Kingblind Loves (Touch & Go Records)
In our new series “Kingblind Loves” We feature a new record label that we love. We will be spanning the globe covering many labels both large and small, Some you have heard of… Some will be brand new to you. But that’s the point isn’t it !! Anyways, This series will help our readers find great new music and hopefully a better way to spend their hard earned cash… Enjoy the ride
(Touch & Go Records) Chicago, IL
Touch and Go Records came into existence (sort of) in late 1980, when the Ohio punk band Necros decided they wanted to put out a 7″ record. Being in high school at the time (ie: broke), they were aided in this project by their friends Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson, who were the geniuses behind a fanzine called Touch and Go (and who were a little older and had real jobs). The 7″s by the Necros and the Fix (a Michigan punk band) were recorded in late 1980 and released in early 1981, and Touch and Go Records was officially born.
Corey Rusk was a member of the Necros, and for the first couple years of Touch and Go Records’ life he ran the business part of it from his bedroom in his grandmother’s house in Ohio, and Tesco Vee ran the promotional part of it from his apartment in Michigan. Then Tesco moved to Washington DC, leaving the label in Corey’s hands.
Early releases for Touch and Go consisted mainly of 7″ vinyl singles by many of the early ’80s Michigan / Ohio hardcore bands, including the Necros, the Meatmen, and Negative Approach.
In 1983, Corey left the Necros, and together with his wife and partner in Touch and Go (Lisa Rusk), relocated the label to an apartment in Detroit, Michigan. Touch and Go began to move beyond the hardcore genre, while also increasing the frequency of its release schedule. Releases during this time period included albums from Die Kreuzen, Big Black, Butthole Surfers, Killdozer and many others.
At the same time Touch and Go was expanding, Corey and Lisa also started an all ages club in Detroit called the Graystone. The club was financed by Russ Gibb, a generous and supportive school teacher who ran the infamous Grande Ballroom in Detroit in the late ’60s. In its heyday, the Grande had been the Detroit home to the likes of the MC5, the Stooges, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, etc… In the mid ’80s the Graystone hosted such bands such as Black Flag, Minutemen, Misfits, Big Boys, Big Black, Scratch Acid, Necros, Negative Approach, et al.
After a few years in Detroit, Touch and Go moved to a house on the North side of Chicago, Illinois. Energized by its new environs, and by the increasing interest in the records they were releasing, Touch and Go entered a new and rewarding period in its existence, releasing albums by Slint, Scratch Acid, Rapeman, The Jesus Lizard, Didjits, Laughing Hyenas, Urge Overkill, and many others.
In 1990, Touch and Go began to provide manufacturing and distribution services for other independent labels who shared similar ideals. Over the past 15 years, Touch and Go is proud to have provided manufacturing and distribution services for such influential labels as All Natural, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Atavistic, Cold Crush, Dim Mak, Drag City, Emperor Jones, Estrus, 5RC, Invisible, Konkurrent, Kill Rock Stars, Le Tigre, Merge, Overcoat, Skin Graft, Suicide Squeeze, Thrill Jockey, Trance, Truckstop, and Warm.
In keeping with 1990 being a pivotal year, Quarterstick Records, Touch and Go’s “sister label,” came into being, releasing albums by Henry Rollins, Pegboy, and Mekons. Since its inception, Quarterstick has developed its own individual, eclectic identity through the releases of groups such as the Bad Livers, Calexico, June Of 44, Mule, Rachel’s, Rodan, Shannon Wright, Tara Jane O’Neil, The Shipping News, and others. Also around 1990, Corey and Lisa parted ways both personally and professionally.
Just before the dawn of the ’90s, T&G moved into a run down warehouse on the North side of Chicago. Its new digs provided lots of room to grow; an opportunity that was not wasted. Throughout the 90’s, Touch and Go expanded its staff and capacities in an effort to always be the best it could be for the bands and labels it felt so privileged to be associated with. All the hard work paid off, and during the ’90s, T&G had the good fortune to be involved with albums by Shellac, Blonde Redhead, The Black Heart Procession, Girls Against Boys, Arcwelder, Dirty Three, Don Caballero, Brick Layer Cake, Seam, Man…Or Astroman?, The Delta 72, Brainiac, Storm and Stress, and many others.
Toward the end of the ’90s, T&G had outgrown its space in the decrepit warehouse it had inhabited the prior 7 years. The staff had gotten soft and was demanding such outrageous luxuries as heat in the winter and bathrooms that worked. This revolt led to the move to a much better warehouse space a couple miles away. This move led to an even more organized and productive T&G. It was perfect timing, as the 2000s brought more great bands and labels to T&G. Bands such as CocoRosie, Enon, Nina Nastasia, Quasi, Pinback, Supersystem, The EX, The New Year, TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and !!!.
To find out more about Touch & Go Records AND their 25th Anniversary show CLICK HERE
Touch & Go Media::
“cruel” by calexico
Big Acts:: What made them great
Jesus Lizard, Big Black, Scratch Acid, The Black Heart Procession, Girls Against Boys, Butt*ole Surfers and many more
New Blood: Why they are still great
Enon, Nina Nastasia, Quasi, Pinback, Supersystem, The EX, The New Year, TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and !!!.