Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wax Trax: An Interview with Duane Davis

It’s hard to imagine a Denver without Wax Trax. More of an institution than a record shop, it began in the mid-‘70s with Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher who eventually sold their Denver storefront and moved to Chicago where they started the Wax Trax! Records label—whose roster included Ministry, Front 242, and KMFDM among others. Duane Davis and Dave Steadman assumed control of the Denver location in 1978, beginning with a humble collection of new and used records and eventually spanning across four storefronts on Thirteen Avenue. Through the years, the Davis and Steadman immersed themselves in the music they sold—even running their own 1980s label, Local Anesthetic, which showcased local post-punk and hardcore bands like Frantix and Defex and even poet Allen Ginsberg. In the '90s and '00s, the store continued its tradition of supporting local music and zines, giving independent bands and authors an avenue with which to promote and sell their art on a very reasonable, very accessible system of consignment. And though Wax Trax has had to bare its brunt of hardships, it has endured all the ebbs and flows of the record industry. We can only hope it continues to do so—a Denver without Wax Trax would be so devoid of culture and character, it’s painful to even imagine.