Denver’s Iconic Vinyl Store….
….means a lot to many for many different reasons. I have known co-owner Dave Stidman since the early 1980’s – not long after he and Duane Davis decided to purchase the establishment in 1978.
Below – Dave Stidman (and others) tell the Wax Trax Denver Story:
For me the Wax Trax experience is just stopping by on a whim, checking out the “New Arrivals” 45 boxes (now in the corner store), then making my way down to the vinyl store where Dave is usually very busy evaluating/buying/pricing and placing “new arrivals” into the bins.
Wax Trax Roots
I always thought Wax Trax migrated from Chicago to Denver but the opposite is true:
The web site Colorado New Wave/Punk (writer Jo Ann Sieger writes about original owners, the late Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher who became proprietors for the original Wax Trax in Denver on Ogden Street near Colfax. Wax Trax had a good 3-year run in Denver bu then:
“…like all good things, it started to change at the end of 1978. Jim, Dannie, Mike Smythe (British born new partner and third owner) and company decided they had enough of Denver — too limited and frustrating — ;and set out to conquer Chicago.
“A fabulous “Get out of Denver” going away party was held at the German Turnverein Hall. New Wax Trax! owner, Dave Steadman was introduced (the Washington Street store would remain) as we said goodbye to Jim and Dannie. Everyone pogoed with abandon and the Jonny Three rocked like men possessed by Elvis and the 1910 Fruitgum Company (they encored with “Wig Wam Bam.”) At the end of the night, many of us, myself included, sat down at the foot of the stage and cried our eyes out. We knew what we were losing and Chicago was gaining.
Off they went to Chicago taking their Elvis collectibles and Sex Pistols imports and irreplaceable style.”
Here is an ad from the early Wax Trax located at 1409 Ogden before making the move to Washington Street
Denver’s Famed Wax Trax
Local Anesthetic & Rockpile
In the 1980’s, Wax Trax in Denver started up it’s own record label promoting local talent, primarily “punk” acts. Duane Davis was the driving force behind the label. Following the label launch, Wax Trax followed appropriately enough with a magazine of the same name (according to Cowtown Punks).
In addition the store hosted a weekly radio show (from the web site Colorado New Wave/Punk) “Wax Trax Revisted” by writer Jo An Sieger:“Wax Trax! hosted a local radio show, Rockpile, on Saturday afternoons spinning obscure rockabilly classics by the likes of Hasil Adkins, Collins Kids, Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and doing on-the-air interviews with the Jonny Three.”
The Mercury Cafe
Wax Trax enjoyed a close neighborly alliance with Marilyn Megenity’s near-by Mercury Cafe. Marilyn was jostled about by local landlords, moving her out of various locations due to some shady business dealings on their (landlord’s) part. The first location was at 1308 Pearl Street. She managed to hold on in the Capitol Hill area until finally settling into today’s long-run location at 2199 California in ‘LoDo’.
According to “Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks” (by Robert Medina) “…she hosted shows, including Black Flag and The Dead Kennedys, to make sure budding hardcore youth were able to see their favorite bands. Since Wax Trax existed around the corner from the original Mercury on Pearl Street, the two entities formed an alliance and consolidated punk rock in Denver’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood.”
On a recent visit to the store I asked Dave Stidman about the publication. To my surprise he said “There are still some copies around here!” He was kind enough to fetch a couple of issues for me, which I could see carried he name “Waste Paper”.
The images below are from issues #33 and #34 appearing in 1993.