Touch and Go Records

Touch and Go Records

Infobox record label
name = Touch and Go Records

image_bg = white
parent =
founded = 1981
founder = Tesco Vee Dave Stimson Corey Rusk
defunct =
distributor =
genre = Punk, noise rock, indie rock, hardcore punk, post-hardcore, alternative rock, various
country = United States
location = Chicago
url =

Touch and Go Records is an independent record label based in Chicago, Illinois, USA, which began life in 1979 in East Lansing, Michigan as a magazine put out by Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson. Vee was bored with the punk sounds of the day, and captivated by the emerging hardcore movement in America. Inspired, he put out records by the Necros, The Fix, the Meatmen, and Negative Approach. In 1981, Necros bassist Corey Rusk joined with Tesco to run the label. In 1983, Tesco handed Touch and Go over to Rusk when he left Michigan for Washington DC. With the label under his ownership, Rusk hired Terry Tolkin who signed the Butthole Surfers and Virgin Prunes to the label, and also produced the "Gods Favorite Dog" compilation. Soon Corey Rusk relocated the label to Chicago, Touch & Go released material in the mid-'80's to early '90s by bands such as the Butthole Surfers, who no longer have their catalog on the label (see below), Big Black, the Jesus Lizard, and continued into the new millennium with artists on their roster including Shellac, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio (the latter two are no longer on the label), Arcwelder, CocoRosie, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and the Black Heart Procession. Rusk continues to run the label.

Similarly to some other alternative music labels, such as Factory Records in the UK and punk label Dischord Records in the US, Touch and Go pursued a relaxed approach to recording contracts, characterized by handshake deals providing for a 50-50 split of profits between artist and label after promotion and production costs. In this way, the label built a respected catalogue of influential punk and alternative artists. [Josh Goldfein, [ "Touch and Go v. The Buttholes,"] "Chicago Reader," April 16, 1999.] However, following a 1999 legal dispute with the Butthole Surfers (see below), Touch and Go began asking bands to sign a 1-2 page memorandum of intent.

In 2006, Touch and Go celebrated its 25th anniversary. To commemorate this occasion, the label held a [ three-day block party event] at Chicago's Hideout venue on September 8-10, 2006. Several seminal bands, including Big Black, Scratch Acid, the Didjits, Killdozer, Negative Approach, and Man...or Astro-Man? reunited and performed at the event.

Dispute with Butthole Surfers

Their approach to contracts was challenged in a court case brought in 1999 by the Butthole Surfers, who purported that Touch and Go was not marketing its catalog effectively. The band argued that because its contract with T&G was of an unspecified duration, the contract could be terminated. Touch and Go argued that according to existing US copyright law, it controlled the copyright to the band's recordings for a minimum of 35 years, based on sec. 203 of the Copyright Act of 1976.

The US Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of the band, determining that "when a contract is silent as to its length, it is implicit that it can be terminated by either side," and that "allowing terminations under Illinois law does not conflict with sec. 203, but rather is, in fact, in keeping with the intent of sec. 203." [U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 172 F.3d 481. "Paul L. Walthal, Gibson J. Haynes, and Jeffrey S. Coffey v. Corey Rusk d/b/a Touch and Go Records". Argued Dec. 7, 1998, decided March 26, 1999. Retrieved from [] on Oct. 4, 2008. Also see the 3/26/99 "Chicago Reader" article (earlier note and External links) for case summary and background.]


* !!!
* All the Saints
* Angry Red Planet
* Arcwelder
* Arsenal
* Bedhead (reissued back catalog)
* Big Black
* Blight
* The Black Heart Procession
* Blonde Redhead
* Brainiac
* Brick Layer Cake
* Butthole Surfers
* Calexico
* Cargo Cult
* Cash Audio
* Chrome (reissued back catalog)
* CocoRosie
* Crystal Antlers
* Daddy Longhead
* The Delta 72
* Didjits
* Dirty Three
* Don Caballero
* The Effigies
* Enon
* The Ex
* The Fix
* Flour
* The For Carnation
* Girls Against Boys
* The Jesus Lizard
* Die Kreuzen
* Killdozer
* L-Seven
* Laughing Hyenas
* Lee Harvey Oswald Band
* Man or Astro-man?
* Monorchid
* Naked Raygun (reissued back catalog)
* Necros
* Negative Approach
* The New Year
* New Wet Kojak
* Nina Nastasia
* Phono-Comb
* P. W. Long
* Pinback
* Polvo
* Quasi
* Rachel's
* Rapeman
* Red Stars Theory
* The Rollins Band
* Scratch Acid
* Seam
* Shellac
* Silkworm
* Silverfish
* Skull Kontrol
* Slint
* The Standard
* Storm & Stress
* Supersystem
* Tar
* Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
* Three Mile Pilot
* Sally Timms
* TV on the Radio
* Urge Overkill
* Uzeda
* Various Artists - Gods Favorite Dog
* Violent Apathy
* Virgin Prunes
* Wuhling
* Yeah Yeah Yeahs

See also

* List of record labels
* Quarterstick Records, a sublabel of Touch and Go
* Chicago Record Labels


External links

* [ Official site]
*MySpace-music|tgqs|Touch and Go / Quarterstick Records
* [ Interview with Corey Rusk] (Sept. 5, 2006), Pitchfork Media
*Greg Kot, [,1,6865063.story?coll=chi-entertainmentfront-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true "The man who survived the music wars"] , "Chicago Tribune", August 20, 2006. Retrieved August 23, 2006.
* [ Chicago Reader article] (April 16, 1999) and [ followup article] (November 5, 1999) documenting the legal battle between Touch and Go and the Butthole Surfers
* [ The US Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit decision] of the case between Touch and Go and the Butthole Surfers

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