As we at The Shit prepare to view a test screening of "Industrial Accident: The Untold Story of Wax Trax! Records" at The Vic on Saturday (general admission tickets still available), we've been doing what any normal person would do: revisiting our collection of Wax Trax! releases to reacquaint ourselves with the...
Ah, who are we kidding? We never stopped listening and know virtually every second of every Wax Trax! release by heart. Just because "industrial" would, by the early '90s, become incapable of more, more, MORE and the shop itself would close its doors after the passing of Jim Nash, the music remained potent long after the cast of characters drifted off to other climes.
The minute we hit DePaul University's Clifton Hall in the fall of '86, staying just long enough to hug the parents goodbye, drop off our shit, we immediately made a beeline for Wax Trax! and would ultimately spend every free hour basking in the shop's one-of-a-kind post-punk vibe.
Already a fan of Ministry's With Sympathy, we stayed with the band as Jourgensen disowned his the album and returned to Wax Trax!, where he issued singles "Everyday Is Halloween" and "All Day". While they may have been a departure from the likes of "I Wanted To Tell Her" or "Work For Love", neither single could have prepared anyone for what was to come.
Mere months before my own arrival in Chicago, Twitch dropped like an atom bomb. setting fire to pop conventions and distancing itself from With Sympathy through sheer aggression.
Instead of hopping on a bandwagon, as he'd done on With Sympathy, Jourgensen had created his own, but not before going to England to pick the brain of dub pioneer Adrian Sherwood. Jourgensen returned to Chicago with some new studio tricks up his sleeve and a finished album that would ultimately define an aggressive new genre of electronic dance music known as "industrial".
While Ministry remained signed to Sire/Warner, Jourgensen and Barker's many side projects found a home, and worldwide audience, via Wax Trax! Records. They, along with Front 242, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, KMFDM, Pig, Front Line Assembly and A Certain Ratio made Wax Trax! THE #1 source for all things industrial.
Like most every other rock-based genre at the time, grunge cut into industrial music's market share. As if that weren't bad enough, Ministry had become a thrash band, RevCo were now lampooning Rod Stewart, and Front 242 had moved to Epic. Meanwhile, the second wave of industrial acts were a gaggle of aggro-poseurs virutally indistinguishable from one another.
By then, bankruptcy proceedings led to the label being sold to, who else, TVT Records (initial home of Ministry rip-off Nine Inch Nails) in 1992 while the store vacated its legendary location at 2449 N. Lincoln Avenue, at which point whatever sense of a scene had long since dissipated.
With the passage of time, all musical movements become fodder for nostalgic glances in the rear view mirror and Wax Trax! is no different. A documentary like "Industrial Accident" was bound to happen at some point, it's just incredibly sad that the two men whose story it tells, Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, are not alive to see the lasting impression their musical vision left in Chicago and around the world.
April 1: A Special Wax Trax! Event with Artists, Staff and Family Discussing the History of the Chicago Store, Label, and Music Presented in the Upcoming Wax Trax! Documentary
Documentary Test Screening: 2:30p
Panel Session and Q&A: 4:30p
Panel includes: Jello Biafra (LARD), Groovie Mann (TKK), Buzz McCoy (TKK), Steve Knutson (Wax Trax Denver), Andy Wombwell (Wax Trax), Larry Crandus (Wax Trax), Julia Nash (Wax Trax)
Documentary Test Screening: 8:30p
Panel Session and Q&A: 10:30p
Panel includes: Richard 23 (Front 242), Patrick Codenys (Front 242), Paul Barker (Lead Into Gold), Chris Connelly (X-Revolting Cocks), Sean Joyce (Wax Trax)
The Vic Theatre
3145 N. Sheffield, Chicago, Illinois