Founded in 2004 and then again in 2007, The Maids of Honor may be one of Rock's unlikeliest success stories. Theirs is a tale of tragedy, salvation, triumph and tidiness.
While many fans may assume their name is symbolic, it was originally intended to be taken quite literally. "We provided first-rate housecleaning for residents of the greater Los Angeles area." recalls Cuatro, with obvious pride. Uno, Dos, Tres, and Cuatro (who were given numbers rather than names by a cruel and insensitive nurse) grew up in a hastily constructed orphanage made of discarded cardboard in Tijuana, Mexico.
As teenagers, they struck out on their own in search of an identity – drifting from town to town, riding the rails, and often sleeping in movie theaters showing the films of their idol, The Blue Demon. Uno carried a guitar and he played it as the four walked, plucking out old Woodie Guthrie tunes and singing. It wasn't long before the four began to perform at small taverns under the name Los Perdidos Cuatro.
But the band struggled initially to master their instruments. "Tres didn't have the slightest idea how to play guitar" states Uno, "he was blowing on it".
By the fall of '06 their dream to make it in the music business seemed for naught and they were booked less and less. Money became increasingly scarce and they were in danger of being booted from their tiny rat-infested Tijuana shack. "That's when I had an idea." says Cuatro. Stenciling the side of his '65 Ford pickup with "Maids of Honor", the four reluctantly put aside their dream of making music and headed for Tinsel Town, USA. Roaming the hills of Hollywood with various cleaning supplies, the Maids searched for the homes of "busy professionals" to make some quick cash.
Taking great pride in their professional work ethic and attention to detail, and touting their "$99 Weekend Special*" (*drapes not included), the Maids began cleaning the homes of the rich and famous. They tried hard to tell themselves that this was enough, but always working in the shadow of greatness took its toll. One day, while cleaning the estate of legendary bluesman Charles "Voodoo" Johnson in the Hollywood Hills, something inexplicable happened. "That was a very unusual day" reflects Cuatro "very unusual indeed. In fact if you look on the calendar you'll see it was a solar eclipse. I was cleaning one of those giant stainless steal ovens with ammonia and bleach. I know - a terrible, terrible lapse in my judgment. I was cursing our luck, saying to myself 'why can't we be playing music?' I remember I became very fatigued. The last thing I recall is that I could just sort of faintly hear old Voodoo plucking away upstairs at 'Devil Got My Woman'. Then a toxic cloud - it looked like a mean, evil marshmallow. It came out of the oven and engulfed me in its mouth like in Ghostbusters." Uno, who had been smoking nearby on his break, passed out as well. Firemen believe a cigarette he was holding may have set fire to the couch. What the boys won't tell you and what they are reluctant to talk about is that this burned Voodoo Johnson's beloved mansion to the ground.
Assuming any occupants were dead, firemen were shocked to find the badly burned figures of four young men still clinging to life in the
building's charred remains. Sadly, Voodoo was never found. Time was critical. The four were rushed to top-ranked Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, and then again to Fountain Valley Regional Hospital when hospital personnel discovered they had no medical insurance. Working through the night, doctors somehow managed to save the foursome – though they had been left horribly disfigured.
The men returned to work, now donning the noble masks of the Luche Libre. But something else was different. "It sounds strange to say," says Dos "but when we left the hospital, I actually felt better than I did before. Sort of invigorated, or something." Tres agrees. "I did as well. It was just this new found sense of…purpose." It wasn't long before the other Maids also heard the siren song of destiny's trumpet. They were playing a backyard bar mitzvah for one of the children of their clients in the Hollywood Hills. "All of a sudden Uno is playing these lightning-fast riffs, like he was possessed. And Dos is banging away with these Gene Krupa style beats…it was incredible!" says Tres. It was obvious something had changed. In attendance that day was record producer Skip Honeytalk who took notice and immediately signed the boys to a lucrative contract.
Nowadays these Maids no longer do windows. And the only ladder they'll climb is the one of success.
- Roger Lodge
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