October 21, 1995
HEADLINE: JIM NASH DIES AT 47; FOUNDER OF WAX TRAX!
BY TRUDI MILLER ROSENBLUM
Jim Nash, president and co-founder of the seminal industrial music label
Wax Trax! Records, died of complications from AIDS Oct. 10 in Chicago. He was
Wax Trax! began in 1974 as an alternative record store in Denver founded by
Nash and Dannie Flesher, his partner and longtime companion. In 1978, they moved
to Chicago and opened a new Wax Trax! store on the city's North Side. The
store became the focus of Chicago's underground music scene. In 1980, some fans
convinced Nash and Flesher to release a 12-inch EP by their band, Strike Under,
and the Wax Trax! label was born. The label pioneered the industrial music movement in the U.S., issuing music
by such acts as Ministry, KMFDM, Front 242, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult,
and Revolting Cocks--dark, grim, technology-oriented rock with a machine-like
dance beat. (Occasionally, the label put out lighter releases, such as Divine's single "Born To Be Cheap"/
"The Name Game.")
The artist-oriented label worked largely on handshakes--an approach that
ultimately backfired when a number of bands left for major labels. Wax Trax!
was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1992 and was subsequently sold to TVT
Records, but Nash and Flesher retained creative control.
TVT president Steve Gottlieb says, "Jim was just amazing. He was brilliant.
He did what few people ever do--he built a kind of magical, personal imprint
that made people want to buy and listen to his records just because it was a
Wax Trax! record. He was an amazing inspiration to a whole lot of people. He
knew how to nurture chaos and created a great home for a lot of creative people
who I know are going to miss him--along with countless fans."
Gottlieb also describes Nash as "a visionary and a beautiful, gentle man."
Gottlieb adds that Wax Trax! "is having its best year ever and will
continue under the leadership of Dannie Flesher."
In November 1994, Wax Trax! released "Blackbox," a three-CD boxed
In addition to Flesher, the Kansas-born Nash is survived by his daughter,
Julia; his son, Aaron; and his granddaughter, Olivia. A fund for donations in
his memory will be established at a charity yet to be named.
October 12, 1995, THURSDAY
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 64
HEADLINE: Jim Nash, Co-Founder Of Wax Trax! Records
BY LLOYD SACHS
Jim Nash, co-founder of Chicago's Wax Trax! record store and president
and co-founder of Wax Trax! Records, the influential alternative-rock label
that it spawned, died Tuesday night. The cause of death was AIDS.
Mr. Nash, 47, and his partner, Dannie Flesher, opened Wax Trax! in 1979 at
2449 N. Lincoln (the store moved two years ago to 1657 N. Damen).
It is credited with being the city's first record store devoted to hard-core
and industrial dance music, while also specializing in '50s and '60s cult
artists and local bands.
Wax Trax! Records released the first recordings of Ministry, a Chicago band
that went on to international renown. Its other groups have included My Life
with Thrill Kill Kult, Throbbing Gristle and Front 242.
Acquired in 1992 by New York's TVT Records, the label has continued recording
new and established bands.
"Jim had breadth and idiosyncracy and unpredictableness, and Wax Trax!
reflected that," said TVT head Steven Gottlieb. "It thrived on a kind of
"People do the label a disservice when they say it was just about industrial
music. Jim let artists go in a lot of different directions, and they adored him
"He was a great friend and we'll miss him dearly," said Ministry leader and
Wax Trax! associate Al Jourgensen, through his publicist.
Mr. Nash is survived by Mr. Flesher, his companion of 25 years; a daughter,
Julia; a son, Aaron, and a granddaughter, Olivia.