1978 OG LA Punk Rock

“Scorched Earth Policies” Reviewed in Big Takeover

Scorched Earth Policies: Then & Now
(Ratchet Blade)
by Jack Rabid
Scorched Earth Policies: Then & NowWhen the liner notes claim the Mau Maus were among the most notorious bands on the 1977-1983’s incredilbe L.A. punk scene, they’re right! Thanks to rave write-ups in Slash, Flipside, etc., one constantly heard about wildman Rick Wilder‘s post-Berlin Brats (proto-punk pioneers seen in Cheech & Chongs’ Up in Smoke) group, but didn’t hear them, except two cuts on 1983’s Hell Comes to Your House, Vol. 2, (equaling Berlin Brat’s meager output from a 7″). Drugs were cited as the main impediment. Well, it’s taken 30-40 years, but Mau Maus’ bassist Scott “Chopper” Franklin‘s label has now released retrospective albums of both bands. The Mau Maus never entered a studio ’til after five years, and went back only twice more; likewise the Berlin Brats’ Believe it or Rot (1973-1976) could only present seven studio songs. Fortunately, the Mau Maus reformed their 1981 line up recently, returned to the studio with producer ex-Deadbeats Geza X, and cut eight new versions of old numbers to go with six 1983 recordings with Doors guitarist Robby Krieger (Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek likewise produced X). Amazingly, the new recordings sound like the old! Their high octane punk ‘n’ roll is badd ass, a kicking, spitting, heavier, faster Hollywood answer to Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers, including re-recordings of Berlin Brats’ material like the Saints-esque “(I’m) Psychotic”. The Joneses eventually copped their notorious raunch, but these guys had the riffs and attitude; all they needed was an album.