The Mae Shi are an experimental punk band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2002.
The band began performing live in 2003. They were a part of the local scene centered around The Smell. More shows throughout Los Angeles followed, and the band gained a reputation for its high-energy performances. Soon after, they released their first EP, To Hit Armor Class Zero, on the label Byron runs, Join Or Die. They embarked on a tour in the summer of 2003, playing shows on the West coast. In Olympia, WA, they met Kill Rock Stars/5RC founder Slim Moon, with whom they kept in touch after the show.
Through the fall of 2003 and winter of 2004, they worked on their debut LP, recording songs in their living rooms and bedrooms using borrowed gear. They sent a CD-R of the record to Moon in April 2004, and one week later in an Instant Messenger conversation, he offered to release it on Kill Rock Stars' sister label 5 Rue Christine. Terrorbird was released in July 2004, and the band embarked on a 31-day, 32-show tour to promote it, without using a booking agent. The band offered to play any birthday party, wedding, or bar mitzvah for $100. The band played with bands such as Fat Day and Rapider Than Horsepower. To promote their first LP to say thanks to their mostly-Los Angeles-based fanbase, they released The Mae Shi 2004 Mixtape. The 70-minute tape collects their favorite parts from their favorite 2000 songs.
In 2005, they released an EP (titled Heartbeeps for the U.S. version released by 5RC and Go Zbra by Swedish label Deleted Art), and a split LP with Rapider Than Horsepower called Do Not Ignore the Potential on Narshardaa in Europe (released in January 2006 on Strictly Amateur Films in the U.S). They embarked on a five-week tour of Europe in May 2005 with the band Rapider Then Horsepower. Upon returning to the US in June 2005, they were named "best punk/hardcore band" in the LA Weekly's 2005 Music Awards.
In October 2005, they embarked on another US tour. Corey Fogel, who joined the band in the middle of their European tour as a mid-tour replacement for Brad Breeck when he suffered a family emergency, joined the band full-time as drummer. Breeck now plays guitar, keyboards and drums. To help fund the tour, they released two limited edition CD-Rs, I and II.
Their debut DVD, Lock The Skull, Load The Gun, was released in April 2006 on 5RC. It combined 32 music videos made by friends and fans with an hour-long tour documentary chronicling their Celebration Tour. In July 2006, it was announced that Buchla had left the band approximately two months before. Fogel has also since left the band. Both departing members are now members of Gowns. Breeck has returned to playing the drums. It was announced in September/October 2006 that Jonathan Gray had joined the band as singer/guitarist.
Although the band decided to not play outside of their LA home after their Fall 2005 tour, they participated in a small two week East Coast tour in August 2007 with Yea Big + Kid Static. On the tour, the band offered two limited edition CD-Rs, "III" (which was mostly comprised of HLLLYH outtakes) and "IIII", along with a limited release of HLLLYH on cassette.
On December 2, 2007 the band debuted Bill Gray and Marcus Savino in their live line up to replace bassist Tim Byron and drummer Brad Breeck, who will continue on with the The Mae Shi, but not tour with them. With their new line up, they embarked on a 4 day tour with The Germs in late December 2007, followed by a two week tour in the UK during January/February 2008 promoting their new album. They ambitiously played 18 shows at SXSW(South by South-West) in March 2008. They are to tour the US over Summer 2008.
Their third release, HLLLYH, was released on the labels Moshi Moshi (UK) and Team Shi (America) on February 11, 2008. They are already working on a new EP featuring all six current members of The Mae Shi.