Johann's Face Records History Lesson
Two long-time friends, Marc Ruvolo and
Gar Brandt, cooked up Johann's Face Records in Chicago,
1989. Ruvolo, having previously worked for Roadkill Records
(releasing Screeching Weasel, The Effigies and No Empathy
records, among others) and fledgling indie distributor Cargo
Records, wanted an outlet for his many musical projects.
Both Marc and Gar wanted to document the snowballing Chicago
punk scene by releasing records that they believed deserved
a wider audience. Their ethic was based mainly upon the
models of Chicago's Touch and Go Records and D.C.'s Dischord
Records: handshake deals with friends where the label and
the band split the profits fifty-fifty.
The first Johann's release was a vinyl-only
pressing of Chia Pet's debut "Elpee." One thousand
were pressed (500 on blue vinyl) and sold out quickly. Johann's
Face was on its way!
The two friends would go on to release over 50 other titles,
launching the careers of such legendary punk bands as
The Smoking Popes, the Alkaline Trio, The Strike, Sludgeworth,
Apocalypse Hoboken, and No Empathy as well as doing records
for already-established bands such as Scared of Chaka and
In 1997, the label landed worldwide distribution
through San Francisco iconoclasts Mordam Records and added
another key member, Davey Houle, who handles graphic design
and other creative duties.
To this day Johann's Face has remained
true to its ethic: releasing quality, intelligent, melodic
punk and pop music while staying clear of all the bullshit
inherent to the "mainstream" music business. This ethic
continues to grow and flourish into the 21st century, and
we hope to bring you many, many more years of great music.
Thanks to all the people who buy our records and make this
possible. We couldn't do it without your enthusiasm and
dedication to keeping underground music alive.