Julia Nash unleashes a documentary on the rise and fall of one of the greatest independent labels that helped launch the industrial revolution
Long overdue yet timely, Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records encapsulates the endless love of an alternative scene that changed the world because of two men who had a passion for exploratory music. Those who were inspired by the albums this label lovingly released and those who spent time at the Chicago store, this documentary is for you. It exposes a glorious transformation and rekindled dedication to a label that gave us a daring moment in human history. Wax Trax was unlike anything else at the time, and this documentary brings back archival footage and interviews to help properly tell that story.
Like finding the Ark of the Covenant of alternative culture, director Julia Nash went to Arkansas in 2010 to uncover a barn full of relics that Dannie Flesher left behind. Her father Jim Nash and his partner Flesher started Wax Trax! Records in Denver, Colorado before caravaning it to Chicago where it became the legendary beacon of the Midwest.
Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records Official Trailer
Through interviews of ex-employees and eyewitness accounts with people like Jello Biafra, Nash paints a picture of her father and Flesher in the ‘70s adorned in bold attitudes about being openly gay and a brazen punk rock spirit. This level of character paved the way for an ideology and emotion of what Wax Trax! Records would turn into. The philosophy that was dug into the music counter culture gave their store an identity and a visual statement. They were not afraid to take risks. The best description that emerges from this documentary comes from Steve Albini. “Everything about the store was that it was chaotic but everything in it told the same story. It was like it was built for me.”
Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher
Inspired by labels like 4AD and Factory Records that equally told a dimension of the story, Wax Trax! Records existed to enhance their love of music that ridiculed the status quo. Becoming friends with Al Jourgensen, Chicago had an imprint that turned into a staple for industrial and experimental dance music. Because of Jim and Dannie, Meat Beat Manifesto, Clock DVA, Front 242 and many more exist beyond the European market.
For Julia and her brother Aaron, their experience of Wax Trax! became our experience. It was a way of life. What existed beyond the doors of the store was an experience that was also our way of life. It became synonymous and this documentary show both worlds coming together as one. The tug of war with the music industry and the collapse of the label is one of the 20th Century greatest artistic tragedies. Yet for a brief moment in time, we see just how unique Jim and Dannie’s vision was. To be an outcast kid in some small town in the states who sought refuge in Wax Trax!, this documentary is its testament in all of its melancholic beauty.
Wax Trax Records, Lincoln Avenue, Chicago