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Punk pioneer Brendan Mullen dies

October 12, 2009 |  4:15 pm

Brendan Mullen, author of several books chronicling L.A.'s punk rock scene -- of which he was an essential part -- died this morning. Mullen, who had been scheduled to DJ at Sunday's Part Time Punks festival, suffered a stroke Saturday. He was 60 years old.

Mullen, who moved to L.A. from Scotland in 1973, opened the punk club the Masque in Hollywood in 1977, originally as a rehearsal space. The place was cheap because it was in a basement -- not just any basement, but one below a Pussycat adult theater. Problems with police closed the club down for good in 1979, but not before it had launched the careers of the Germs, X, the Go-Go's (yes, those Go-Go's), the Weirdos, the Skulls, the Controllers and more.

After the Masque, Mullen remained in L.A., where he booked shows at various clubs for many years and began writing; he became a regular contributor to the LA Weekly.

His first book was "We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk" (2001, with Marc Spitz), which we included in our list of 46 essential rock reads. He also co-wrote 2002's "Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs" (with Adam Parfrey and Germs band mate Don Bolles). He was the author of the oral history of Jane's Addiction, "Whores," published in 2005, and wrote the text of the fantastic 2007 illustrated history "Live at the Masque: Nightmare in Punk Alley."

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Brendan Mullen at the old Masque in 1996. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times