Brendan Mullen, documentarian of the early L.A. punk scene, died this past Monday at the age of 60. From the basement of a porno theater to The Decline of Western Civilization, the Scottish-born implant helped chronicle early American West Coast punk both orally and through the written word, ending his life's work with a series of books on the scene. Below, five videos in his memory. First, here's Mullen in the seminal documentary on L.A. Punk explaining in technical terms why punk is better than disco.
Among his many books, Mullen was also co-author of "Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs." The Germs got their start playing the Masque, the club owned by Mullen.
We can't imagine that he'd be too pleased with the recent biopic about the life of Darby Crash,What We Do Is Secret
. Watch to the end for the LOL hyper-dramatic moment.
The Masque was an underground club. Literally. It was in the basement of an adult theater - Mullen said it was the only place cheap enough to rent. Not only did it serve as a venue for early performances for The Germs, X, The Dickies and the Weirdos, it also served as a rehearsal space. Bilingual music network LATV did a segment chronicling 30 years of music at the Masque and its effect on the Hispanic punk scene, complete with interviews with Mullen (who looks oddly like William S. Burroughs here).
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Finally, the standout name from the bands influenced and assisted by Mullen has to be the Go-Gos. Their first show was at the Masque and they arguably went on to be come the most successful of the bands to play there, in spite of the fact that the L.A. punk scene's reception of them was that of a novelty act. They were, after all, bubblegum pop. But Belinda Carlisle was friends with the Germs, and was even supposed to drum for the band. By 1981 the Go-Gos, had enough cred to be featured inUrgh! A Music War
, a documentary on early-'80s New Wave.