were.) The enigmatic Rick Wilder’s vocals with his pale white skin and shock of candy apple red hair were more lost than usual. But the musicianship was stellar. The gorgeous Paul Mars Black (also of LA Guns) on drums was sharper than a disposable razor. The classically trained Michael Livingston on guitar was a revelation and one time Cramp, Scott Franklin on bass was a stunner.
We were doubly delighted to learn that another gig was added the following Sunday night, way the hell down in Orange County at the Brixton in Redondo Beach. This time the club was ten times as big and the sound system was 100 times better. The performance was a lot tighter. The contained chaos was crystal clear.
AND HEY KIDS: For a limited time there will be a special deal on the Mau Maus brand new CD, “Scorched Earth Policies” with an eBay bundle including a signed copy of the Mau Maus debut LP (autographed by the 1981 line up), a “Scorched Earth” CD (w/ a 20 page full color booklet with super duper photos by Mila Renaud), a Mau Maus Black Matte Sticker and 3 Mau Maus Posters, all for just $19.78!
Permanent Records, Eagle Rock, CA
by Michael Essington
A couple of years back I wrote a review for a show I went to at the Redwood in Los Angeles. The show was Mau-Maus, Billy Bones and Symbol Six. Fun show, but I wasn’t overly enthused with the Mau-Maus performance. Now I didn’t fully slag them off, but I could have been a little nicer in my review.
Anyway, a year and a half, or so, later Mr. Rick Wilder shoots me an email saying that I was probably 99% accurate in my review. This surprised the shit out of me. Usually when a review doesn’t go a band’s way I get cursed at and told I know nothing about music. Not in this case. Mr. Wilder was a true gentleman and has become a bit of a friend. So, I told him to be fair, I’d come and check them out again next time they play.
On June 3, 2012, Permanent Records in Eagle Rock, CA created an event page on Facebook for an in-store show with the Mau-Maus promoting their new album, SCORCHED EARTH POLICIES: then and now.
Two or three weeks back I went to lunch with master photographer Edward Colver, and after lunch we stopped into Permanent Records. So, I knew exactly where it was. Great streamlined shop. Unlike most used records shops it’s not over-run with clutter.
Show is scheduled for 6:00, and I tried to take a shortcut which made me about twenty minutes late. I hate being late. Ran into the shop at about 6:25, 6:27. The shop was pretty empty. I figured Mau-Maus went on at 6:00, blew through their set and I missed the whole fucking thing. I went up to the counter, and asked the lady sitting there if “I missed the set?” She said, “No,” they were waiting for the opening band to set up. Whew.
I stood around and waited, no opening band. I bumped into a couple of friends who I saw the Mau-Maus with two years ago, Mary and Frank. Then a friend of my late uncle Rick’s comes up and introduces himself, Danny from Warning Label Records out of Boston. Small frickin’ world.
As I’m talking to Danny I hear the crowd start to buzz, “He’s here, he’s here.” The party has started. Rick Wilder, Michael Livingston, Scott Franklin and Paul Black did a few final tune-ups and they launched into a kick-ass set. My main complaint last time I saw them was I couldn’t hear Mr. Wilder’s vocals, not the case this time. The mike was held close to the grill throughout his performance.
Only problems they had was the mikes cut out once, then, I think, the amps cut for a minute. Both resolved quickly and then back to a powerful set.
Rick Wilder is a cool front man, people are drawn to him. You want to see what he’s going to do. And I have to mention Michael Livingston, he is such a great guitarist that it’s almost unbelievable.
Afterwards, Rick gave me a copy of their new album to review, and I hung out with him for a bit. The album review will be here soon, buy a copy. All in all, a great show.
REDWOOD BAR NEW YEAR’S EVE 2011
The Mau Maus are just amazing and through their formation in the late 1970s have had everyone from Nicky Beat to Rikk Agnew in the band. The current Mau Maus line up includes: Scott Franklin on bass, Michael Livingston on guitar, Paul Black on drums, and of course, Rick Wilder on vocals. Rick Wilder is one of my all time favorite performers and I would def recommend checking these dudes out; their new lineup is solid, they put on a great show, and played all their classics: Doomsdaze, DOA, Sex & the Single Sniper, Laughtrack, Never Talk to Strangers, Family Jewels, Joyride, Sex Girls, Rectum of Nefertiti, All Fall Down, Warbaby, and came back out with Faker and Psychotic for a double encore.
REDWOOD BAR FEB. 13TH, 2010
The walls were oozing with sweat. When the Mau Maus came on there was a desperate look all around for Rick Wilder. Scott, Mike and Paul looked ready to go. Instantly the line between the band and the audience dissolved and everyone went wild on the first drum beat. Punks older than me assumed their authority and looked me down. I was jumping around like a babe again and did not give a fuck. I melted out of the show happy and content that the continuity of punk lives on. Old and new buddies showed up tonight which made it one that rings true, full of memories , and the hopeful adventure of nights ahead.
RAUNCH ‘N’ ROLL AT THE CATHAY DE GRANDE
Los Angeles Times 1/20/83
The Mau Maus have a reputation as one of the baddest of Holly- wood’s bad- boy bands – and it’s no hype. Leader Rick Wilder, a local underground legend, sings (and looks) like a Mick Jagger – Johnny Rotten clone created by some mad punk scientist. And like the New York Dolls (another Mau Maus influence), the band has a reputation for showing up in dubious playing condition, arriving late on stage and sometimes falling apart during its sets.
So it came as no surprise that the quartet, headlining a four-band bill at the Cathay De Grande Tuesday, had to wait on stage about 15 minutes before Wilder appeared. But once the band unleashed it’s classic raunch ‘n’ roll the only question about the Mau Maus was why it isn’t a bigger success.
Songs like “I’m Psychotic” (from Wilder’s previous group, the Berlin Brats) and “Dead of Alive” may sound like outtakes from a Dolls album, but since ex-Doll David Johansen abdictated his sleaze-rock throne years ago, Wilder and company are more than worthy successors. – Craig Lee
MAU MAUS AT GODZILLAS
LA Star 4/1/82
There was a time when the MAU MAUS (four white L.A punks not a soul combo ) were one of the hottest bands in L.A, with a notorious following. Then, they vanished from the scene for almost two years, leaving only scattered graffiti around Hollywood to remind one of their existence. When lead MAU MAU RICK WILDER called me up to tell me about the band’s appeararx:e at Godzilla’s on March 20, I knew I couldn’t miss this one. I arrived too late to hear THE MINUTEMEN and CAUSTIC CAUSE….
Everyone was waiting for the MAU MAUS. When they finally took the stage after midnight, the MAU MAUS were exceptionally well received despite the fact that they had some slight difficulty in warming up. Once in gear, they delivered a barage of electro-shock tunes that went beyond the three-chord formula and actually contained some real music harmony, rhythm, melody in it. Vocalist RICK WILDER, occasionally reminisent of Mick Jagger, held together splendidly and has a visual as well as vociferous stage presense. I hope the MAU MAUS get the much-needed time and space to rehearse more often. They’re the thinking person’s brand of punk.
The Mau Maus and Black Flag
at the Fleetwood (Redondo Beach)
“The Mau Maus got a second chance and redeemed themselves, their extended “holiday” did wonders for their music. It’s tighter, sharper and less derivative than before, Wilder showed off his superb trashy singing and sarcastic poses, got his shirt ripped off his skinny ribs and sneered all the way thru the crowd massage that followed and unexpected dive. Catch the Mau Maus quick…
THE MAU MAUS / CHRISTIAN DEATH
Another group of pariahs which have suffered from lack of adequate recogniton onthe part of mini-bopper rock columnists the Hollywood band the MAU MAUS, were well-rehearsed, and put a hell of a lot of energy. Musically the MAU MAUS are a strange fusion of blues,pop, punk and just a hint of.psychedelic rock in the baroque riffs of fleet-fingered guitarist MICHAEL. Tall, blonde, Viking-looking SCOTT is heavy on bass guitar and PAUL, another blond guy is an outstanding drummer. The funny, fascinating antics of the MAU MAUS’ famous vocalist RICK WILDER, frail, graceful, with a surprisingly good voice, was worth the price of admission alone. Their carefully-conceived set contained material recently recorded on a new LP on the Bemisbrain label, “Hell Comes To Your House, Vol. II” and concluded with the stoned anthem, “Dead Or Alive”.The MAU MAUS are a great party band, which have taken a giant step upward from the pit of the Cathay de Grande and deserve to perform in better clubs. Needless to say,if the Lingerie Club intends to book more acts of this high caliber, their service to upcoming bands will be invaluable.