Events

House of Vans Hosts Panel for ‘Industrial Accident’ Film Release and Record Store Day

Donovan Powell | The PhoenixJulie Nash, second from right, revitalized Wax Trax! Records after it was discontinued in 2001. Nash was one of the panelists at the House of Vans event.

Store owners and recording artists from the Chicago record store scene sat on a panel at the House of Vans (113 N. Elizabeth Street) Feb. 28 to build excitement around Record Store Day and the soundtrack release for their film “Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records”.

The way young people enjoy music has changed drastically since the days of aimlessly wandering record stores, but the holiday is dedicated to celebrating record stores and their role in the music community.  

Wax Trax! is an independent record label and store that’s been based in Chicago since 1978 when it moved from Colorado. The label gained so much influence that Julia Nash, the owners’ daughter, went on to re-establish the label after it discontinued in 2001.

It’s the subject of the film “Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records,” a documentary released September 22, 2018 honoring the label’s role in Chicago’s underground music scene.

On Record Store Day, the soundtrack for the film “Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records” will be released alongside its DVD. It features a bevy of unreleased music from bands and artists who were part of the Wax Trax! Label, such as Ministry and Revolting Cocks, to accompany the documentary film that pays homage to its heyday.

Panelists included record store owners such as Nash and Rick Wojcik who owns Dusty Groove Records, as well as Paul Barker and Chris Connelly both of whom formerly toured as part of the band Ministry.

“We all grew up, for the most part, in record stores,” said Nik Carter of SiriusXM’s “Feedback.” “They were, for want of a better word, the town hall, they were meeting places. Now you have social media. Everybody got along and you made new friends, met lovers, bands formed in record stores. We don’t really have that on any large scale anymore.”  

Record stores are still standing their ground despite the generational shift towards online music consumption.

“Ten years ago, we didn’t have teenagers coming in the way we did now,” Wojcik said. “One of the things that started with Record Store Day is we started seeing people lining up. I think the audience for this movement is a lot stronger than it would be ten years ago.”

The panel also talked about Chicago’s influence in the 1980s record label scene. Artists, including Connelly when he first came to America, were surprised to hear their band’s singles being played at clubs in Chicago.

“In the film, the retrospect really brought home to you how big of a deal it was,” Connelly said. “I’m finding out now some of the people who my music felt something to them.”

Wax Trax!’s position as a label earned it a cult following, which is why the documentary is so important to those who lived in the 80s and who appreciate the industrial and punk rock music scene.  

“Some labels become cults of personality, like artists themselves, whether it be Motown or Stax or Def Jam, you would just go and buy [albums] from the label,” Carter said. “You would buy it just because you knew it was probably something you were gonna buy because it’s on the label.”

While record stores may be seen as relics of a bygone era due to popular stores closing in cities like New York and Los Angeles, they’re still a living, breathing organism of the music industry today.

“People have been forecasting the death of the music business for ten years, but every year we get these stats about how music is selling more than ever, even though CDs are being phased out, Apple’s stopping selling MP3s, et cetera,” Wojcik said. “So there’s still a market.

“Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records” will be released April 13. This event will kick off the multi-city “Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records” experience. Events at House of Vans are free to attend with RSVP and entry is first come, first serve. RSVP details are soon to come on www.vans.com/houseofvans. More information can be found at www.waxtraxfilms.com.

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