Quantcast Jon Nelson - Horror High interview

Jon Nelson -
Horror High Records!!!
You like horror movies - you're here, arent you? So why shouldn't your music collection reflect that inhuman, undying, zombie like passion. Fifteen years ago, Horror Rock was the tiniest niche of a niche genre; The Misfits were punk-rock's best kept secret and Metallica's b-cover of "Last Caress" kept bootleggers in business for years with repress after repress of "Garage Days Re-revisted". In 1995, Jerry Only reformed The Misfits with his brother Doyle, a drummer known as Dr. CHUD, and an unknown singer named Michale Graves. Although initially met with some resistance, the new Misfits more than proved themselves with two classic albums, "American Psycho" and "Famous Monsters", and a powerful live show. This band, along with everything that came before it, inspired a new generation of musician - the musician who writes about the genre they love.

Horror High records, launched in 2005 by Jon Nelson, is one of the very first labels devoted exclusively to horror rock.  Already released are Michale Graves's return to horror rock "Punk Rock is Dead", and a side project from Rob Zombie's Blasko known as "The Death Riders". 
- by Adam Raines 11/05

You started StreetTeam.net in 1998, and Merchmonster in 2000 - it seems as though Horror High Records came out of that organically; how was the transition from distro to record label?

Well – the porn venture fell thru – no – I’m not joking. We took the money we were going to invest in porn and there she was – Horror High! Let’s see, I started Streetteam.net / bandbitch way before 1998, however, we just got popular and became a “real” Inc. in 1998. I have been promoting bands since 1988 – I just wasn’t getting paid back then! MerchMonster grew from the success of bandbitch. It was a way to fill a void.  Back in 2000 very few bands were actually selling merch off their own websites. We wanted to help get some of their merch out there, along with our own designs. Basically it was a way to help our friends. We had dabbled with a label a few years before. But it just wasn’t the right time. My partner, Marlene, and I had started helping Wednesday 13 back in 2001. We actually funded the recording of what would become his greatest hits cd. In 2001 there just wasn’t enough time to do everything we wanted and Wednesday joined The Murderdolls – so it seemed like things just weren’t lining up.

Horror High may not be the first record label devoted exclusively to horror rock in the United States, but most certainly the label seems to be the largest and most professionally run - What are both the immediate and long term goals for the label?

HAHA – thanks for that one! I wish we were, but there are so many labels out there doing what we do. We are just lucky because I have built a career out of helping musicians. The bands that know me, know I won’t fuck them. Horror High may have experience in certain fields and we probably have a lot of knowledge on how things are run in a corporate label world, but we are still young and have a long way to go. Also – it’s important to note – the core of what we do will be Horror Rock. But we don’t want to just limit it to that. There are so many talented bands, so even if they don’t sing about monsters under the bed – we may still work with them. Goals? Do what we want.. help our friends….

The first artist signed to Horror High is Michale Graves, the undisputed king of modern horror rock, was the plan to build the label around him?

Bingo – well kind of. About the time we had the idea to revisit the label, Michale was on tour with his other project Gotham Road. I emailed him one day and said “Hi – I’m jon from bandbitch. Would you mind if I paid to have some postcards made to promote your tour?” So we did that – and then we just started talking from there. Marlene and I went to see Gotham Road and it was ok. It wasn’t going to get Michale the respect he deserves.  So we decided to challenge him. We flew to New Jersey and said, “Michale – go back to Horror Rock. Give the fans what they want!” Michale then came back to us 30 days later with the finished “Punk Rock Is Dead” cd. We are not building the label around him – but we did decide if we were going to start this – why not start with the King.

Very much in the tradition of old school punk rock, Michale's return to horror rock, "Punk Rock is Dead", was written and recorded in 30 days - which is incredible, considering you'd never be able to tell while listening to the finished product -  how did the concept for that project surface?

Michale had enlisted in the Marines. We only had 30 days. It was either do it. Or wait another 6 months!

You guys signed The Death Riders featuring Blasko of the Rob Zombie band - how did that come about?

Honestly – Blasko sent us an email one day. They had been working on their project for 2 years or so. That’s the thing with The Death Riders – it’s a project. Don’t expect a world tour or anything like that. This is a bunch of guys who will do what they love, because they love to do it. The Death Riders are underground. They all have a million different things going on, but they also have the need to create. Horror High understood that. Marlene and I went and met Blasko and he played us the music and that was it. We were onboard from the get go. The music is so creepy and spooky. There is a song called “mary” that is just out there with a somewhat disturbing story behind it. You will never hear something like that anywhere else!

What can you tell us about Horror High's latest aquisition - Blitzkid?

Right now we are re-issuing 2 cd’s from Blitzkid – Trace Of A Stranger and Let Flowers Die. So many fans missed out on these releases, they were just too good for us to let them stay out of print. Blitzkid has been around forever. They are one of those bands that people have probably heard of, but haven’t listened to. Marlene and I believe strongly in these guys. TB has an AMAZING voice! Goolsby is a freak on stage. These guys are good! And a great fit to what we believe in!

As a general rule - horror rock fans are notorious for their love of limited editions, collectables, and colored vinyl.  If something is finite, you’ve got a sure fire winner. Can we expect variants, or special editions from Horror High in the future?

Honestly – who the hell knows?  We did some limited Michale Graves shirts – and those went fast! But right now we want to concentrate on just getting good stuff out… We will do cool things here and there. Right now we are giving free t-shirts away. If we think of something fun… usually we try to do it.

What else can we expect from Horror High in the future?

Umm… the Horror High dodgeball squad? Maybe a Horror High car club? Horror High needlepoint group? Who knows… like you said, this came naturally.  Let’s see where it brings us? I spoke to the monsters at Horror High and I can tell you a compilation is in the works…….. but of course it will have our own little twist on it.

Jon Nelson

www.Streetteam.net   www.MerchMonster.com   www.HorrorHigh.com

3120 W. Carefree Hwy. #1-339
Phoenix, AZ  85086

Michale Graves "Punk Rock is Dead" (2005, Horror High Records) - Concieved, written, and recorded in thirty days - Michale Graves returns to the genre from which he made his name and deliveres eleven songs about giant spiders, zombies,  and godzilla; including all of the movie references which you've come to know and love from the genre.  Stylistically, Punk Rock is Dead varies from a straight up Misfits style ("Earth vs Spider", "Teenage Monster", "Dawn of the Dead"), to what sounds a bit like like the 2001 Web of Dharma album ("Beware"), to what comes off as an old punker style (title track) - Punk Rock is Dead hits ten times more than it misses ("Godzilla") and is twenty minutes better spent - highly reccomended. (Punk Rock is Dead is available from www.MerchMonster.com)

All Content Copyright 2005 Icons Of Fright.com.
No articles may be reproduced in any manner without expressed permission of Icons Of Fright.com.
Back to Interview Index