The decision to start a record label in 2016 may not be a sound financial one. For most labels, especially at the grassroots level, even breaking even may be an impossible goal. However, if your bottom line has more to do with passion, ethics and a profound love for the music you put out, your label's financial output will seem less consequential.
Thankfully, Johnny Wilson, who runs the aptly named website For the Love of Punk, has no shortage of passion for music.
Wilson, who also plays bass in luminary punk-rock outfit the Gamits, has long been a champion for the punk scene — not just in Denver, but nationwide. He recently announced that he will be starting a record label that uses the For the Love of Punk name. The first release will be the Windermeres' second full-length, Continental Divide.
"This has been something I've wanted to do probably since the DIY bug hit me when I was in those discovery days of the independent-music spirit, " Wilson says. "I've worked on hand-printed zines and fliers and always felt that there aren't any barriers except ones you create for yourself. More or less everything I've done to this point as a fan and musician has brought this to fruition. I feel like lately I've been less cautious and more about just going with my gut, and my happiness ultimately comes from giving back to the community that brought me up."
While still relatively unknown, the Windermeres are a promising band whose 2014 album, Anthem of the Recession Generation, was tagged by Westword as one of the best local releases of that year. The forthcoming Continental Divide, due out on August 12, mixes pop sensibilities with political and emotional angst, drawing the listener in with sprawling and anthemic intros before shifting gears into a flurry of high-tempo, Fat Wreck Chords-style punk.
The partnership between the young, talented band and the upstart label will certainly help to galvanize an already tight-knit Denver punk scene, another product of like-minded people working together for a greater good.
"There was, and still is, so much mutual excitement wrapped up in this release," Wilson says. "I find myself to be sometimes overly optimistic to a flaw, but I saw some of this same optimism and excitement in the eyes of all the guys when this idea was even just a small conversation. I think we kind of inspired each other to just take the plunge and work together. So in a lot of ways, the Windermeres kind of decided on us and pushed me toward something I might not have even started this year without the extra enthusiasm."
The first single from the album, which can be heard below, is "Fashion Punks Fuck Off," featuring Scott Risch from Potato Pirates.
"The first verse came to me when I was at the bar at a Nasty Bunch Of Bitches show and I overheard a conversation by some other fellas about how 'hot' lead singer Jack Stallion was," Windermeres singer/guitar player Chris Windermere says of the song. "It bothered me to hear some guys talk about my friend based just on her looks and not about the rad songs she writes. The second verse is about how I don’t care if I’m punk or not. Other folks I have met tend to have a much more narrow concept of 'punk.' I’m not concerned by what label the music I like, or the music I make, falls under. I know what I like, and genre definitions aren’t going to change that."
For more info on this release and the label, visit fortheloveofpunk.com
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