Mau Maus - MAU MAUSMau Maus - Band 1982

Formed: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, UK

UK band influenced heavily by US hardcore.

Brief History

They made their live debut in 1981 supporting the Angelic Upstarts, apparently on the proviso that they dropped their abysmal rendition of 'Liddle Towers'. They started gigging in London in 1982 and played with such luminaries as the Upstarts, Urban Dogs and Dead Kennedys. Signing to Marcus Featherby's Pax Records they recorded and released a handful of punchy, fast-moving EP's that saw them achieve considerable success in punk circles, and in 1983 they went on tour with Pax labelmates The Exploited. Unfortunately, at the end of the tour bassist Bunny collapsed on stage and was later diagnosed with cancer. They carried on with a new bassist and started their own label, Rebellion, releasing another single (Tear Down The Walls E.P.) and finally their debut studio LP, Fear No Evil (they actually made their LP debut in 1983 with Live At The Marples). Popularity now on the wane, their last recording saw the addition of a second guitarist and the return of Bunny. Nowhere To Run did nothing and, in 1986, they packed it in.

Mau Maus - 1984 Lineup

Long History:

Written by Stuart Newman - Control! Fanzine 1996.
Nicked from The Punk Single Collection CD liner notes.

Named after the 1950's secret political action from Kenya, and inspired by a U.S. Hardcore act of the same name, Sheffield's Mau Maus formed after leaving school in late '79. They possessed no equipment and had nowhere to rehearse. In line tradition of the times, enthusiasm overpowered these problems and within months the band saw themselves playing a dire set of cover versions and poor original compositions at local youth clubs. The band slowly progressed to the small pubs circuit and by early 1981 had gained a regular following. They were soon to meet Marcus Featherby (founder of Pax Records and local gig promoter) who was to invite them to support The Angelic Upstarts at Sheffield's Marples club - on the condition that they did not play their "horrendous" cover of the Upstarts' Liddle Towers. Overwhelmed by the reaction received at gigs, the band soon found that their egos were growing a lot faster than their musical capabilities, and found it quite disturbing when Featherby told them they were crap! Undeterred, they took to the rehearsal studios for the remaining part of 1981 until they left confident enough to invite Featherby to a session. Impressed by their determination he offered them a deal for a single with Pax, and gave them many support slots at the Marples Club with the likes of The Wall and The Enemy.

April '82 saw the band's first visit to a recording studio, where they recorded 8 songs which were recorded and mixed within 5 hours - for £5O! "The Kill" - taken from this session - appeared on the highly successful Wargasm compilation album and gave great exposure to the band leading up to the release of the Society's Rejects E.P. which spent 10 weeks in the Independent chart, peaking at No. 22. On the back of this the band were offered their first London gigs, where they played the legendary Skunx Club and the 100 Club, supporting The Angelic Upstarts and Charlie Harper's Urban Dogs. A fantastic night, but for the fact that the band didn't get paid! September 1982 saw the Mau Maus back in the studio for a new EP. With Lee Wilson of Infa Riot producing, 4 tracks were recorded at London's Matrix Studios - costing ten times as much as the first single! From this session come the No Concern EP and then the track 'Give Us A Future' (plus 'Clampdown' from the EP) which featured on the compilation Punk Dead - Nah Mate, The Smell Is Jus Summink In Yer Underpants Innit album. Released in November 1982, the EP spent 10 weeks in the newly compiled Punk chart in 'Sounds', peaking at No. 10, just behind G.B.H. and The Anti Nowhere League - with the compilation album reaching No. 2! Gigs with Infa Riot and Dead Kennedys spread the word that bit further and the Mau Maus were now becoming a highly sought after ad, receiving well over 100 letters a week and being featured in all the UK's bigger fanzines. Yet not strangely in 'Sounds'. Nothing to do with Sounds' Garry Bushell hating Pax boss Marcus Featherby I suppose.... Maturing both musically and lyrically, the band stormed Manchester's Revolution Studio to record their critically acclaimed Facts Of War E.P. in May 1983. featuring the Oil-esque anti-unemployment anthem 'Just Another Day', the blatantly antiwar title track and the show slopping, trendy conscientious, 'Running With The Pack', this single peaked at No. 6 in the U.K. Punk chart, and spent 17 weeks there.

Mau Maus - Society's Rejects E.P. - UK 7" 1982 (Pax - PAX 6). Second pressingMau Maus - Society's Rejects E.P. - UK 7" 1982 (Pax - PAX 6). Second pressing Back Cover

ABOVE: The labels for the 2nd pressing of the Society's Rejects E.P.

The Mau Maus were then to achieve some of their finest moments: 3 Tracks on the Bollox To The Gonads - Here's The Testicles compilation album, which reached No.1 in the Punk chart and No. 6 in the Independent chart (and which floated thereabouts for 24 weeks!!) and, as support band to The Exploited on their 'Let's Start A War' U.K. tour, at the tail end of 1983. To say things were looking good for the band would be understatement of the year!

Tragedy struck on the last date of The Exploited tour at Feltham Football Club when bass player 'Bunny' collapsed, was rushed to hospital and was diagnosed as having cancer. In respect, the band had a lengthy lay off until Bunny was diagnosed "in remission", and then had to recruit a stand in bass player, Alf, from a local Punk band. Just as the band were prepared to go and give their all, the inevitable disaster happened! The 1984 U.K. Miners' Strike, leaving virtually everybody in Yorkshire without a wage, as well as leaving women and children without food! This didn't help the band at all, as half the band were miners! And the other half unemployed! When this strike collapsed, the miners' were just 2 months away from a total exhaustion of coal supplies in the United Kingdom and just weeks away from seeing the complete collapse of the British Government - not something many U.K. Punk bands can claim to be an active part of! And not a well known fact!! Again ironically, during this time Pax Records released the band's debut album, Live At The Marples, recorded in September '83, which showed the band in their finest form - Live! Reaching No. 3 in the Independent chart, (slopped only by The Smiths and Billy Bragg!!!) the band had their finest chance for success. But, without Bunny, things took time. In this short space and happily cashing in, Featherby didn't waste any time compiling and releasing the Mau Maus' compilation LP, Running With The Pack, which features all the singles, radio plugs and an edit of the Live album.

Mau Maus - 1985 Lineup

By mid 1984, the band felt confident enough to venture back into the studio. Still without Bunny, and without a label after deciding the deal with Pax had run it's course (again in line 80's tradition, Featherby had run off with all the money!) the band opted to start their own record label, Rebellion Records. The first release for them come in the form of the Tear Down The Walls E.P.. Produced by Simon Hinkier (who went on to become 'The Mission' guitarist) at Fairview Studios, this 7" hit the lower ends of the Indie charts, but effectively was the end of the band as a serious recording act. Live however, it was a different matter. The word had spread. They replaced Conflict on a tour of Germany and Holland with The Varukers (thanks to new manager, Tony Perrin) and upon their return to the UK played many successful shows with the likes of The Fits, who by the time were a happening band. Although now being reviewed in the National press, things didn't look good! The band recorded their second album (first & only studio LP) Fear No Evil - which despite containing studio versions of live favourites such as 'Be My Baby' and 'Rebellion', was poorly received and effectively the end of the band. A U.K. tour with The English Dogs (who had now gone into their 'Metal' phase) and The Varukers (who were also playing more Thrash than Punk) didn't do much for the band's popularity - neither did changing the chorus to tracks such as 'Running With The Pack'! As a last gasp attempt to keep the band going, they recorded the Nowhere To Run E.P. With the pressures of the times they also added second guitarist, Richard Hall. With Bunny back on bass, and Hinkler again at the helm of control, the band's most melodic platter failed to inspire and after a further year's touring the band called it a day. Chris bailed out first, as he felt his vocals - which were abrasive on the best of days - couldn't keep up with the direction that the band were going!

Where are they now? I hear you ask: Chris is a welder. Lev a van driver. Podge, a steel worker.
Alf owns a gardening firm, and Bunny's still on the dole! (And Richard? He's gone missing!)

LINEUP 1:

Chris Taylor - vocals
Andy 'Lev' Levick - guitar
Kevin 'Bunny' Warren - bass
Paul 'Podge' Barker - drums

LINEUP 2:

Chris Taylor - vocals
Andy 'Lev' Levick - guitar
Alf - bass
Paul 'Podge' Barker - drums
Kevin 'Bunny' Warren - backing vocals

LINEUP 3:

Chris Taylor - vocals
Andy 'Lev' Levick - guitar
Alf - bass
Paul 'Podge' Barker - drums
Kevin 'Bunny' Warren - backing vocals
Richard Hall - guitar

 

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

Mau Maus - Society's Rejects E.P. Mau Maus - No Concern Mau Maus - Facts Of War E.P. Mau Maus - Live At The Marples Mau Maus - Tear Down The Walls E.P.
Society's Rejects E.P. (7", 1982) No Concern
(7", 1983)
Facts Of War E.P.
(7", 1983)
Live At The Marples
(LP, 1984)
Tear Down The Walls E.P. (7", 1984)
Mau Maus - Fear No Evil Mau Maus - Nowhere To Run E.P.      
Fear No Evil
(LP, 1985)
Nowhere To Run E.P. (12", 1985)      

Extraneous Releases

Mau Maus - Running With The Pack Mau Maus - The Punk Singles Collection      
Running With The Pack (LP, 1984) The Punk Singles Collection (CD, 1996)      

 

Various Artists

Wargasm UK LP 1982 (Pax): The Kill

Punk Dead - Nah Mate, The Smell Is Jus Summink In Yer Underpants Innit UK LP 1983 (Pax): Give Us A Future / Clampdown

Bollox To The Gonads - Here's The Testicles UK LP 1983 (Pax): Just Another Day / Running With The Pack / No Concern

Daffodils To The Daffodils Here's The Daffodils UK LP 1984 (Pax): Facts Of War

Babylon Bleibt Fahren Netherlands LP 1985 (Babylon Bleibt Fahren): Facts Of War (Live)

Symphonies For The Disaffected UK Tape 1985 (Beer Belly Tapes): Facts Of War

Shoulder To Shoulder - Oi! 'N' Punkrock Classics Vol 3 LP 1990s (Street Kids): Promises [bootleg]

Pax Records Punk Collection UK CD 1996 (Anagram): Society's Rejects / Social System / No Concern / Clampdown / Just Another Day / Running With The Pack

Links

KILL FROM THE HEART - Discography, reviews etc

 

 

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