The Chicago Underground Film Festival is thrilled beyond words to present the Chicago Premiere of INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: The Story of Wax Trax! Records, the tale of two gay men who created an unlikely family of punks, queers, and artists on a breakneck ride through the 80s underground, accidentally changing music forever. In 1975, Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher opened a small independent record store in Denver, Colorado specializing in imports and collectible vinyl and championing glam rock and the early punk scene. Within a few years, the couple relocated to Chicago and opened a larger store next to the Biograph Theatre. Wax Trax! soon became an internationally recognized home base for underground music, fashion, and subculture. Following the store’s success, the pair’s unconventional approach to music led them to branch out into releasing records themselves, creating a label of the same name that would become synonymous with a new genre known as Industrial. The label introduced groundbreaking artists like Ministry, Front 242, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, KMFDM and others to a generation ready to revolt against the material excesses and cultural conformity of the 80s. Throughout the decade these artists would become increasingly successful until it became impossible for major labels to ignore them. As their biggest talent began to defect, poor business decisions were made, and the label and store began to suffer. Wax Trax! declared bankruptcy in 1992 and was absorbed by New York-based TVT Records. The imprint stayed active throughout the 90s but the magic was gone. With founder Jim Nash’s death from complications related to AIDS in 1995 Wax Trax! was effectively over. Decades later the impact that these two music-obsessed men and the love they shared continue to be felt. Featuring never before seen footage and interviews from key musicians including Al Jourgensen, Chris Connelly and Luc Van Acker, Jim’s children, and store and label employees, INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT is an inside look at the passion, the dysfunction and the chaos that fueled the pioneering store and label throughout the 1980s & 1990s.
“As important as Chess Records was to blues and soul music, Chicago’s Wax Trax imprint was just as significant to the punk rock, new wave, and industrial genres.” – Richard Giraldi, Chicago Sun-Times