Wax Trax! Records

Last updated
Wax Trax! Records
Waxtrax logo intro.png
FounderJim Nash
Dannie Flesher
GenreVarious
Country of originUnited States
Location Chicago, Illinois
Official website www.waxtraxchicago.com
www.waxtrax.com

Wax Trax! Records is an American independent record label based in Chicago. It began as a record shop in Denver, Colorado, opened by life partners Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, who sold the store in 1978 and moved to Chicago. In November of that year, they opened a store under the same name in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. [1] During the 1980s and 1990s, the accompanying record label became a presence on the new wave and punk rock scenes in the city, and an outlet for European bands. The label was purchased in 1992 by TVT Records and was discontinued in 2001. In 2014, it was re-established by Julia Nash, daughter of co-founder Jim Nash.

An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels; they are a type of small to medium-sized enterprise, or SME. The labels and artists are often represented by trade associations in their country or region, which in turn are represented by the international trade body, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN).

Chicago city and county seat of Cook County, Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,705,994 (2018), it is also the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the US, with portions of the northwest city limits extending into DuPage County near O'Hare Airport. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland. At nearly 10 million people, the metropolitan area is the third most populous in the nation.

Lincoln Park, Chicago Community area in Chicago

Lincoln Park is a designated community area on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois. Lying to the west of Lincoln Park, Chicago's largest park, it is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Chicago.

Contents

Richard Giraldi of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "As important as Chess Records was to blues and soul music, Chicago's Wax Trax imprint was just as significant to the punk rock, new wave and industrial genres." [2] According to critic Greg Kot, the legacy of Wax Trax is trusting the artist. [3]

Chess Records American record company, founded in 1950 in Chicago

Chess Records was an American record company, founded in 1950 in Chicago and specializing in blues and rhythm and blues. Over time it expanded into soul music, gospel music, early rock and roll, and occasional jazz and comedy recordings, released on the Chess label and on its subsidiary labels Checker, Argo/Cadet and Cadet Concept. The entire Chess catalogue is currently owned by Universal Music Group and managed by Geffen Records.

Greg Kot is an American writer, author and journalist. Since 1990, Kot has been the music critic at the Chicago Tribune, where he has covered popular music and reported on music-related social, political and business issues. Kot cohosts Sound Opinions which claims in its intro to be "the world's only rock 'n' roll talk show," nationally syndicated through its home base at Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ-FM 91.5.

Origins

The record store became a record label slowly at first, initially releasing limited edition records such as Brian Eno's "Wimoweh/Deadly Seven Finns" seven inch. [4] [5] The first official Wax Trax! release was Strike Under's Immediate Action twelve inch EP in 1980, [6] [7] followed by Divine's Born To Be Cheap seven inch. But it was the release of Cold Life by Ministry — along with the licensing of Front 242's Endless Riddance EP — that set the stage for Wax Trax! to become America's preeminent industrial label of the 1980s and 1990s.

Brian Eno English musician, composer, record producer and visual artist

Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, RDI is an English musician, record producer, visual artist, and theorist best known for his pioneering work in ambient music and contributions to rock, pop, and electronica. A self-described "non-musician", Eno has helped introduce unique conceptual approaches and recording techniques to contemporary music. He has been described as one of popular music's most influential and innovative figures.

Strike Under

Strike Under was an influential Chicago punk rock band of the early 1980s. It was started by Steve Bjorklund after the demise of The Rabbits. The principal musicians, besides Bjorklund, were his brother Chris (guitar), Pierre Kezdy (bass), and Bob Furem (drums).

Ministry (band) American industrial metal band

Ministry is an American industrial metal band founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry's sound changed as they became one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the late 1980s. The band's lineup has frequently changed throughout its history, with the exception of Jourgensen who is the band's main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include vocalists Nivek Ogre, Chris Connelly and Burton C. Bell, guitarists Mike Scaccia and Tommy Victor, bassists Paul Barker, Paul Raven, Jason Christopher, Tony Campos and Paul D'Amour, drummers Bill Rieflin, Martin Atkins, Rey Washam and Roy Mayorga, keyboardist John Bechdel, and rappers and producers DJ Swamp and Arabian Prince.

Artists

Among the most noteworthy artists released by Wax Trax! were Minimal Compact (Next One Is Real), Front 242 (including Jean-Luc De Meyer side project C-Tec), KMFDM, PIG, VNV Nation, Underworld, Meat Beat Manifesto, Front Line Assembly, Young Gods, Sister Machine Gun, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Coil, Chris & Cosey, Chris Connelly, Die Warzau, In the Nursery, Controlled Bleeding, The KLF, Braindead Soundmachine, Cubanate and Laibach. The label also released a bevy of side projects by Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker of Ministry, including Revolting Cocks, Acid Horse (a collaboration with Cabaret Voltaire), Pailhead (a collaboration with Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat), PTP (short for "Programming The Psychodrill"), Lead into Gold (a solo vehicle for Barker), and 1000 Homo DJs.

Minimal Compact

Minimal Compact was an Israeli rock band associated with the post-punk and indie rock movement of the 1980s.

Front 242 Belgian electronic music group

Front 242 is a Belgian electronic music group that came into prominence during the 1980s. Pioneering the style they called electronic body music, they were a profound influence on the electronic and industrial music genres.

Jean-Luc De Meyer is a vocalist and lyricist who is best known as the lead vocalist of the Belgian EBM group Front 242.

Partnerships

Nash and Flesher licensed a number of recordings from Play It Again Sam of Belgium, and eventually opened a North American office for the label (dubbed Play It Again Sam Records U.S.A.) as a division of Wax Trax!. Play It Again Sam, in turn, oversaw the operation of Wax Trax! Europe, although it closed abruptly when the relationship between the labels ended acrimoniously in the early 1990s. Play It Again Sam U.S.A. was subsequently absorbed by Caroline Records.

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 km2 (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Bankruptcy and purchase

Following a bankruptcy filing, Wax Trax! was bought by New York-based TVT Records in 1992, with Nash and Flesher retaining creative control of the label. TVT continued to use the Wax Trax! imprint for years, even after Nash's death from AIDS-related complications on October 10, 1995. [8] [9] [10]

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

TVT Records American record label

TVT Records was an American record label founded by Steve Gottlieb. Over the course of its 23-year history, the label released some 25 Gold, Platinum and Multi-platinum releases. Its roster included Nine Inch Nails, Ja Rule, Lil Jon, Underworld, KMFDM, Gravity Kills, The KLF, The Baldwin Brothers, Sevendust, Nothingface, the Wellwater Conspiracy, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Holloways, The Cinematics, Buck-O-Nine, DJ Hurricane, Speech and Pitbull. Its biggest commercial successes were the triple platinum Nine Inch Nails's Pretty Hate Machine, two double platinum releases by Lil Jon, and platinum releases by Snoop Dogg and Tha Eastsidaz, Dashboard Confessional, Default and Ying Yang Twins as well as gold releases by Sevendust, Gravity Kills and The Black Crowes and Jimmy Page. Additionally, TVT also had success overseas, achieving a gold release in Germany and Sweden with The Connells and scored platinum and gold records in Canada with Default.

In 1994 TVT released Black Box - Wax Trax! Records: The First 13 Years under the Wax Trax! label. It was a 3-CD box set compilation of the label's biggest hits. However, due to licensing issues stemming from the label's bankruptcy, the set did not contain any material by Front 242, even though the band's single "Headhunter" had been the label's best-selling record to date. A video compilation of the same name was also released, containing music videos by label artists (and likewise omitting Front 242's "Headhunter" video.)

TVT closed the label's doors in 2001, with the final Wax Trax! imprint appearing on KMFDM's Beat By Beat By Beat DVD. [11] Dannie Flesher retired from the music business and subsequently died of pneumonia on Sunday, January 10, 2010, in Hope, Arkansas. He was 58. [12] Mr. Nash is survived by his two children, Julia and Aaron Nash. [8] [9] [10] Julia Nash owns and maintains the website titled "WaxTraxChicago.com: The Official Family Site dedicated to the memory of Jim Nash / Dannie Flesher and the History of & Wax Trax! Records." [13]

Retrospectacle

On January 10, 2011 WaxTraxChicago.com announced “Wax Trax! Records Retrospectacle Comes to Metro.” [14] The Retrospectacle was the 33 & 1/3 year Wax Trax! Records Anniversary commemorative concert with proceeds that benefited the non-profit “Center on Halsted;” hosted by “The Nash Group 2449 (The Nash family and friends including Metro Chicago’s owner Joe Shanahan)” on April 15, 16 and 17th, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois; with performances by former Wax Trax! Artists: Front 242, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult; Luc van Acker, Paul Barker, and Chris Connelly formerly of Revolting Cocks with special guest Jamie Duffy; and En Esch, Günter Schulz, Raymond Watts formerly of KMFDM; additional artists included Rights of the Accused, as well as Chicago DJ's and VJ's. [13] [15]

Notably not included in the event were Ministry's Al Jourgensen and KMFDM's Sascha Konietzko, who issued a joint statement, saying:

"Jourgensen was never asked to participate, and Sascha Konietzko's (and KMFDM's) desire to participate and perform was declined by the event organizers. However, while we are both in no way associated with this event, we want to make it clear that we do support the good works of the charity involved and honor the memory of Wax Trax! founders Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher." [16]

Rebirth

Front side of card promoting the Wax Trax! pop-up store on June 15, 2014, at the Metro Theater in Chicago, IL Wax Trax! Popup store card face.jpg
Front side of card promoting the Wax Trax! pop-up store on June 15, 2014, at the Metro Theater in Chicago, IL

In mid-June 2014, Jim Nash's daughter Julia Nash reopened Wax Trax! Records with the release of a 12-inch single from Cocksure. This was followed shortly afterward with the release of a 7-inch single for Front 242 to mark the band's 30th anniversary in the US.

This was accompanied by a pop-up store at the Metro Chicago music venue on June 15, 2014.






Discography

See also

Related Research Articles

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My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult is an American electronic industrial rock band originally based in Chicago, Illinois and founded by Groovie Mann and Buzz McCoy. They became known in the 1980s as pioneers of the industrial music genre – although by the early 1990s they had changed to a more disco-oriented sound – and as a frequent target of censorship groups, including the PMRC, which objected to the band's humorous and satirical references to Satan, Jesus and sex in their song lyrics and stage shows.

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Revolting Cocks band

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<i>Angst</i> (KMFDM album) 1993 studio album by KMFDM

Angst is the seventh studio album by German industrial band KMFDM, released on 13 October 1993 by Wax Trax! Records.

<i>Xtort</i> 1996 studio album by KMFDM

Xtort is the ninth studio album by German industrial band KMFDM, released on 25 June 1996 by Wax Trax! Records. It was recorded from the end of 1995 through early 1996, shortly after the death of Wax Trax! co-founder and band friend Jim Nash. Xtort features a variety of guest artists from the industrial music scene and studio musicians from other genres, but includes limited participation from core member En Esch.

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<i>Black Box – Wax Trax! Records: The First 13 Years</i> 1994 box set by Various

Black Box – Wax Trax! Records: The First 13 Years is a box set album compiling songs released on Wax Trax! Records between 1980 and 1993. Black Box commemorates Wax Trax!'s output as an independent record label prior to its purchase by TVT Records. In particular, Black Box celebrates Wax Trax!'s place as the seminal American industrial label, featuring acts such as Ministry, KMFDM, Meat Beat Manifesto, Coil, Laibach, and many others.

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"All Day" and "(Every Day Is) Halloween" are songs by American band Ministry, both written and produced by Al Jourgensen. These were originally released by Wax Trax! Records in 1984 as Ministry's “comeback” single following their departure from Arista Records, with "All Day" on the A-side and "(Every Day Is) Halloween" on the B-side, respectively. In 1987, these were included on Ministry's compilation Twelve Inch Singles (1981–1984). The remixed version of "All Day", titled “All Day Remix”, was featured on Ministry's 1986 album Twitch. “(Every Day Is) Halloween” has been featured in the 1998 Rhino Records compilation Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Halloween.

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Power (KMFDM song) KMFDM song

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Cold Life 1981 song performed by Ministry

"I’m Falling" and "Cold Life" are songs by American rock band Ministry. Written by Al Jourgensen, these were first released in 1981 by Wax Trax! Records, as the band's debut single. Initially featuring "I'm Falling" as the A-side, the single found success via its B-side, "Cold Life", which was chosen as the A-side on release in the UK. In 1985, during Ministry's short-lived return on Wax Trax!, the single was reissued with "Cold Life" as the A-side.

References

  1. Roti, Jessi. "Wax Trax! Records' pioneering LGBTQ history is explored in new 'Industrial Accident' documentary". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019-04-14.
  2. Giraldi, Richard (April 17, 2011). "Wax Trax Records long gone, but pulse of its music is strong". Chicago Sun-Times . pp. 21A. Archived from the original on October 10, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2011.
  3. Kot, Greg. "Wax Trax! Records radical legacy: Trust the artists". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019-04-14.
  4. Nash, Julia. "HISTORY-1979". waxtraxchicago.com. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  5. " ENO – Lion Sleeps Tonite (Wimoweh)/Seven Deadly Fins " at Discogs
  6. Wax Trax! Records discography at Discogs
  7. Weld, Henry. "Punk Rock In Illinois". CollectorScum.com. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  8. 1 2 Wyman, Bill (October 27, 1995). "The Ballad of Jim and Dannie - Wax Trax' Jim Nash/RIP". Chicago Reader . Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  9. 1 2 Sachs, Lloyd (October 12, 1995). "Jim Nash, Co-Founder Of Wax Trax! Records". Chicago Sun-Times . p. 64. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  10. 1 2 Miller Rosenblum, Trudi (October 21, 1995). "Jim Nash Dies at 47; Founder of Wax Trax!". Billboard . Vol. 107 no. 42. p. 10. Retrieved October 6, 2018 via Google Books.
  11. KMFDM – Beat By Beat By Beat, on Discogs , retrieved May 9, 2011
  12. Marlowe, Sam. "Theater Loop: Chicago Theater News, Reviews & More - chicagotribune.com". Leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  13. 1 2 Nash, Julia, WaxTraxChicago.com: The Official Jim Nash, Dannie Flesher, & Wax Trax! Historical Site , retrieved March 24, 2011
  14. Nash, Julia, Wax Trax! Records Retropectacle Comes to Metro April 15 & 16, 2011 , retrieved March 24, 2011
  15. Conner, Thomas (April 14, 2011). "Wax Trax! Records' ongoing influence celebrated at Metro". Chicago Sun-Times . pp. 13–14 (Weekend). Archived from the original on October 10, 2012. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  16. Conner, Thomas (April 14, 2011). "Where's Al Jourgensen?". Chicago Sun-Times . pp. 13–14 (Weekend). Archived from the original on October 10, 2012. Retrieved April 15, 2011.

Bibliography