Three hour tour: Deathwish and Bridge9

All photos by C. Rucker

Finally made it up to Witch City last week to visit the warehouse maintained by Bridge 9 and Converge's Deathwish Inc. imprint (a slab of wharfside office park also home to Sully's Tees, punk-rock booking agents the Kenmore Agency, and a screen-printing operation). Partly it was a chance to check out what Converge's Jake Bannon (who's up there with Pushead among our fave punkrock designers/artists ever) has done with the place. Mostly it was a chance to catch up with 30-year-old Bridge 9 straight-edge mogul Chris Wrenn, whom we first wrote about back in 2002 when he was a junior partner in the Initech Entertainment Conglomorate over in the Fenway.

Deathwish is gonna end up in our top 10 lists thanks to Doomriders and the Converge re-issues; Bridge 9 sticks to traditional hardcore -- a genre that, admittedly, Rucker is listening to way more actively than OTD -- but how can you not love a label that puts out Wrecking Crew demos and Slapshot retrospectives? Plus, Wrenn is just one of those sincere, friendly, hardworking dudes whose enthusiasm for everything he's putting out is super-contagious. (That said, do not try to rip him off.) And he puts out a lot of stuff: he's steadily working towards his goal of putting out 100 great hardcore releases, with something close to 70 under his belt. The label switched to a new distributor a couple years ago, got screwed by the old distributor, found itself temporarily cash poor, and lost its biggest band. But this year they're finally in the black, after years of having the label supported by their baseball merch enterprise, Sully's Tees, which is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for the proliferation of "Yankees Suck" apparel in Boston. (Rumor has it they also know how to get in touch with the people who made the "Foulkzig" shirt.) A few years ago, Wrenn bought his own T-shirt presses, and now he's spun off the screen printing/band merch end of the biz as Liberated Images. (They even make belts and shit. And, following the Sully's tradition of hiring hardcore band members to hawk the baseball merch, the press's full-time staff is run by the Bars and Hope Conspiracy frontman Kevin Baker.) Considering that they've got new kids coming up strong, and that they put out their first book this year (and have top-secret plans for another: hush-hush and all, but if you dig punk/thrash circa mid/late-'80s, you're gonna be psyched), the B9 growth chart is looking mighty healthy. Probably won't hurt that they've got a $5, 21-track label sampler debuting soon on a Hot Topic counter near you.

LISTEN: Wrecking Crew, "Why Must They?" (mp3)
LISTEN: Slapshot, "Back on the Map" (mp3)
LISTEN: Sinners & Saints, "Dead So Soon" (mp3)
LISTEN: The Trouble, "This One's for You" (mp3)
LISTEN: Project X, "Straight Edge Revenge" (mp3)

LISTEN: Doomriders, "Black Thunder" (mp3)
LISTEN: Blacklisted, "How Quickly We Forget (Again)" (mp3)
LISTEN: Modern Life Is War, "D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S." (mp3)
LISTEN: Embrace Today, "Sing Me A Lullaby" (mp3)
LISTEN: Converge, "Conduit (re-mastered)" (mp3)
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