Denise Mercedes

Producer of the Dae Lilies project, she is revered as the founder/lead guitarist of The Stimulators, the legendary underground New York punk band whose influence is felt to this day. The band included 12-year-old star drummer Harley Flanagan, who went on to found the historic and ground-breaking Cro-Mags. Stimulators were the first American punk band to tour Ireland, North and South, through Belfast filmmaker John T. Davis. His breakthrough film “Shellshock Rock” was about the punk scene in Ireland during the time of a war still being fought, and how the underground punk music scene brought many young people back together. The band’s best known songs include the anthem “Loud Fast Rules!” which was the official battle cry that galvanized the emerging youth rock culture of the Lower East Side that would later become NYHC (New York Hard Core) while their song “M.A.C.H.I.N.E.” is absolutely one of the first true ’hardcore’ songs (1978). With their enormous popularity and sway, The Stimulators introduced D.C.’s Bad Brains onto the New York punk scene which further ignited the movement and direction of punk to hardcore. Upon Harley’s leaving The Stimulators, Mercedes Co-Produced with teenaged Flanagan, his solo works of song writing and playing all the instruments for the 1982-83 first and only Cro-Mags demo, which became the musical foundation for that legendary band’s definitive and signature hardcore style. The Stimulators had one, raw, bare-knuckle album, “Loud Fast Rules!” a live recording on ROIR Records, and appear on the comp album also issued by ROIR RECORDS “New York Thrash” with Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, The Mad, and other contemporaries and friends from that era and now famous scene.

The Stimulators punk anthem “Loud Fast Rules!” is included in the soundtrack of the new film “The Godfathers of Hardcore” directed by Ian McFarland. The film’s world premiere was at the School of Visual Arts Theater November 11, 2017

A native New Yorker of Hispanic-Eastern European descent, Mercedes had the blessings to play amongst some of the greats before forming The Stimulators in 1978. She had the opportunity to jam with such rock royalty as Link Wray, the 1950’s pioneer of the commanding and dirty power chord along with innovating growly guitar distortion, making Wray the father of modern rock guitar playing. He invited her to perform a song with him at Max’s Kansas City (1978) along with members of Bob Dylan’s band. She jammed with Iggy Pop in a fierce impromptu duet of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” at a NY loft party right before going to London to play with drummer Rat Scabies (The Damned) in a short lived punk group in the UK. She performed a couple of NY shows with fantastic UK drummer Bryson Graham (RIP) of Spooky Tooth, Alvin Lee, Frampton, in a 3-piece blues-based group Banned. She was a guest on Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review tours, and he graciously bought Mercedes her first great electric guitar. She became good friends with Mick Ronson (David Bowie) with whom she got to rock out with at his home in Woodstock. Ronson then gave Mercedes a precious amp from his Spiders From Mars tour to help her get good equipment to play on.

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“The Robot’s Dream” 8’x53” hand-stitched tapestry art, design collaboration w/Frank Pawlowski

After ending the Stimulators and during a long hiatus from music, she became an exhibiting visual artist focusing on UFO and Robot themes, animals, and Tudor/Renaissance inspired pieces, showing in such prestigious places as the New York Hall of Science, Queens Borough Hall and Bishop Castle, CO. At this juncture, Mercedes also became active in animal rights/wildlife conservation, and put together a large and successful multi-media art show with West Coast conservationist/animal activist and legal advocate Kevin Connolly, featuring the Gorilla art of world-acclaimed sign-language speaking Lowland Gorillas Koko and Michael to raise awareness of their sentience and the plight of wildlife. Having had a very Close Encounter of a majestic Flying Saucer with her husband, she became a UFO researcher and compiled a mesmerizing manuscript of the arcane phenomenon based on interviews which she hopes to publish in the future.

In 2005, Mercedes was reunited with The Stimulators for three very special shows including the Save CBGB’s effort which was also a memorial for Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys, and, The Stimulators were asked by old friends the Bad Brains to play the bill on the historic, internationally covered closing night of CBGB’s for Punk and Hardcore.

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GIRLS headlining Gramercy Theater, NYC, 100th show

Deciding to play again, she then fortuitously teamed up with bassist/leader & R&R mastermind Patricia Nilsen and drummer Tawny Lee in their fledgling startup Girls Girls Girls -- the world’s 1st and best all-female tribute to Motley Crue – and an entire new chapter began. Female tributes were virtually unheard of at that time (2006); Mercedes was unfamiliar with the concept, as well as the catalog of music she'd be performing. Far beyond being considered a novelty act however, these ladies had unexpected success and popularity, performing and touring frequently. The band was featured on VH1 Classic TV’s “That Metal Show,” were the tribute act chosen for the print promotion of the game “Rock Star” in 2014 were featured on the cover of the iconic Village Voice Fall Preview Issue, with the headline “Motley Who?NYC based tribute band Knocks ‘em Dead.” Touring in such exciting places as Alaska, Vegas, Detroit, other U.S. cities and Mexico with Nick Marden along as Tour Manager, they still get gig, festival and tour offers.

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Playing with rock LEGEND Link Wray at Max’s 1976 with Bob Dylan band members Howie Wyeth, drums, Rob Stoner, bass. Photo credit: Nicky Lazzoni, Lower Third Enterprises

She has been personally featured in the New York Times and New York Natives, along with much prior band press. Some recent rock books that Mercedes has made an appearance in include Hardcore: Life of My Own, Harley Flanagan; NYHC New York Hardcore, Tony Rettman; Broken Summers, Henry Rollins; Life as Art – the Club 57 Story, Stanley Strychacki, in which she is credited by the founder of the venue for providing him the courage and moral support to open Club 57 at Irving Plaza. Mercedes makes an appearance in My Riot: Agnostic Front Grit, Guts & Glory by Roger Miret and Jon Wiederhorn. She is interviewed in the 2012 movie: Bad Brains – A Band in DC, a film Mandy Stein (co-director) and was recently interviewed for the upcoming Link Wray biography by Dana Leigh Raidt, titled “The First Man in Black: Link Wray”-- of interest as being the only woman rock guitarist known to have performed alongside rock legend Link Wray.

Her new 2018 project, Dae Lilies, will focus on recording new material with guest artists, the first artist being world-renowned vocalist hitmaker LaLa Brooks, former lead singer of iconic 60’s girl group The Crystals.

Mercedes has been a feature writer with the entertainment site www.musicrealms.com since 2016, interviewing fascinating and accomplished people involved in music, film, arts/entertainment.

Artist Endorsed by Hagstrom Guitars of Sweden NAMM 2014 Anaheim, CA.