Sad news today via the Waveformless blog: Wax Trax! Records co-founder Dannie Flesher has died, which The A.V. Club has confirmed with one of the label's former artists, Chris Connelly. There's no word on the cause of death or even how old Flesher was, but there's plenty to say about the importance of the record label he founded with partner Jim Nash in Chicago in the late '70s.
Wax Trax! was the epicenter of the industrial-music explosion in the mid- and late-'80s, with a staggering number of artists—including Ministry, Front 242, KMFDM, Revolting Cocks, Pigface—getting their start or otherwise working with the label during its heyday. It also heavily influenced Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who mentioned during the band's final Chicago show being "in love with Chicago and the Wax Trax! label" when the group started.
In his book Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible + Fried: My Life As A Revolting Cock, Connelly describes how some of Wax Trax!'s artists treated the label and its eponymous record store as personal ATMs, so it's perhaps unsurprising that Wax Trax! went bankrupt in the early '90s. TVT bought it, but the party was over by the time Nash died of AIDS-related illness in 1995. Flesher mostly stayed out of the business and kept a low profile after that.