The Kats in Chinatown circa 1979

Bobbyzio Moore, Freddy Moore, Al Galles (hidden), Pete MacRae, Dennis Peters at Madame Wongs Chinatown
photo: Lon Specter.

"It could have happened anywhere, any time, any city. But it happened right here in Los Angeles. It was a good time to be here. Lots of good bands and plenty of good clubs where a band didn't have to 'pay' to play. In short, we had a 'scene'.
... a chinatown club called Madame Wongs - a Chinese Restaurant by day, new wave zombie zoo by night run by an ageing tyrant called, you guessed it, Madame Wong."
--Rick Gershon.

"Chinatown was the hip place to hang out in 1977 when punk music made its way to L.A. entrepreneur Paul Greenstein talked Madame Wong's Chinese Restaurant into opening its doors to live music and the nearby Hong Kong restaurant did the same thing. All types of bands came to Chinatown to check out the New Wave acts like: the Police, the Knack, the B-52s, the Busboys, the Kats, the Motels and others. Business was so good that Esther Wong opened a second Madame Wong's in Santa Monica." --Arrow97.

The Kats/Nu Kats were headlining there on the night immortalized by Graham Parker:

Downtown L.A. Madame Wong's,
someone puts a tape on, a couple of songs
advertising the place next door.
Madame finds out, she sure gets sore.
Out come the coolies, swinging their lead
get those rockers, take their heads
those poor souls must pay the price
they wind up in tomorrow's fried rice.
--Graham Parker 1980
from ‘The Up Escalator’

Hear Maneuvers on mp3

Here's what happened that night:

After we finished our first set, a guy handed the Wong's soundman a cassette to play during the break bewteen bands. The tape began with a Dwight Twilley song, about one minute into the song a voice came on berating the Wong's customers: "Leave for the Hong Kong" (next door), and basically claiming "Wong's is lame and if you were hip you'd be at the Hong Kong!" And just as Parker wrote, the Madame's coolies sprang into got a little scary..... I remember another time, we were filming 'The 'Frazer Smith Show' at Wong's and the LAFD busted the show and cleared the house claiming there was not enough space between the tables. It was widely believed that the Hong Kong was behind that absurd incident-Freddy Moore of The Kats.

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