Touch And Go's 25th Anniversary Party

Scratch Acid 2006 at Emo's in Austin, TX by Mike Travis
Scratch Acid 2006 at Emo's in Austin, TX by Mike Travis
posted Wednesday Sep 6th, 2006

Starting Friday, one of Chicago's best venues, the Hideout, will host it's annual outdoor block party, and with it marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most infamous fanzines that ever made itself into a record label. Touch & Go magazine was started by Tesco Vee in Lansing, Michigan in 1979, and featured hilarious snipes at modern punk culture along with the typical xeroxed punk look of the era. Incessantly corresponding with Necros bass player Corey Rusk over several months led to an eventual partnership, and in an effort to put out the debut singles by the Necros and the Fix, the Touch and Go label came to life officially in 1981. Helped along by the insight of Ian Mackaye's tips on the DIY methods of independent production and distribution, Rusk took over the financial side of business and left Tesco to hold down the promotion and hype side. Once the momentum got started and the classics releases started piling up, Tesco moved out to Washington DC in '83 and left Rusk to run the label on his own, which promptly resulted in a move of the entire operation to Detroit. Taking the initiative to start up the Greystone, an all-ages club where the bands like Negative Approach could be seen often, just added to Rusk's undying will to help the scene. It wasn't to last though, and feeling a sense of outgrowing Detroit, he pulled up camp again and ultimately settled in Chicago in 1986. Locally only really knowing the members of Big Black, Albini's influence on Rusk helped shape the next phase of the label for the rest of the 80s, and right up to the present. Hundreds of releases later, and after a long and successful run at doing what they loved with their friends in punk music, it's undoubtedly become a monolithic indie institution throughout the midwest and beyond. Although throughout the 90s, the term "indie rock" started to identify itself with a more tepid sound than previously intended, hopefully this weekend's re-introduction by the originators will be correctively educational and serve as a primal wake-up call.


The fest starts officially on Friday, but Saturday's lineup is the most essential with appearances from the Didjits, Shellac, The Ex, Negative Approach, Killdozer, Scratch Acid and Big Black, many of whom are reforming for the first time for this event. All proceeds from the weekend's activities are to be graciously donated to Tuesday's Child Literacy Works and Thomas Drummond Elementary School, and although Saturday's lineup is officially sold out, tickets for Friday and Sunday are available HERE.

check out a Negative Approach video from 1983 here...