As a child growing up in the ‘80s, I came in right at the tail end of vinyl. I only had a few records, only one of which was music. Cassettes were already “the thing” and CD’s would not be far off. But, even then, there was a kind of charm to the record. It was a shame to see it go, but people always seem to want the next thing so as far as the mainstream was concerned, vinyl was dead.
Now here we are decades later, and much to the surprise of many, vinyl has made a major comeback. In this age of zero patience and everyone having to have everything instantly, it is an even bigger surprise to find that records are one of the number one selling forms of physical music again. Whether it be for the improved sound, the retro vibe, or just the massive, original artwork, the record is back. And as such, some very cool releases are coming our way.
At the head of this, at least for horror junkies, is the movie score-based Waxwork Records. Not only are they releasing rare and unreleased movie scores on vinyl, they are also remastering them as well, with each release coming with liner notes, great packaging with original art, and usually little bonus extras. Thus far, they have most prolifically released Richard Band’s score to Re-Animator with liner notes by Stuart Gordon. Their next release, which should be out by the time you are reading this, is a deluxe release of the Day of the Dead score by John Harrison with liner notes by Romero himself. They also have a third release in the works, which you will read about below, as Diabolique spoke to with Kevin Bergeron, label head of Waxwork Records.
DIABOLIQUE: So how did Waxwork Records come about? Most folks don’t wake up one day and say ‘Hey, I’m gonna put out awesome records today’. Do you have a music and /or vinyl background, or was it all mind control and magic?
KEVIN BERGERON: I’ve played and toured in bands for the past 15 years. I had just gotten back from touring Cuba, and it was clear that my band was about to split up. The band was my day to day. It was how I identified myself. I knew that I wanted to continue releasing music.
I love horror movies and soundtracks on vinyl. I started tracking down actual original master tapes to my favorite horror movies. I figured that would be the perfect source material for Waxwork releases. Surprisingly, the composers and directors of these movies really liked my idea and it’s been really great being able to work directly with them.
DIABOLIQUE: Clearly from your releases, you have some good taste in horror scores. What are some of your favorites? And what would you say is your all time favorite?
BERGERON: I really like John Carpenter’s score to Halloween. I could listen to it constantly. I think Tobe Hooper and Wayne Bell’s score to the first Texas Chain Saw Massacre is my holy grail. It’s a terrifying score, and it’s nothing like any other film score I’ve ever heard. It’s a series of horrifying motifs, drones and metal parts banging against one another. It’s the perfect score to accompany such a visceral movie.
My all time favorites would have to be Bernard Hermann’s Psycho and the score to Texas Chain Saw [Massacre].
DIABOLIQUE: This may be a second part to the question above, but if you guys could release the full vinyl treatment on any soundtrack or score, what would it be?
BERGERON: Hands down The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
DIABOLIQUE: Has Waxwork Records ever thought about doing not just scores, but soundtracks as well?
BERGERON: For sure. I’d love to reissue Return of the Living Dead and Repo Man. The bands on those soundtracks are awesome. I’m all about 1980’s hardcore.
DIABOLIQUE: The Re-Animator release was awesome, but getting Day of the Dead just took your prowess to the next level. I’ve been wanting a release of this for decades. How did this happen? Was it a difficult process? Did you have to walk Romero’s dog or take part in some cage fights with Tom Savini?
BERGERON: We’ve been working for months on Day of the Dead. I’m a huge fan of the Romero zombie films, and also a fan of John Harrison’s score to Day of the Dead and Creepshow. I contacted John Harrison and he liked the idea of releasing a definitive score to Day. The original 1985 vinyl release on Saturn Records didn’t include even half of the film score. John Harrison had the original master tape reels that include every musical cue used in the movie. We knew it was going to be a massive undertaking restoring the tapes, remixing, and remastering. The final product is incredible and sounds great. George Romero collects vinyl and when he got word that Waxwork was releasing a vinyl reissue of Day, he offered to give director liner notes! Luckily, there were no cage fights with Tom Savini.
DIABOLIQUE: What are your future plans for Waxwork Records? Do you already have the next project in mind?
BERGERON: We’re having our Day of the Dead record release party at The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood on September 30th. George Romero and John Harrison will be there for a Q&A and autograph signing, and Sherman “Bub” Howard will be there as well. We’ll be selling the new vinyl release and screening the film on the big screen. We sold out The Egyptian in less than 24 hours! We can’t wait. Our next release after Day of the Dead is Rosemary’s Baby.
There you have it! For more on Waxwork records, you can check out www.waxworkrecords.com for all of their great releases.