Episode 163: Thick Records w/ Zak Einstein

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Thick Records was formed in 1994 by Detroit native Zak Einstein, who started the label when he relocated to Chicago after graduating from Michigan State University. Early releases include albums from Chicago ska-punkers The Blue Meanies, Alton, IL’s Judge Nothing, Seattle’s grunge rockers Truly, and the Omaha-based Commander Venus. Blue Meanies singer Billy Spunke joined Einstein and signed multiple Chicago punk rock artists including The Tossers, The Arrivals, and The Methadones. Thick released picture disc vinyl including 7″ records from Alkaline Trio, At The Drive-in, ALL, and Citizen Fish. The label also released several compilations documenting Chicago rock and punk music. The compilations included 2000’s Magnetic Curses: A Chicago Punk Rock Compilation, which included music from Gaza Strippers, Alkaline Trio, and Pegboy. Oil: Chicago Punk Refined, a 2003 release from the label, included tracks from nineteen Chicago-area punk acts, including Rise Against, The Lawrence Arms, The Tossers, Plain White T’s, Bob Nanna, and Local H. 

In 2004 Einstein moved the label to Los Angeles. The last label releases came in 2007 with CDs from The Brokedowns and Seven Storey Mountain.

Thank you Monika Ebly for the intro to Zak who I got on the Skype and this is what we chat about.

  • Brendan Kelly
  • Rise Against
  • Picture disc vinyl
  • The palette of Blue Meanies CDs
  • The letter the Blue Meanies sent to MCA
  • What did the record label look like on a day to day basis
  • The At the Drive-In / Burning Airlines split
  • Turning an oil production factory into a studio
  • What really killed the music industry
  • What 2008 did to the label
  • And a ton more

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