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Ryan Cooper

R.I.P. Brendan Mullen - 1949-2009

By October 14, 2009

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The L.A. Times has reported that Brendan Mullen, author and founder of the legendary Hollywood punk club Masque, died Monday after suffering a massive stroke over the weekend. He was 60.

Mullen was the West Coast's version of Hilly Kristal and Masque a shorter-lived version of CBGB. It was only open from 1977-1978 when the fire marshal shut it down, and had brief reopening in 1979, but in that short span of time the legendary club help found L.A. burgeoning punk scene. Most of L.A.'s punk pioneers found their start there, including the Germs, the Dils, X, the Go-Go's, the Dickies and many more.

After Masque was shut down Mullen went on to do shows at The Other Masque and later Club Lingerie, again providing a place for the West Coast punk scene to grow and thrive. Without his dedication, the West Coast punk scene may not have become the cultural explosion it was.

Mullen also co-authored multiple books on the scene he helped start and its players, including 2001's We Got The Neutron Bomb, 2002's Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs and 2007's Live at the Masque: Nightmare in Punk Alley, and appeared, as himself, in the 2007 documentary Punks Not Dead.

Mullen was truly a pioneer in the U.S. punk scene, the sort who was behind the scenes for most of his career, but occupying a position that was even more important than that of the musicians. By providing these early artists a place to play and be seen, he made it possible for the anarchic explosion of punk rock in the states.

In a tribute he penned for the L.A. Times, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers said:

Brendan was an intellectual, a musician, a writer, a partyer and a regular dude. And I speak for all of us when I say to Brendan . . . a love supreme! Brendan has broken through to the other side! (Link)

We'd like to extend our condolences to his family and friends. (L.A. Times Obituary link)

Photo Courtesy of Ginkgo Press

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