Madame Wong’s was probably the only tropically decorated Chinese restaurant playing live new-wave music that ever existed. Such an entrepreneur Madame Wong was, along with her husband George. She regularly lined up bands like The Knack, the Motels, the Textones, Plain English, the Bus Boys and Naughty Sweeties, but she seemed to like us best. She let us play whenever we wanted, and she’d knock other bands off the lineup if we became available. When Demi and I got married, Madame Wong demanded we have our wedding reception there. It’s the one venue we played in L.A. that felt most like home.
I’m not sure how Madame Wong found The Kats originally, but I know the way she usually picked groups to play at her restaurant. She’d listen to audition tapes in her car. In 1980 she told The Los Angeles Times, “When there’s a bad tape, I throw it out the window. One day I almost hit the Highway Patrol car that was right next to me.”
We were always real respectful to Madame Wong and packed her restaurant with nearly 400 people (capacity: 350). It’s a good thing, because you didn’t want to disappoint or mess with Madame Wong. She’d kick your ass or have her husband George do it. I heard she stopped the Ramones mid-set to make them clean up graffiti they’d written on the bathroom walls.