Nervus Rex was a New Wave pop band whose roots were in the New York City independent music scene, its members frequenting clubs like CBGB's and Max's Kansas City. The band’s founding members Lauren Agnelli and Shaun Brighton met one night at CBGB’s and discovered a connection in a mutual appreciation for other new wave bands playing at the time, including the Cramps and The Velvet Underground. Agnelli had been working as a rock critic for Creem magazine under the pen name Trixie A. Balm.
Soon joined by Miriam Linna, drumming for the Cramps at the time and later, Jonathan Gildersleeve, Nervus Rex started to develop an up tempo pop sound focusing on driving surf guitar twang and danceable rhythms. In 1978 they released a single on Cleverly Named records named "Don't Look". Two years later Blondie producer Mike Chapman signed the band to the Dreamland label. Nervus Rex only released a single album on Dreamland, the 1980’s self titled “Nervus Rex”. The release met with little success and the band continued playing in clubs for several more years before breaking up in the early 80’s.
After the band's demise, Agnelli joined the Washington Squares, a new generation beat folkgroup who released several LP’s and earned a Grammy nomination. She went on to play with the Dave Rave Experience and sang on an album by Brave Combo. More recently she has enjoyed a solo career with a CD release in 2004.
Shaun Brighton (now Shawn Brighton) went on to form The Puppets, a band whose hit dance single "The Way of Life" on Canadian company Quality Records reached the #3 position on the Billboard Dance Chart, went to #1 on the regional New York charts, and fared even better in Canada. There are, in fact, at least six known different mixes of the song on vinyl and CD from various countries. The band toured briefly to major audiences but soon disbanded due to both internal disagreements and legal problems between the producers, Quality Records, and Shawn Brighton as to ownership issues.