Posted January 10, 2011 by admin
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What’s the deal with the corner cut records.?
Any chance of ever seeing “You Goddamn Son of a Bitch” on DVD?
Truly unique in every aspect. I am grateful and proud to have been involved with WaxTrax from my job as a dj/show promoter in the 80’s to getting signed to the label. Jim and Danny were the best as well as the staff and all of the artists on the label, a real family environment ( a sick inbred family ). WaxTrax Records Chicago, Ill. SALUTE!!
I was in high school during Wax Trax!’s heyday and got hooked after hearing several tracks on WVUR, Valparaiso University’s radio station, on the Friday night “alternative” show. Sadly, I never made it to the store, but I did order several cassettes through the (paper) catalog. Yes, kids, before the internet. We’re old.
Wax Trax! Records, in my opinion, was and will forever be the greatest independent record label. Not just for the rooster of artists on the label but for going against the whole standard of practice for the industry, forming the close relationships they had with the artists, the store that was as much of a landmark as the lable itself (Richard Branson take notes); all of it. Sure the label didn’t last forever but like anything great it didn’t just make a splash, it made a fuckin crater!
My first memory of Wax Trax! was when I was 6 or 7 years old and my cousin Patrick came back to our small assbackwards podunk town in North Carolina from a trip to a Chicago with treasures of music and art that he acquired at the store. He picked up RevCo’s ‘You Goddamn Son of a Bitch’ and 1000 Homo DJs’ ‘Supernaut’ along with a few other goodies (I only remember those cause he passed them on to me when he grew out of that phase). I had the great fortune of one day walking into his room to play Nintendo hearing ‘Supernaut’ playing rather loudly and immediately being hooked, demanding he play the song over and over for months afterwards. After that, I memorized every piece of music he played associated with Wax Trax!; the bands, the albums, the artwork on the covers, the logos, lyrics, names, literally everything, waiting for the day I could have these amazing things of sonic brutality that both distrubed me and yet had me addicted like a crack fiend for my own. That was in late ’89, early 1990.
It wasn’t until almost 5 years later did I get to make my own trip to Chicago (I believe it was ’94) and immediately heading straight to Wax Trax! once the plane had landed. I still remember feeling like I was in a club that only the coolest kids knew about and you like needed a secret password or handshake to get in when I went inside the store. I remember thinking that there wasn’t enough time in the world for me to fully soak in and absorb all that I saw in the store. But nonetheless I went up and down every aisle immediately grabbing anything that caught my eye and going to the counter with probably the biggest smile on my face plopping down all my vacation money in a matter of minutes. Once the sale was completed I threw on my newly acquired Wax Trax! Records tshirt (the black one with the white power lines logo) that came down to my knees it was so big (being 13 at the time) , walked out of the store to my awaiting mother with pride just radiating from me only to get the beating of a lifetime for blowing all my money. Kind of funny that now when she and I talk about that trip she often comments that it was when of her fondest memories of my childhood cause for the rest of the trip, no matter what happened, I wouldn’t stop smiling.
I spent the years following playing the music I purchased at the store that day for anyone I met who hadn’t heard of Ministry or Thrill Kill Kult or Front 242 or any other Wax Trax! alum thinking that albums possessed some sort of superpower that would instantly turn the listener into a rabid fan like me. And often times it did. The few times it didn’t I just played it off to the person having poor taste or no taste at all and forever refused to listen to anything they recommended as though their suggestions of new music were little pieces of the plague coming to infect me with their bad taste. I wore my Wax Trax! shirt religiously to every concert I went to after I got it and even began acquiring any that I came across in a second hand store (you’d be surprised at how many I’ve found here) or on an auction for eBay. To this day I still wear a Wax Trax! shirt to any concert I attend and try to get my original one filled up with autographs from members of the bands on the label. So far it doesn’t have many (KMFDM members to be precise) but I still haul it out when I attend a show just in case.
Alas I will unfortunately not be able to attend this grand event as much as I wish I could. After exploring every possibility, including organ donation, it’s just not going to be a financial possibility unfortunately. I’m hoping something like this won’t just be a one time thing but something of a regular event in the vein of Lollapalooza. The fact that Julia is still carrying on the torch so to speak is not only inspiring but beautifully hopeful. But just in case that doesn’t happen at least I know I got to experience and enjoy some of the amazing music Wax Trax! brought to life. For that, I’m forever grateful to Jim and Dannie as well as the bands/musicians they helped bring to masses. May they rest peacefully and the music live eternally.
Wax Trax! tourist 1994
Wax Trax,,,,,,,,,,,,,Thx 4 all da GR8 memoroirs iwove dis label so mush pleaze put me on your discorghagy
For me, Wax Trax! Records and Medusa’s Niteclub / juicebar shall always be intertwined. Very fond memories of both places back in the late 80′s.
I lived in the northern suburbs (North Shore area of Chicago) and whenever I made a trek downtown via the Metra commuter train, Wax Trax! Records at 2449 North Lincoln Avenue was on my itinerary to do for the day / night.
First exposed to Front 242 / Laibach / The Young Gods via the video room on the uppermost floor of Medusa’s back in the Summer of 1987 … the video for Front 242′s “Quite Unusual” is what hooked me. Never saw or heard anything like it before. Same goes for Laibach’s “Life Is Life” video. Just knew that I wanted more and knew that I had finally found music that I could call “my own”.
Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher were instrumental in putting the city of Chicago on the map as the “Ground Zero Point” for Industrial Dance music. Period. No questions asked. These guys had the ears and the vision to spot talent that not only they enjoyed, but first and foremost, what other people would enjoy (and listen to / dance to / buy / promote via t-shirts / patronize at live gigs / etc.).
I always got a kick out of spotting the classic yellow and red logo Wax Trax! Records merchandise bags whenever I was out and about downtown. You just knew that that person or persons were “in the know” about good underground music.
Northwestern University’s 89.3 FM WNUR radio station also played an important role in promoting the Wax Trax! label as well. Many a night did I tune in to either request a specific band or track, or to hear something new that the DJ’s had just picked up at Wax Trax! for further airplay to the masses.
My fondest memory whilst listening to the WNUR station pertains to Front 242′s release of “Headhunter” (off of the highest selling Wax Trax! Records album “Front By Front”). I remember the DJ’s mentioning that they had obtained something rather unique earlier in the week via the Wax Trax! label and as they built up the suspense level prior to playing the track, I had no idea of what to expect.
Then it became so. It finally went out over the airwaves of Chicago and into the homes / cars / headphone radios of fellow Wax Trax! devotees and WNUR listeners.
The opening chords and beats of “Headhunter” went live. When I heard it, I just knew … knew in my heart … that THIS was gonna go very, very, very BIG. This track was going to put Front 242 on the worldwide dancefloor hot list. It was akin to a shot heard around the world. And indeed, the world did hear it … all because of the work of two guys from the Midwest who had a fondness for Industrial Music, a special relationship with the bands on their label, the customers who patronized their store, and others who traveled / danced in this life to “a different beat” so to speak.
A special nod / shout out to Julia Nash for all of her hard work and vision in keeping the Wax Trax! spirit alive and in using her business acumen in which to bring this 33 1/3rd “Retrospectacle” to fruition. Sadly, I will not be able to attend (I am on the other side of the country), but would kill to be there for this gig.
Do enjoy everyone. Most certainly Jim and Dannie would have wanted you to do so.
Wax Trax! alumni 1991
I love you guys. That’s all I can say.
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