Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2024
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Privacy Policy

SST Records

406 Talbot St.
Taylor, Texas 76574
United States
Phone number:
Punk, Alternative, Hard Rock, Jazz
Founding date :
Online shopping:

SST Records Website    moc/erotsrepustss//sredro

No bands are currently signed on SST Records.
Band Genre Country #
Band Album Type Year Catalog Format Description


SST has a rather unusual history. In 1966, a twelve year old Greg Ginn launched Solid State Turners, aka SST, in Long Beach, California as a mail-order electronics company that originally sold modified World War II surplus radio equipment. In addition, the company smartly capitalized on the quick-to-rise popularity of the ham radio, a device (and counterculture) which quickly blossomed into Ginn's first real passion where he'd even devise several related innovations for which he holds patents on. While the business started small, it thrived well into Ginn's early adulthood.

Fate would see SST unwittingly employ people whose mutual interests would prove to be key in steering the company away from its lifelong specialization in electronics & toward music, individuals known as the early Black Flag/SST circle. It was around 1978 when the company's label aspect became priority enough that it completely shelved its dealings in electronics.

As a record label, it became known primarily for punk rock & alternative music, with some of its best known artists being Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Husker Du, The Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr, Bad Brains, and Soundgarden. Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski was Ginn's initial partner in the label. By 1983, label manager Joe Carducci & Black Flag roadie-turned-label accountant Steve "Mugger" Corbin also became partners. By 1990, however, Ginn became sole owner of SST while Dukowski became head of sales, at least until 1997.

By the mid-1980s, the label began issuing material from acts whose styles operated outside its punk reputation. This included doom metallers Saint Vitus, psychedelic rockers Opal, reggae act HR & even ventured into jazz during the late-1980s/early-1990s.

SST sold its releases to small distributors at deliberately low prices, however since the distributors typically sold import records, the records usually ended up in specialty shops where they would sell for high prices regardless.

In 1986, Ginn bought the independent label New Alliance Records, which housed material by The Descendants & The Minutemen & would quickly be converted into a label accepting of unusual jazz, rock & spoken word releases. It's during this time that Ginn would start a pair of SST-distributed sub-labels. One was Cruz Records, founded in 1987 to release Ginn's solo efforts & material by bands such as ALL, Big Drill Car & Chemical People. The second was the short-lived Issues Records, which concentrated on spoken word recordings.

In 1991, SST claimed bankruptcy due to a copyright lawsuit filed by Island Records that awarded the larger label more than 70,000 US dollars in damages. SST-contracted band Negativland released the song "U2" & used samples from U2's hit single "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", apparently without permission. In addition, the name U2 was placed large on the cover. The lawsuit was brought in agreement with Bono Vox and his band for confusion & non-compliance with copyright.

The opening of the SST Superstore came in December 1992, a brick & mortar institution to be found in West Hollywood, California, on the corners of Sunset & Larrabee.

By 1997, the label's continually broadening horizons brought with it a period of dormancy, spurred on by distribution problems, royalty disputes which resulted in the loss of the back catalogs of Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets & Dinosaur Jr & the questionable quality of its eclectic products catalog which ultimately fed into the label's overall declining reputation.

In 2002, Ginn signed a new distribution deal with Koch Records with the promise that new material by his various musical projects was forthcoming.

In 2006, Ginn relocated SST to Taylor, Texas.

Today, the label exists primarily to service what remains of its back catalog & issue new releases by Ginn's numerous on-going projects.

Added by: (Unknown user) Modified by: Gutterscream
Added on: N/A Last modified on: 2021-02-06 08:36:53
Duplicate? Please file a report for merging.