They are the band that almost no one knows anymore. Mostly it's the oldtimers in the local scene who remember the Mau Maus as one of the original punk bands in Hollywood. And very few recall the singer's previous work in the mid to late 70's in the Berlin Brats. But they're still alive off and on, and still in Hollywood . . .

   the Mau Maus

ShitEd: Names and instruments?
Danny: My name's Danny and I'm the bassplayer.
Mike: Danny Cup-person!
Danny (correcting him): Coop-erson!
Mike: Mike Livingston, guitar.
Alex: Alex, drums.
Rick: Rick Wilder, and I'm the singer.
ShitEd: Who started the Mau Maus and when...
Mike (interupting): I DID!
ShitEd: ...I assume it was you, Rick?
Rick: No, actually it was a collective effort between me, Rod Donahue and a guitar player at the Masque.
Mike: And Rick Sherman.
Rick: Yeah, Rick Sherman. But he was a friend of mine; he wasn't in the band at first. I guess you could say Rod Donahue and myself.
ShitEd: Okay. Who started the Berlin Brats?
Rick: That was like ... we were in high school.
ShitEd: What year was that?
Rick: Um, 70's, late 70's. Middle 70's. I'm not really sure. You lose some of the...
ShitEd: You lose brain cells?
Rick: Yeah! Why do you think they call it dope?
Mike: What year did you do those singles, "Tropically Hot" and...
Rick: You'd have to ask Rodney (Bingenheimer of KROQ), Rodney would probably know... Probably '76. Or early '77.
Mike: Do you guys remember when you played at the Whisky?
Rick: When we first came to the Masque we were still the Brats. We ran the first studio there. I have a weird little black and white polaroid of a made-up band, and we just became... One thing became the other. Also my girlfriend got killed by the Hillside Strangler.
ShitEd (incredulous): Your girlfriend got killed by the Hillside Strangler?
Rick: Thatís nothing! My girlfriend Tiffany got killed by Joel Ripkin!
ShitEd: Who's that?
Rick: He killed 17 girls. She was number 17.
Mike: She was the one who led to his arrest, right?
Rick: Yeah!
Danny: He was a big serial killer. He was in an episode of Seinfeld.
ShitEd: So the Berlin Brats were more of a glam, glitter type of thing?
Rick: I wouldn't say that. Some of the songs we do in the Mau Maus they're a little... I wouldn't say that. Iíd say the style is a little different because at that time people liked to dress up a little more, how shall I put it? Hollywoodish? Glamorous? When punk first came in everyone was cutting their hair and walking around in sunglasses--people that would do it overnight. Which I didn't respect.
Mike: Didn't you tell me once you went to London?
Rick: Oh yeah.
Mike: When was that?
Rick: That was in October '77. Or '78. It's hard to remember. Because Claude was there, Bessy. You know: Kickboy. Darby (Crash) was there. Kibbidy Kennedy, my off and on girlfriend. Castration Squad was there.
Mike: Didn't you do the Mau Maus after you came back from that?
Rick: Oh yeah. I left right after the Roosevelt, our first show. Right across the street from what became Motel Hell. remember that big building in the garden court?
Mike: Yeah.
Rick: That was cool.
ShitEd: Did you hear that Kickboy died of cancer?
Rick: Yeah, I heard all about it. That's a shame. He was a nice guy, he really was.
ShitEd: So how many Berlin Brats songs does the Mau Maus do?
Rick: Probably two.
Mike: We're working another four.
Rick: Yeah. "Tropically Hot" was originally a Berlin Brats song.
ShitEd: How many total Berlin Brats songs are there?
Rick: Probably about 20, but we haven't worked on more than two or three.
ShitEd: How many Mau Maus songs are there?
Rick: Probably totally about 20, but about ten are finished.
Mike: I think we're working on more like six Berlin Brats songs. We've got like "Psychotic", "Tropically Hot", "House of Pleasure"...
Rick: "House of Pleasure" wasnít really a Berlin Brats song. We did it, we messed around with it, but it was never finished until I was in the Mau Maus.
Mike: "Joyride To The End of The World"?
Rick: No, that was not a Berlin Brats song.
Mike: Oh!
(despite having first joined the band in 1979, Mike still doesn't know its whole history!)
ShitEd: So not much of this stuff is recorded?
Rick: Berlin Brats? Both?
ShitEd: Both.
Rick: There's a Saturday Night Pogo version of "Tropically Hot" and "Psychotic."
Mike: Is that the version with Robby from the Doors on it?
Rick: No no no.
Mike: There's a version of "Psychotic" with the Doors guitar player on it.
Rick: He was a friend of our ex-manager. In fact, he came up with us to the Roosevelt and played.
ShitEd: Two, three years ago, right?
Rick: Yeah.
ShitEd: So when did you get Mike?
Mike: October/November ë79.
ShitEd: How old were you at the time?
Mike: 18.
ShitEd: So did the band play the Masque?
Rick: Oh yeah. We used to have parties there. Our manager worked at Jurgenson's. He ripped off all this liquor and people would come and they would always have a really good time at a Mau Maus show!
Mike: I met Rick at the other Masque though. I'm pretty sure it was the night the Cramps played their first show here with the Dead Boys. Nicky Beat played with us.
Rick: That's right. Nicky Beat used to be our drummer.
Mike: He used to be everybody's drummer, ha ha!
Rick: Poor Nicky though--he got in the Cramps, gets fired. Got in another big band, got fired. Now he's making pizza I hear! Making pizza and flipping them in the air. I can't believe it, somebody just told me that! It seems SO Nicky--can you see him, flippin'? The Pizza? I can just see him flippin' the pizzas in the air!
(Note: I just saw Nicky Beat playing drums in the Mysteries with Dez Cadena and Jimmy Wilsey 4-15-00 at Mr T's Bowl --Ed)
ShitEd (laughing): Okay, okay! Mike, how many different times have you been in the Mau Maus?
Mike: Probably at least half a dozen. Somewhere between three and six. It depends. Sometimes I'd be doing other bands at the same time.
ShitEd: So Alex, before this gig, one of the things you were doing, you were in the US Bombs, right?
Alex: Yeah I was.
ShitEd: How long were you in the Bombs?
Alex: For nearly two years.
ShitEd: So you know Duane pretty well?
Alex: Yeah. Starting up a new project with Duane as well.
ShitEd: what's this called?
Alex: It doesn't have a name yet. (I think this was the Hunns --Ed)
ShitEd: Danny, I heard you were in Das Klown for a while?
Danny: Yeah I was for a while.
ShitEd: Got any AJ stories?
Danny: OH! AJ stories! Actually, we did a Flipside single. The first single was on that, and I don't think I was on anything else. But when I was first in Das Klown ... it was the drummer from Detox, AJ, and then we had Eric playing guitar. It was a bunch of friends getting together in my garage. And then it turned into "Let's put a single out!" That sort of thing. It wasn't really meant to go on, as far as AJ really has taken it!
ShitEd: Well, he's taken it on.
Rick: You know, Rick Agnew was in the Mau Maus band too. Back in New York.
ShitEd: I hear he used to be your roommate!
Danny: Rick Agnew makes the rounds!
Rick: Nobody visited me in New York except Rodney (Bingenheimer).
Danny: Rodney visited everybody's band!
ShitEd (to Rick): I also heard--from the people who just vacated this practice space--that Rick Agnew took to wearing dresses because he was hanging out with you?
Rick: Well it could be! Hey, he hung out with Roz (Williams of Christian Death) first! So hey! They came and stayed at my house in New York when I was there.
ShitEd: So why the bondage and leather thing, you into kinky women (his girlfriend is standing right there!) or dominatrixes?
Rick: I am definitely into kinky women!
Lori (referring to Rick): He IS a kinky woman!
ShitEd: You like it painful?
Rick: I rather like being on the other side, but I dish it out and can take it.
ShitEd: Okay, here's the obligatory heroin question: you still shooting dope?
Rick: No.
ShitEd: Good. Got bored with it?
Rick: I think everybody gets bored with it if you live long enough, and I was the first person who was SUPPOSED to die! And I'm still HERE!
ShitEd: There you go.
Rick: Last man standing. Or last animal standing...
Lori (Rick's girlfriend, referring to Rick): Or last lesbian standing.
Rick: I am a lesbian!
ShitEd: Okay, and now everyone's going to know it! Let's go back to a serious question: when are you guys going to record all those Berlin Brats and Mau Maus songs?
Rick: We're working on them right now.
ShitEd: And when they're finally done... You know, the kids don't even know Mau Maus anymore.
Rick: Yeah, but some of these songs are really fantastic. If you are going to stick around. Some of them are more pop than punk, and it's cool.
ShitEd (to Rick): Do you have fun fucking with people? With the way you look and the way you dress and present yourself, you scare the shit out of people. Just like those cops outside just now? You were scaring the hell out of one of those cops. Do you have fun with that?
Rick: I just have fun changing people's perceptions of what's "normal." I just don't think anything's normal anymore. So do I have fun with it? Yes! Of course. I don't want to start a fight.
Danny: When we were outside and you walked past one of the cops, he looked at Lori, didnít know you were together, and said "That guy scares me." (everyone laughs)
(The interview dissolves in weird babbling and joking...)