The Mau Maus
The Redwood Bar and Grill
Downtown Los Angeles
South Bay Redondo Beach
By Victoria Joyce
Photography by Mila Reynaud
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!