The Story Behind Wax Trax Records

Wax Trax! Records was an influential American independent record label that helped elevate underground new wave, punk, techno, and industrial music acts. The brand grew out of a few underground record stores then became a legendary record label, as documented in the film INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: The Story of Wax Trax! Records. Some of the recording acts associated with the label include Ministry, Front 242, KLF, KMFDM, Underworld, Front Line Assembly, and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.

From Record Store to Label

The label’s roots trace back to 1975 when founders Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher launched a record shop called Wax Trax Records in Denver. Three years later they opened another store in Chicago that featured European imports along with underground music. The stores thrived throughout the seventies, eighties, and nineties. 

These stores helped promote British acts that didn’t get much exposure otherwise in the United States. The Wax Trax stores became important local scene hangouts that helped expose countless underground punk bands and new wave acts experimenting with new electronic instruments.

Early Success with Ministry

After Jim and Dannie relocated to Chicago in 1978, they formed the record label that took the same name as their stores except added an exclamation mark. Some of the early bands they signed included Strange Circuits, Strike Under and Divine. In 1981 the label released Ministry’s debut single “Cold Life” after the band’s founder Al Jourgensen met Jim and Dannie. Initially, they suggested he play guitar for their band Divine, but then Jourgensen decided to make and submit his own demo and call it Ministry.

Ministry started as a synth-pop project based around Jourgensen’s experimentation with new electronic sounds. The band steadily evolved toward a harder, more industrial sound. They went on to sign briefly with Arista Records for their debut album With Sympathy in 1983. Then Ministry released several more singles for Wax Trax! Records including the legendary club hit “Every Day Is Halloween” in 1984. The following year Ministry signed with Sire and released a string of commercially successful albums.

Mastering the Club Sound

Wax Trax! Records had its most success in the eighties marketing 12 inch singles of cutting edge electronic artists. Jourgensen, who worked for the label, encouraged the signing of the Belgian electronic act Front 242 in 1984. Front 242 then supported Ministry on their American tour as the opening act. A few years later Front 242 signed with European label Red Rhino then supported Depeche Mode in 1987 while maintaining its relationship with Wax Trax! Records. The band’s first club hit was “Headhunter” in 1988 from the label’s all-time top-selling album, Front By Front.

Other acts signed to the label in the early to mid-eighties included The Blackouts, Minimal Compact, Revolting Cocks, Wiseblood, Coil, Luc Van Acker, and The Young Gods. By the late eighties, acts that joined the roster included Fini Tribe, Front Line Assembly, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, PIG, KMFDM, and Meat Beat Manifesto. In the nineties, the label signed Sister Machine Gun, Braindead Soundmachine, Excessive Force, Black Dog Productions, and Psykosonik.

These bands cultured small groups of die-hard fans that were quite distinguished from the pack with colorful and aggressive hair styles, colorful and geometric clothing styles, and sobriety outlooks ranging from straight-edge to exotic substance use. As much of the scene involved hanging around venues before and after the shows, this culture even trickled down to the pets that fans would bring along with them. Heck, they were likely pioneers in the realm of treating their dogs to cannabis products, which seems to have finally caught on with the main-stream world of late.

Bankruptcy and Rebirth

Wax Trax! Records filed bankruptcy in 1992 and were acquired by New York-based TVT Records, as Jim and Dannie held on to creative control of the label. After Jim Nash’s death in 1995 TVT continued to keep the Wax Trax! brand alive until TVT shut down in 2001. Dannie Flesher passed away in 2010. Julia Nash gave the Wax Trax brand a new life as a Chicago pop-up shop in 2014.

2018 Documentary Film 

In 2018 the documentary film INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: The Story of Wax Trax! Records were released, chronicling the label’s history. It was recognized by various film festivals across America including in Chicago, Seattle, Denver, Nashville, and Santa Cruz. The 94-minute film was directed by Jim’s daughter Julia and Trent Reznor composed the music.

How Johnny Ramone Became A Punk Rock Legend

Johnny Ramone (1948-2004) was a founding member of the American punk band The Ramones and helped bring a more rhythmic and pulsating guitar sound to punk music. The band was formed in 1974 and remained together through 1996. Here are some key highlights that defined the career of Johnny Ramone.

Rise to National Prominence

The Ramones formed in New York City at a time when the music scene was about to change. The energy crisis caused petroleum-based companies such as record labels to tighten their spending. Consequently, major labels resisted signing new acts and relied on established artists during this period. Most punk bands started on indie labels, whereas The Ramones were signed in 1975 to Sire Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group. 

The band’s name was inspired by Paul McCartney, who said he used to book hotel rooms under the name “Paul Ramon” in the Beatles era. Each of the band members adopted the last name, Ramone, although none were directly related to each other. 

Johnny Ramone was born John William Cummings. His autobiography called Commando was released in 2012, eight years after his death. His love for underground bands like The Stooges and MC5 drove him from plumbing to music and connected him with bandmates Douglas Colvin, who became Dee Dee Ramone, then singer Jeffrey Hyman, who became Joey Ramone. The band added drummer Tamas Erdelyi, who became Tommy Ramone.

The band’s self-titled debut album was released in April 1976 after it was recorded a few months earlier. It contained the single “Blitzkreig Bop,” which became one of their staple songs with fans. It kicked off a long string of hits that became familiar with audiences that listened to modern rock or alternative stations in the 1980s and 1990s. The band’s most well-known songs include “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Rock and Roll High School.”

Historical Significance

One of the reasons The Ramones stood out from other punk bands and were more commercially successful was due to their polished sound. The band kept the production basic without fancy studio tricks even when working with “wall of sound” producer Phil Spector. Certainly, the hooky melodies helped make the songs memorable, along with occasional controversial lyrics such as “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg.”

The interesting political contrast within the band is another nuance that makes them unique. Most rock bands distance themselves from conservative views and politics completely, whereas The Ramones gave voices to both sides of the political spectrum. While Joey Ramone voiced a left-leaning position, Johnny leaned to the right, telling the press he thought Reagan was the best president of his lifetime. When inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, he said “God bless President Bush.”

At one point Johnny Ramone even claimed that punk was a åright-wing movement, although many prominent rock historians disagree. Johnny was known for reckless behavior in his younger days, but by age 20 he stopped drinking and taking drugs. Even so, the guitarist suffered a near-fatal injury from a fight in 1983 that required brain surgery. This incident was reflected in the band’s next album title, Too Tough To Die.

Personal Life

In 1984 Johnny married bandmate Joey’s ex-girlfriend, Linda Danielle, who took the name Ramone. Some people believe this relationship put a strain on Johnny and Joey’s friendship. But when Joey died in 2001, it had a profound effect on him, he said in the 2003 documentary End of the Century. Johnny died in 2004 after a five-year battle with prostate cancer.

A Bio Of Ska-Punk Band Kill Lincoln

It would not be that hard to find a bio of the ska-punk band Kill Lincoln because of how popular they are. They have six members all playing different instruments. They have a lot of musical inspiration and they make music by blending in their own style of music. This year, they are proud to bring back ska music like never before. This genre was popular before then the bands that played them started to dissolve. It looks like this band is here to stay because it is one of those things that you would want to happen during the time of quarantine. Yes, we want to hear as much good news as possible. Based in DC, when you attend a Kill Lincoln show, you can expect mayhem to ensue and that is what makes it so fun to watch. There will be moshing pits and various band members doing stage dives so audience members must be prepared for what is sure to be a fun night. That is not even mentioning the fact that they are going to be playing all of their hit songs to their most loyal fans. They are going to make you relive those glory days of attending shows where you are all wet because of all the things that are going on and it would be hard to keep track of every single one of them. The important thing is that you are having fun and that is what Kill Lincoln is here to provide. Yes, it is non-stop entertainment like no other.

They have released a new single titled ‘Can’t Complain’ which is what ska fans right now should be since they have a new single. The last one was five years ago and it seems like a very long time. They made the music video during the time of quarantine and they did not mind doing it. They did every safety guideline possible and the end result is something they are very proud of. Of course, they would love to perform the song in front of a live crowd but we don’t really know when live concerts can resume again because of the pandemic. They have been making nice ska music since 2009 and the band just keeps on getting stronger. When you hear their sound, it is like you were transformed back to the 1990s. Some would argue that it was the best decade for music with talented bands popping up out of nowhere. It is no secret they were huge music fans during that age and they are not afraid to show it. They say they always wanted to produce something new for their fans who have been clamoring for more music from them. They can compete with 1990s ski bands and at the same time get something fresh out there. It is like a mix of different styles which is why today’s ska music topics would always go back to Kill Lincoln and they have gotten new fans.

A Brief Bio Of American Punk Rock Band Down by Law

Down by Law, initially formed in America, has only one original member currently, Dave Smalley; he is also the one that started the punk rock band in 1989. From the time the band was formed, it recorded its music at Epitaph Records but then switched labels in 1998. The band’s commercial success has been considerable; nonetheless, the band has been immensely influential, having recorded seven studio albums. By 2003, the band was recording and touring before they went on a break. After a few years in 2008, they came back to the scene to create new content and do a tour. The tour, meant for 2009, would have been the first after six years of missing in action.

The current members of the band are Dave Smalley, Sam Williams, Hunter Oswald, John DiMambro. They came together in Los Angeles, California, and the main genre they do is punk rock. The original members that Dave Smalley founded the band with include Dave Naz and Chriss Bagarozzi. Their first-ever album was called “Down By Law,” released in 1991. Brett Gurewitz, the founder of Epitaph Record, was the one that recorded both of their albums. The second studio album, called “Blue,” was recorded in 1992. The band split in 1993 after they finished touring and promoted their second album.

Bagarozzi, who played the guitar, was replaced by Sam Williams, Urlik, who dealt with the bass by Angry John Di Mambro, and Naz, who played drums, was replaced by Hunter Oswald. One of their best selling releases, Punkrockacademyfightsong was recorded by the new lineup and was released in 1994. A few of the songs like “Hit or Miss” got videos, and they managed to receive decent airplay from radio stations and MTV. Down by Law decided to do a tour that lasted for a year in an effort to promote their album. During the tour, they also supported some bands during their shows, including Pennywise, Burning Heads, NOFX, and the Vandals.

By 1997 the band had already worked on two more studio albums “All Scratched Up” in 1996 and “The Last of The Sharpshooters” in 1997. After recording the two albums, they left the record label they had been working with, Epitaph. After working with the record label for many years, they called it quits in 1998. Afterward, they briefly worked with another record label called “Go-Kart Records.” During that time, they released a new album, “Fly The Flag” and soon after, two band members, John Di Mambro and Chris Lagerborg, left the group. Unfortunately, after he departed from the band, Chris Lagerborg passed away in 2002 at 33.

It didn’t take long before the two members were replaced by Milo Todesco and Keith Davies, who took over on the drums and bass, respectively. Down by Law released yet another album in 2003, four years after their last one with the new members. This time they worked with Union 2112 Records, but the Windwardtidesandwaywardsails album wasn’t very successful. After the album failed, they went on a break again that year. The next time their fans heard from them was in 2008 after the band announced on their website that they’d be working on a new album. A year later, they went on another tour since the last one they’d done in 2003, performing in South America and America as well. In 2010 they did two shows in Florida and performed in the Netherlands as well.

Later on, in 2011, they signed up with DC Jam Records. They announced and released an album in 2012 called “Champions at Heart.” Consecutively in 2013, Down by Law also released “Revolution Time,” an album that had seven mini-tracks. Dave Smalley did some solo shows in 2015 and 2016, and in 2017 Oswald and Di Mambro joined the band again.