Music Reviews


Loud Fast Rules


For an area that had contributed so much to the early punk scene, there didn’t seem to be too much going on in New York City in the early ’80s. Most of the pioneering bands of a few years ago had either broken up, become unlikely mainstream success stories, or settled in for long careers of obscurity and cult fandom. The youthful energy of hardcore wouldn’t hit for a few years later, so what was a punk rocker to do?

Go see the Stimulators, of course.

Denise Mercedes formed the Stimulators in 1978, merging a love of hard rock with the best of then-current British punk. An early Damned influence is apparent, as well as KISS (they even covered “Rock and Roll All Night,” years before any respectable punk band would have touched the song). While the Stimulators left behind a few 7”s, their only full-length recording would be the live Loud Fast Rules, previously only available as a cassette tape, now available on vinyl and CD.

Recorded live in North Carolina in 1981, Loud Fast Rules shows a band on top of their game, bashing out fast-paced, energetic but still melodic punk. Catchy songs like “Hopeless” and “Dancing in the Front Lines” have a speed and assurance, and are catchy as hell, to boot.

Mercedes’ guitar leads on “Facts” sound like a rocking KISS or New York Dolls, after those bands had been largely forgotten about, and “Cradle Rock” is probably the best merging of hard rock and punk at the time.

One of the most remarkable things about Loud Fast Rules is the drum work of then 12-year-old Harley Flanagan, who would form the Cro-Mags only a few years later. It is almost impossible to believe that a kid that young could provide that much muscle behind the drums.

Loud Fast Rules is a snapshot of the years right before hardcore and right after punk, and is guaranteed to make even the most sedentary listener move.

ROIR: • Stimulators:

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