SST Records

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SST Records is an American independent record label formed in 1978 in Long Beach, California by musician Greg Ginn. The company was initially called Solid State Transmitters through which Ginn sold electronics equipment. Ginn repurposed the company as a record label to release material by his band Black Flag.

Music writer Michael Azerrad wrote, "Ginn took his label from a cash-strapped, cop-hassled store-front operation to easily the most influential and popular underground indie of the Eighties".[1] SST initially focused on releasing material by hardcore punk groups from Southern California. As many of the bands on the label sought to expand beyond the limitations of the hardcore genre, SST released many key albums that were instrumental in the development of American alternative rock, including releases by the Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, the Meat Puppets, Sonic Youth, and Dinosaur Jr. After a peak release schedule in the late 1980s, SST began venturing into jazz releases. SST is now based in Taylor, Texas. Many former SST bands, including Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr, have sued to reclaim the rights to their material in later years.



Early years

Greg Ginn created Solid State Transmitters (SST) at the age of twelve. SST was a mail-order business that sold modified World War II surplus radio equipment. The business was small but thrived well into Ginn's early adulthood.[2]

In 1976 Ginn formed the punk rock band Panic. Panic recorded eight songs in January 1978, but no labels were interested in releasing the music aside from Los Angeles, California record label Bomp! Records. By late 1978 Bomp had still not formally agreed to release the music on record, so Ginn decided he had enough business experience with SST to release it himself.[3] Pressing records turned out to be a simple matter; "I just looked in the phone book under record pressing plants and there was one there", Ginn recalled, "and so I just took it to them and I knew about printing because I had always done catalogs." SST Records released the music recorded by Ginn's band (now named Black Flag) as the Nervous Breakdown EP in January 1979.[4]

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