The Wax Trax! story started in the mid-1970s when partners Jim Nash (2) & Dannie Flesher opened a record store under that name in Denver. In 1978, they sold the Denver store (which is still open) and moved to Chicago, where they opened a new Wax Trax! location.
After releasing a couple of low-key limited edition records, Nash and Flesher officially launched the Wax Trax! record label on a wider scale in 1981 with the release of a 12" EP by experimental punk band Strike Under, followed in 1982 by a 7" by disco/dance artist Divine. But it was their third release - a re-issue of Ministry's "Cold Life" EP, which had been one of their earlier limited edition offerings - that really set the tone for the label's future as North America's premiere home for electro-industrial music.
Aside from releasing the early Ministry/Revolting Cocks material, Wax Trax! specialized mainly in licencing European releases by artists such as Front 242, Coil and Laibach. They had a very close relationship with Play It Again Sam, initially sub-licencing many of their releases, and later launching an official Play It Again Sam Records USA label.
The label fell on hard times in the early 1990s due to many of their artists leaving for major labels. In 1992/93, the label was bought by TVT Records and remained active with Nash & Flescher retaining creative control. But despite their involvement the pioneering spirit of the label never recovered. Nash's death in 1995 was considered by many signal the true end of the label, but TVT continued to use the imprint for many of their electronic releases, including several titles licensed from Warp Records, until the late '90s.
On June 14, 2014, Wax Trax! (now led by Jim Nash's daughter, Julia Nash) officially released its first new music in twenty years with the 'TKO Mindfuck' 12" single by Cocksure (Chris Connelly and Jason Novak).
(Original) 2449 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(Current) 1120 N. Ashland Ave, #3
Chicago, IL 60622