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The Masque was founded by Scottish-British-American rock promoter Brendan Mullen. It quickly became the nexus of the Los Angeles punk subculture. It was located at 1655 North Cherokee Avenue, between Hollywood Boulevard and Selma Avenue. Many L.A. bands frequently performed there, including Needles and Pins, The Model Citizens, The Dickies, Shock, L.A. Shakers, X, The Germs, The Bags, The Screamers, Black Randy and the Metrosquad, The Alley Cats, F Word, Backstage Pass, The Wildcats, Suburban Lawns, The Mau-Mau's, The Weirdos, The Zeros, The Avengers, The Dils, The Skulls, The Controllers and others. The Berlin Brats, The Skulls, The Controllers, The Motels and The Go-Go's and Secrets rented practice space there. Rhino 39, one of Long Beach, California's earliest punk rock bands, played there often. At least two compilation records featuring live performances at The Masque have been released.
The Masque was closed by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1978, and briefly re-opened before closing its doors permanently in 1979.
Mullen went on to open, and promote shows at, The Other Masque and later Club Lingerie, both also located in Hollywood. Bands appearing at The Other Masque included, among others, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Dead Boys (with local musicians backing Stiv Bators including Nicky Beat), The Cramps (probably their first show in LA after moving from New York City), The Red Army, The Simpletones, The Flyboys, Mutants and others. The loss of The Other Masque resulted in punk bands having to move to the Sunset Strip clubs like the Whisky a Go Go or Gazzari's. This change in performance venues contributed to the fading of the L.A. punk scene in the early 1980s.
The building was renovated in 2001. While most of the walls have been removed, the remaining walls in the basement (which now houses the World of Wonder archive) continue to display much of the original graffiti.
Mullen died of a stroke on October 12, 2009. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea wrote a two-page article on Mullen's passing along with his memories of The Masque in an October 2009 article for the Los Angeles Times. Mullen had been one of the first club promoters to give the Chili Peppers their start in 1983. The band included a tribute to Mullen, "Brendan's Death Song", on their 2011 album I'm with You.