Wax Trax! Records

Wax Trax! Records
Founded 1980
Founder Jim Nash, Dannie Flesher
Status Purchased by TVT Records in 1992 after filing bankruptcy, reestablished in 2014
Genre Industrial, rock, electronic, experimental
Country of origin United States
Location Chicago, Illinois
Official website waxtraxchicago.bigcartel.com

Wax Trax! Records is an American independent record label. It began as a record shop in Denver, Colorado opened by Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher. They sold the store in 1978 and, in November of that year, opened a new one under the same name at 2449 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This store would become the center of the new wave, punk rock and industrial music scenes in Chicago.

"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." (Richard Giraldi, Chicago Sun-Times) [1]

The original label was purchased in 1992 by TVT Records, and subsequently discontinued in 2001. In 2014, it was re-established by Julia Nash (cofounder Jim Nash's daughter).


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.[2][3] The first official Wax Trax! release was Strike Under's Immediate Action twelve inch EP in 1980,[4][5] 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.


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 and members of Ministry), PTP (short for "Programming The Psychodrill"), Lead into Gold (a solo vehicle for Barker), and 1000 Homo DJs.


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.

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.[6][7][8]

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.)

When TVT closed the label's doors in 2001 with the final Wax Trax! imprint appearing on KMFDM's "Beat By Beat By Beat" DVD;[9] Dannie Flesher retired from the music business and subsequently died of pneumonia on Sunday, January 10, 2010, in Hope, Arkansas. He was 58.[10] Mr. Nash is survived by his two children, Julia and Aaron Nash.[6][7][8] 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."[11]


On January 10, 2011 WaxTraxChicago.com announced “Wax Trax! Records Retrospectacle Comes to Metro.”[12] 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.[11][13]

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." [14]


In mid-June 2014, Jim Nash's daughter Julia Nash reopened Wax Trax! Records with the release of a 12-inch single from Cocksure.[15] This was followed shortly afterward with the release of a 7-inch single for Front 242.

This was accompanied by a pop-up store in Chicago's Cabaret Metro music venue on June 15.


See also


  1. 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 April 17, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2011.
  2. Nash, Julia. "HISTORY-1979". waxtraxchicago.com. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  3. "ENO – Lion Sleeps Tonite (Wimoweh)/Seven Deadly Fins " at Discogs
  4. Wax Trax! Records discography at Discogs
  5. Weld, Henry. "Punk Rock In Illinois". CollectorScum.com. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  6. 1 2 Wyman, Bill (October 27, 1995). "The Ballad of Jim and Dannie - Wax Trax' Jim Nash/RIP". Chicago Reader. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  7. 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 October 12, 1995. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  8. 1 2 Miller Rosenblum, Trudi (October 21, 1995). "Jim Nash Dies at 47; Founder of Wax Trax!". Billboard (magazine). p. 10. Archived from the original on October 21, 1995. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  9. KMFDM – Beat By Beat By Beat, on Discogs, retrieved May 9, 2011
  10. Marlowe, Sam. "Theater Loop: Chicago Theater News, Reviews & More - chicagotribune.com". Leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  11. 1 2 Nash, Julia, WaxTraxChicago.com: The Official Jim Nash, Dannie Flesher, & Wax Trax! Historical Site, retrieved March 24, 2011
  12. Nash, Julia, Wax Trax! Records Retropectacle Comes to Metro April 15 & 16, 2011, retrieved March 24, 2011
  13. 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 April 15, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  14. Conner, Thomas (April 14, 2011). "Where's Al Jourgensen?". Chicago Sun-Times. pp. 13–14 (Weekend). Archived from the original on April 15, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  15. "Wax Trax! Records is back: Legendary label resurrected by co-founder's daughter — slicing up eyeballs // 80s alternative music, college rock, indie". Slicingupeyeballs.com. 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
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