Pixel Tracker

Monday, December 17 , 2018, 10:22 am | Light Rain Fog/Mist 56º


Jeff Moehlis: The Mau Maus Chaos Machine Is Coming to Town

Legendary punk-rock band will give its first-ever performance in Santa Barbara

Rick Wilder is the frontman for The Mau Maus, a legendary late 1970s/early 1980s L.A. punk rock band that recently re-formed and released the album Scorched Earth Policies: Then and Now, which includes songs recorded in 1983 with Doors guitarist Robby Krieger and new recordings from 2011.

The Mau Maus will be giving their first-ever performance in Santa Barbara on Sunday at Whiskey Richards, 435 State St., thanks to Electric Sex Enterprises. This interview was conducted by email.

Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at your upcoming show in Santa Barbara?

Rick Wilder: Punk rock insurrection meets nuclear horror show circus. ... This is the re-ignition of the most storied and certainly the most notorious of the original wave of L.A.’s punk rock explosion. In essence, you will get to experience the prototype of raw power/punk bands.

JM: Can you tell us a bit about the rest of the band that will be joining you?

RW: This isn’t a band, it’s a well-oiled chaos machine. On bass is Scott “Chopper” Franklin of Cramps/Charley Horse note, Michael Livingston of the Livingstons [on guitar] and Paul “Black” Mars former L.A. Guns frontman [on drums].

JM: Have The Mau Maus ever played in Santa Barbara before?

RW: No. Unfortunately, back during the late ’70s/early ’80s, having been banned by much of the venues in Southern California (due to police pressure), it was difficult to book out-of-town shows due to our reputation. It was hard to fight the power when the bottom feeders were in charge of the food chain.

JM: How would you describe The Mau Maus’ place in the L.A. punk rock scene back in the day?

RW: Let’s just say, we are still that band, literally, that to a great extent initiated and played the eye of the hurricane, ground zero of the Western North American punk rock movement. I am referring to the original Masque in Hollywood. What’s “our” place, from where I’m standing, we’ve been told we own it. We may have had the lifestyles of gypsy pirates and, especially, this lineup. We are the Jesse James/Cole Younger gang of that Wild West shootout. I, personally, am mad with the fact this band never — I mean never — sold out.

JM: Back then, did The Mau Maus play much outside of the L.A. area, and if so, did the audiences get it?

RW: One has to take into account that there was no Internet. The closest we came to getting the word out were the fanzines, like Flipside, Back Door Man or the independent music mags, chiefly Slash. So, having said that, it was not a rural thing. It was an urban thing. We played where the virus was breaking out, like San Francisco. Plus, to be fair, not only our lifestyle but the overall perception of the punk lifestyle was against us.

JM: What were/are the goals of The Mau Maus, both “then” and “now,” and have they been achieved?

RW: Our goal: Reach for the stars even if you find yourself in a gutter. Per ardua, ad astra. Roughly saying, “Through difficulties to the stars.” It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish, and don’t compromise who you are. On achieving it, thanks to this release, I feel like, well, at least now it’s out. And they can’t take that away from us. We bloody well outlasted the bastards (most of the offending record companies). However, I can’t speak for the others, but I’d like to get what I consider our due. But, now it’s looking better and it’s still a work in progress.

JM: The new Mau Maus release includes tracks recorded in the early 1980s with Robby Krieger. How did you end up working with him, and what did he bring to the music?

RW: We have mutual friends in Paul Picasso, who set up the recording. This is punk rock ‘n’ roll, so he definitely brought something to the rock ‘n’ roll end of it.

JM: The Mau Maus recorded with Krieger, X recorded with Ray Manzarek. Why do you think that the former Doors were so receptive to punk rock?

RW: They were working with a singer that wasn’t necessarily a punk-rock type (a la Iggy [Pop] or the New York Dolls), but he was a rebel, so it’s natural they’d be attracted to this sort of music.

JM: Do you want to set the record straight on anything related to The Mau Maus, the L.A. punk rock scene, etc.?

RW: Well, one problem we’re running into with the Internet and other media outlets is the band out of the U.K. called Mau Maus. I went to London in 1978 and spray-painted our band name everywhere, and then this band came out a few years later hijacking our name. So when searching out our music, the only record we have that is true Mau Maus is Scorched Earth Policies: Then & Now on Ratchet Blade Records. Anything else is not Mau Mau Approved!

Noozhawk contributing writer Jeff Moehlis is a professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site, music-illuminati.com.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.