Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Sad Day For Rock Music: Touch and Go Records Is Closing

Without a doubt, Chicago's Touch and Go Records is one of the most important record labels of the rock era. The label began in the early 80s and, over the years, has released albums by Butthole Surfers, Die Kreuzen, The Jesus Lizard, The Dirty Three, TV On the Radio, Pinback, Slint, Big Black, Rapeman, Shellac, Killdozer, Girls Against Boys, Brainiac, Silkworm, and many many more. The label announced today that they will stop releasing new music and they will shut down their distribution business as well.

Touch and Go will still be releasing some Jesus Lizard re-issues later this year, but will shut down for good after that. What a sad day for music.

UPDATE: Touch and Go owner Corey Rusk issued the following statement, and left the impression that T&G will still exist in some form:

It is with great sadness that we are reporting some major changes here at Touch and Go Records. Many of you may not be aware, but for nearly 2 decades, Touch and Go has provided manufacturing and distribution services for a select yet diverse group of other important independent record labels. Titles from these other labels populate the shelves of our warehouse alongside the titles on our own two labels, Touch and Go Records, and Quarterstick Records.

Unfortunately, as much as we love all of these labels, the current state of the economy has reached the point where we can no longer afford to continue this lesser known, yet important part of Touch and Go's operations. Over the years, these labels have become part of our family, and it pains us to see them go. We wish them all the very best and we will be doing everything we can to help make the transition as easy as possible.

Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label. We'll be busy for a few months working closely with the departing labels and scaling our company to an appropriate smaller size after their departure. It is the end of a grand chapter in Touch and Go's history, but we also know that good things can come from new beginnings.
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Despite the opening Mr. Rusk left himself, music blog The Daily Swarm is reporting that the entire staff of 20 people was let go.

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