Lookout! Records

Lookout! Records, the storied Bay Area punk label, has barely existed in the past six years; the label stopped releasing new music in 2006, only staying around to keep its old material in print. But now Lookout! isn’t even doing that anymore; the label has entirely ceased to exist. On his website, the former Lookout! artist Ted Leo explains that all his old Lookout!-released records, including The Tyranny Of Distance and Hearts Of Oak, now belong entirely to him and that he’ll try to get them back up online as soon as possible.

Even if the complete end of Lookout! is more symbolic than anything, it’s still a sad indicator of the times. The label, founded in 1987, is best-known for releasing the first two Green Day albums and the entire discography of beloved ska-punk band Operation Ivy, but its catalog is deep and important. Lookout! was responsible for releasing records from Avail, Screeching Weasel, the Queers, the Mr. T Experience, Citizen Fish, and so many others. Many of those albums have already been reissued on other labels, and many more will be in the future. But still, today marks a fond goodbye to a once-great punk rock institution.

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Comments (3)
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  2. I’ll have to give my Green Day Kerplunk! cassette some rotation for the occasion. Then again, I seem to remember there was some friction between Green Day and Lookout! over unpaid royalties which led to the band pulling their stuff from Lookout!’s catalog, thus beginning the downfall of the label. Bad business management seems more to blame than say, poor album sales.

  3. @Michael_

    And, to be fair, poor album sales are likely the result of poor management, too. It’s not like record successes are purely product of chance. The most successful labels apply rigorous management practices throughout the value chain to ensure their bands do well, their employees do well, and their fans do well.

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