The Stimulators Loud Fast Rules! EP reissue
Mostly known in NYHC lore as Harley Flannagan’s first band, the STIMULATORS were truly the brainchild of guitarist Denise Mercedes. Her path to rock’n’roll started almost mythologically, having been given her first electric guitar by BOB DYLAN and an amp from BOWIE guitarist Mick Ronson. She was also Harley’s aunt, and when she wanted to start a band and no drummers were to be found, she stuck her young punk progeny behind the kit. The group was rounded out by queer poet Patrick Mack on vocals (who would pass away from AIDS in 1983) and bassist Nick Marden, famously of the Mapplethorpe photo wearing the “Loud Fast Rules” leather jacket. The band came on the scene after the first wave of CBGB bands had either signed to labels, gone on tour forever, gone new wave, or just imploded. In this time before hardcore was completely codifed, the STIMULATORS gigged not only with the BAD BRAINS after they were banned in DC, but also gorehound maniacs the MAD and no wave noiseniks like RED TRANSISTOR. As Mercedes was initially inspired by seeing the DAMNED, the three songs on this single rock more in that vein of British punk to my ears, but with the chant-along choruses and backup “oooh”s that definitely show having absorbed the RAMONES at full volume from inches away. Mercedes’ guitar has the perfect early punk sound of disciplined downstroke power chord slashing and in-the-red ramalama leads. Harley, as a twelve-year-old who could barely see over the kit, plays better than his age would have you guess, pushing the songs forward with an unrelenting ride cymbal, fully locked in with the guitar. Overall, this is a classic artifact of NY punk, and a catchy punk single that finally more than collector scum can get their hands on.