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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tankcrimes Takes Over 924 Gilman Tomorrow, Friday the 13th

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 2:05 PM

click to enlarge Ghoul
  • Ghoul
“I first met Scotty when he stumbled into the catacombs here in Creepsylvania,” recalls Digestor, murderous cannibal and guitar player of the premier Creepsylvanian metal outfit Ghoul. “I assumed we would bilk the poor sap of whatever spare change he had in his pockets, and then dismember him and feed the scraps to our friend Kogar, the Destructor. Scotty proved more wily than I thought, and now we’re trapped in a contract from which even the foulest attorney in Creepsylvania can’t extract us!”

Digestor is speaking of Scotty Heath, owner and sole employee of the distinguished Oakland record label Tankcrimes. With an impressive catalog featuring some enormously influential releases by internationally celebrated punk, metal, and rock bands —Toxic Holocaust, Cannabis Corpse, Inepsy, and Dystopia, to name a few — it may be remarkable to discover that the label began almost by accident.

Scotty moved to San Francisco from the small town of Brighton, Michigan in 1998 and eventually started his first punk band, Deadfall. After gigging around for awhile, Deadfall were approached by a man named Bob Scammon, who offered to release the band’s 7-inch EP on his new label, Controlled by Plague. “So the records come out, and Bob just has all 1,100 copies sent to my house,” Scotty remembers in amusement. “And I’m like, ‘Ok, what do we do?’ And Bob’s just like, ‘There’s your record! I’m going train-hopping!'"

Scotty enthusiastically learned the ropes of the record trade whilst promoting this debut release of his first band, and soon began releasing the 7-inch EPs of many of his friends’ bands within the scene. By his fourth release, it became clear that Controlled by Plague was actually his own, and he changed the name to Tankcrimes. During this time, Scotty financed the label by bootlegging t-shirts and 1-inch pins of already famous punk bands. “I had this old lady cart I used to push to shows with me, that I’d load with a box of records, a box of CDs, a box of tapes and a box of $5 t-shirts. I don’t know if I imagined where [Tankcrimes] would be at any specific time, but I knew I was going to die trying."

It was after a series of key releases starting in 2006 that Tankcrimes really began to spread its wings and support itself as an enterprise. Scotty released the label’s first two 12-inch LPs, and this new marketable format quickly proved to harvest a much wider profit margin. He then released the Cosmic Unconsciousness 7-inch EP, by groundbreaking rock and roll powerhouse Annihilation Time.

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Kevin Klausen

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