Via alumiere http://www.thedailyswarm.com/headlines/danny-flesher-wax-traxs-co-founder-dies/
January 14, 2010
Dannie Flesher, Wax Trax Co-Founder, RIP...
Read Full Story >
FORMER WAX TRAX! CO-FOUNDER DANNIE FLESHER PASSES AWAY
Former co-founder of Wax Trax! Records, Dannie Flesher passed away from complications with pneumonia Sunday evening. Flesher, 57, stepped away from the music industry in 1999 and retired in his home town of Hope, AR in 2005.
Flesher and long time partner Jim Nash, opened the Wax Trax Record store in Denver in 1974. Later relocating to Chicago in 1978, the store quickly became the headquarters for Chicago’s budding underground music scene. After years of releasing bootlegs and rarities, Flesher and Nash took their operation to a new level and the Wax Trax! Record label was born. The label pioneered the industrial music movement and was home to such acts as Front 242, Ministry, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Underworld, Sister Machine Gun, KFMDM, Revolting Cocks and many more influential artists.
In 1992, the label would file bankruptcy and be sold to New York based TVT Records. The two would retain creative control of the label until Nash’s passing in October of 1995. Flesher then continued to oversea label operations until the label folded in the late 90’s. Even though the label was no longer in existence, their impact on the music industry will be forever remembered.
No immediate services have been announced.
Greg Kot @ Chicago Tribune:
Their store, stocked with imported punk and electronic music, defined the cutting edge and was like the city’s island of misfit toys, where punks, freaks and outsiders gathered to buy music, advertise shows and plot their futures.
In the ‘80s, the store expanded into a label that became the world headquarters for boundary-pushing artists who bridged disco, electronic music, rock, and the avant-garde. Some dubbed the sound “industrial disco,” an umbrella term that included Ministry, Front 242, Underworld, KMFDM, and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, underground acts who went on to sell millions of records.
Whereas Nash was the flamboyant label spokesman and talent scout, Flesher was the quieter but no less important half of the franchise.
“Jim was the face of the label, but Dannie played a major role; he and Jim brainstormed everything together,” said Reid Hyams, whose Chicago Trax studio hosted countless recording sessions by Wax Trax artists, including legendary bacchanals overseen by Ministry’s Al Jourgensen.
Chris Connelly, one of the label’s key artists, was based in Scotland when he was invited by Jourgensen to participate in a Chicago recording session in 1986. “I had never been to America before, and Dannie came to get me at O’Hare,” he says. “He and Jim pretty much adopted me. Dannie was the rock with the aviator shades and a cool menthol-light cigarette hanging out of his mouth at all times. He had rock-solid info whenever you needed it. Amid all the craziness, a scene made up of complete flakes, he was the reliable one. To live with Jim that long, or to be involved with Trax, you had to bulldoze through.”
Connelly was struck by the modesty of the operation. “I thought every record label in America was in a high rise, but here they were in an apartment above their store, with stacks and stacks of records in the toilet,” he said. “I couldn’t believe the label was being run by two guys who would sit at 1 o’clock in the afternoon and drink a Scotch and smoke a big fat joint. But they had something people wanted, they had great taste in music, and for a while it just got bigger.”
In a 1991 interview with the Tribune, Nash laughed at the notion that he and Flesher were businessmen. “We’re in the business of chaos,” he said. But they had an ear for music that appealed to a large, vibrant audience that was largely ignored by the mainstream music business.
The duo’s cavalier attitude toward business eventually did them in. They never signed contracts with any of the bands they discovered, and ended up losing most of their artists to major labels. Wax Trax went bankrupt and folded in the mid-‘90s, but left behind a towering legacy.
“A lot of things opened up in this city thanks to Jim and Dannie,” Frankie Nardiello of Thrill Kill Kult once told the Tribune. “They brought a lot of culture and coolness, a whole bunch of punk glitter, to a place that really needed it.”