In 1977, after hearing The Damned, Motorhead and The Clash, guitarist Denise Mercedes returned from London and decided to start her own band. She recruited LES poet Patrick Mack on guitar and vocals, artist and fashionista Nick Marden on bass and, after trying out the likes of Jerry Nolan (Heartbreakers, NY Dolls) and Johnny Blitz (Dead Boys) on drums, settled on a then 11 year-old Harley Flanagan (Cro-Mags, Harley’s War). Soon the Stims gained a rabid fan club of the youngest rock ‘n’ rollers in the city and became regulars at legendary clubs like Max’s Kansas City, CBGB’s and Danceteria, sharing bills with bands like Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Bad Brains, Suicide, B-52s and The Cramps.
The Stimulators' Loud Fast Rules! was one of the early ROIR cassette-only releases which has finally been reissued on CD. The band played shows around the world from '77 - '81 (along with a brief reunion at one of the "Save CBGB" shows) and this CD captures a live show recorded at The Pier in Raleigh in 1981.
Given the involvement of Harley Flanagan, I was expecting The Stimulators to be a hardcore band but, interestingly enough, the band plays melodic, semi-chaotic punk (which was later called 'post-hardcore' when this style of music took hold in the mid-80's). Points of comparison would be the art-punk sounds of early Gang of Four crossed with the pre-goth melodic punk sounds of The Damned. Adding to the mix, the band makes a few well-executed forays into reggae. While the post-harDCore Washington, DC crews popularized the mix of reggae and punk, The Stimulators pre-date bands like Scream and Dag Nasty by a number of year and may have served as a source of influence for these later groups.
Last Fast Rules! isn't a high-fidelity recording but it is a reasonable sounding live recording that does a great job of capturing the band's energy. The Stimulators blast through twelve originals (and Harley co-wrote a couple of these tracks) along with covers of Kiss' " Rock 'N' Roll All Night" and Iggy's "I've Got a Right". Prior to listening to this recording, I hadn't appreciated that Harley is a pretty solid drummer in his own right.
In addition to this live recording, The Simulators only other documented recording is an impossible-to-find 7" which contains studio recordings of "Loud Fast Rules!" and "Run Run Run".
For anyone interested in Harley's rapid evolution from punk to hardcore, last year's Harley's War - Hardcore All-Stars (MVD) set contains Harley's 1982 solo demos, some of which later ended up on Age of Quarrel.
Cro-Mags (Harley's site - with picture of The Stimulators at Max's)