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Banzai Records was a canadian record label active in the '80s (founder - Michael Meese). They were mainly licensing heavy metal albums that weren't domestically available in Canada. So most of what was on Metal Blade / Megaforce Records, Neat Records, Noise Records, Roadrunner, etc, would be released in Canada thru Banzai Records, via Polygram distribution. Michel Meese, founder and president of Banzai Records, had an immense knowledge of the metal scene, and a great feel for the canadian market. By seeing which imported albums were good sellers, the ones he chose to release on Banzai were always well recieved. Artists represented by Banzai Records included Venom, Anthrax, Metallica, Voivod, Raven and Slayer, to name a few.
Although the label had the rights to distribute most of the albums, a few are believed to be bootlegs. First pressed at 1000 copies, re-prints were ordered depending on popularity. Very few ever made it past 10,000 copies. But many of them were sold as cassettes, since it was the medium of choice back then, in the golden age of walkmans! A notable exception is Metallica. Both of thier Banzai releases reached gold status in Canada, at 50,000 copies each. A feat also accomplished by Venom's Canadian Assault.
Banzai's business address, 1238 Crescent Street, Montreal, was also the home of the biggest heavy metal record store in Montreal called Rock en Stock. Banzai stopped their activities at the end of the '80s, and Rock en Stock closed shop at the end of the '90s, after a raid on bootlegged cds.
Founder of the Speed Metal Swirl/Wheel logo. They used it on the covers to point out the more aggressive bands. There's 18 releases by Banzai who have the Speed Metal Swirl.