Home Read Classic Album Review: The Fast | The Best of the Fast: 1976-1984

Classic Album Review: The Fast | The Best of the Fast: 1976-1984

The NYC punks teach you how not to succeed in the music biz — while really trying.

This album came out a couple of decades ago. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


For every band that makes it, there are thousands that don’t. New York punks The Fast are one of the many that most definitely didn’t. Though it wasn’t for lack of effort — or opportunities.

Founded by the three Zone brothers back in the heady mid-’70s, The Fast played Max’s Kansas City and CBGB next to the likes of Blondie and The Ramones. They put out singles, had a track on the Max’s compilation disc, and even had an album produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars. And judging by some of those tunes — 22 of which are gathered here on this best-of set — the boys could string together a three-chord riff and a zippy new-wave melody as well as the next guy. So what went wrong? Well, near as I can tell their big problem was The Fast couldn’t stand fast. Rather than find their own image and sound and stick to their guns, they seem to have changed their tune to cash in on every trend that came along, from glam to punk to new-wave to rockabilly to goth to disco. While they surely picked up some new fans with every incarnation, they doubtlessly lost their old ones in a zero-sum game they could never win. Though they could have written a fine book: How Not To Succeed In the Music Business — While Really, Really Trying.