Started in 1977 with a shoestring budget, Chris Ashford’s one man record company documented the early punk scene in Los Angeles.
Chris Ashford may not be a household name, but over 40 years ago, he released a single by his teenage friends, The Germs. That single, Forming / Sex Boy, is now widely recognized as the first Los Angeles DIY punk release. Shortly after, Ashford was approached by The Dils’ manager to put out a single for them. This was issued as What 02, The Dils’ I Hate the Rich. At the time, Ashford was frequenting The Masque in Hollywood, and from there recorded The Controllers, The Skulls, and the Eyes. In 1982, the What Records? name was sold, around the same time Ashford began releasing surf rock and taking his music business in a different direction.
A. Singles and EPs (7″)
Notes: The untitled live song on side-B (The Germs Live) is “Sex Boy”, recorded at the second Germs live show, at the Roxy; made during the filming of the first Cheech and Chong movie Up in Smoke. This is regarded as the first punk rock single to come out of LA, released just 16 months after the landmark first album by the Ramones came out on the east coast.
Notes: First pressing released with a unique sleeve, known as the “Oils” sleeve, as the band name appears to be “THE OILS”, due to the font used in the logo.
Notes: Also issued in a 12″ 45 RPM format; reissued in 2000 in the 7″ format on Bacchus Archives / Dionysus Records.
B. LPs (12″)
The Big Takeover – Chris Ashford interview
Iloki Records – Chris Ashford’s site