About the Film

INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: The Story of Wax Trax! Records

Wax Trax! Films presents “INDUSTRIΛL ΛCCIDENT: The Story Of Wax Trax! Records”, the story behind the independent record store and label. Tracing the bizarre journey of two music-obsessed men from the bible belt to Chicago, this film travels through the underground culture of music and art as these two men expose emerging music and artists to fans from around the world for the first time.

Originally launched in Denver in 1975, founders Jim Nash & Dannie Flesher moved their small independent record shop, Wax Trax! Records, to Chicago in the fall of 1978. Within a year, the new location at 2449 North Lincoln Avenue became a nucleus for the underground culture that was emerging in the late 70’s and early 80’s. From the beginning, Jim & Dannie’s ability to combine obscure and fringe music with underground culture created a language that set Wax Trax! apart from traditional US record stores.

The core of the Wax Trax! retail store focused on importing music and design that was currently emerging in Europe. Early seminal post-punk and experimental bands such as Joy Division, Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire were first exposed to Chicago through the Wax Trax! store. A combination of Jim & Dannie’s infectious personalities coupled with their passion for counter culture, quickly gained national notoriety as Wax Trax! became a Mecca for fans looking for international New Wave, Punk Rock and Experimental music scenes that were being brought into the US for the first time. Throughout the 80’s, Wax Trax! became the meeting place for ideas and a primary home for many kids that lived outside mainstream culture.

Beyond retail, there was no master plan. Originally trying their hand at producing small runs of bootleg records for the store, in 1980 Wax Trax! branched out into a quasi-legitimate record label. The first 3 releases by artists Strike Under, Divine, and Ministry, would unknowingly secure the label’s future ethos of Punk… Trash… Dance.

It was the 3rd release in this initial series, Cold Life by Ministry, that changed everything. Becoming a surprise club hit in Europe, this provided Jim & Dannie momentum and cash to acquire new artists to the label and WAX 004, Front 242′s Endless Riddance EP,  set the stage for Wax Trax! to become America’s preeminent experimental label of the 1980’s and 1990’s.

INDUSTRIΛL ΛCCIDENT: The Story of Wax Trax! Records is layered and overlaps across many important musical benchmarks. The label’s global contribution and influence to early punk, dance, industrial genres cannot be overstated.

Through interviews with the artists, the film explores the origins and the label’s work with My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Front 242, COIL, Chris & Cosey, Laibach, KMFDM, PIG, Underworld, Meat Beat Manifesto, Front Line Assembly, Young Gods, KLF, Greater Than One, Clock DVA, Suicide, Psychic TV, Sister Machine Gun, In the Nursery, Foetus, TGT, and Controlled Bleeding.

INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT also deconstructs the arsenal of side projects by Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker of Ministry by artists closest to the projects. True stories of the Revolting Cocks, Acid Horse (a collaboration with Cabaret Voltaire), Pailhead (a collaboration with Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat and Eric Spicer of Naked Raygun), PTP,  Lead Into Gold (a solo vehicle for Barker), and 1000 Homo DJs (Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails) are revealed for the first time.

As the store and label became wildly successful, cracks in the foundation began to appear. The model of handshake deals and pure artistic freedom that built Wax Trax! was not sustainable and the label and store began its fast descent into bankruptcy. Despite the business challenges Jim & Dannie faced, the untold progression of events that followed was heartbreaking.

INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT follows the thorny arc of the rise and fall of an important musical movement as well as explaining how the details and artifacts of this entire Wax Trax! Records history was nearly lost forever.

Genres: Documentary, Music

Technical Information:

Genre: Documentary

Release Year: 2019

Country of Origin: USA

Language: English

Run Time: 94 minutes

Format: DCP