WAX TRAX! RECORDS was a huge part of Chicago Industiral/Alternative music history. Both the record label and the store on Lincoln Ave. were legendary institutions and significant to the city's underground culture. One thing Wax Trax! isn't often given credit for is it's impact on young gay people trying to find an identity apart from the mainstream LGBT culture.
For National Coming Out Day, DJ Greg Haus recounted his personal story on Facebook...
"I can thank Wax Trax! Records, along with bands like My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Skinny Puppy for my coming out story. Back when I was in college, I was depressed and distant for an entire summer due to being dumped by my first boyfriend. I looked far more punk/goth/industrial or whatever you want to call it at the time than I do now. I was alone in the car with my mom and dad, traveling on 90/94 to Ann Arbor to visit my aunt and uncle. Not long after we crossed the Michigan border, my parents started questioning me about my music, style of dress, and depressed state. Apparently they had seen an episode of Oprah that said these things were warning signs of something darker.
As the conversation progressed, they asked me point blank "Are you in a Satanic cult?" Naturally, I was shocked by this suggestion. I started crying and without even thinking I said something like "No, I've just been upset because I was dumped by my boyfriend"... I felt the car swerve and swear I thought my Dad was going to drive off the road going 75mph.
I truly believe that Wax Trax! being owned by a gay couple (Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher), and all of the out, queer, and gender non-conforming artists like TKK, Coil, etc. populating the label I loved made me feel comfortable with my sexuality in a way that mainstream LGBT culture simply couldn't at the time. If it wasn't for that, I might not have had the strength to be honest about myself with my parents until years later. Jim and Dannie were out, but their "gayness" didn't define them. It was just a fact of life, which is the way it should be. It's part of the reason the music and the store have such profound, personal meaning for me. Even now I work in a creative environment and still gravitate towards modern music and art that can inspire the next generation of queer weirdos to feel like they have a community when the mainstream might not speak to them. Thanks, Wax Trax Chicago for being this gay boy's icon of hope, even if you never wanted to be." - GH
(NOTE: Greg is pictured above during the same year as this story with the band Front Line Asseembly)
Berlin Nightclub also has a rich history with Wax Trax!, hosting release parties and special events back in the day. Former Berlin DJ/VJ Dion Labriola also created the stop motion animation/live action music video for My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult's classic track "Kooler Than Jesus". It was produced for a $1000 budget. Check it out below...
For the past decade, Greg Haus & Jena Max have been hosting a seasonal series of Wax Trax! Records nights, keeping the history alive for new generations. Earlier this year, Richard and Patrick of Front 242 joined them in the booth for their 10th Anniversary celebration & pre-party for the test screening of the upcoming documentary "Industrial Accident: The Story Of Wax Trax! Records"
You can join us for the fall edition of Wax Trax! Night this Friday, October 13th 9pm-2am, followed by #CosmixFridays multimedia dance party until 4am. We'll also be featuring at TKK artist feature tribute set from 9pm-11pm.
For more info on the label, store, and history, visit www.WaxTraxChicago.com
*Feel free to SHARE this post! :)