Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings Turns 20 Years Old

Faith No More, by Meg Loyal Photography

Back in 1994 Greg Werckman, former Alternative Tentacles’ boss and Mike Patton’s manager, along with Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk, Mr. Bungle) formed Ipecac Records, and soon after released IPC-1, Fantômas’ self-titled release. Basically by making a label from for Patton projects like Fantomas and Mr. Bungle as well as Maldoror, a release featuring Japanese noise heavyweight Masami Akita (Merzbow) and Patton and more. On April 1, 1999, Ipecac Recordings was officially born, headquartered out of Werckman’s San Francisco home office. Initially, the plan was to make this a home for Patton’s non-Faith No More/Mr. Bungle releases, but a year’s long friendship with the Melvins quickly changed that.

Over the ensuing years, Ipecac Recordings has served up over 200 albums, DVDs and singles. The label’s catalog includes 33 various pieces of the Melvins’ discography, four of heavy music’s most critically-lauded and influential albums of the past two decades via ISIS, Eagle of Death Metal’s debut album (Peace, Love, Death Metal), 23 albums from At The Drive-In’s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, various releases from dälek, Ennio Morricone, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age/Desert Sessions), members of the Jesus Lizard, Jim Thirlwell, Dean Ween, Napalm Death, Einar Orn, Zach Hill, Sleaford Mods, Mark Lanegan, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe and, of course, Patton’s expansive and ever-growing, body of work including Tomahawk, Mondo Cane, Dead Cross and Faith No More. More recently the label released Daughters’ You Won’t Get What You Want, and the upcoming new album Spotlights, Love & Decay, later this month.

Werckman comments:

At first Mike and I started Ipecac as simply an outlet for Mike’s music. We did not really consider it a ‘label’ per se but shortly after we decided to do this, the Melvins asked if we were interested in including them. That was the moment it turned into a somewhat proper label. We quickly found out that we knew a lot of musicians that were looking for an artist friendly home. We started with very humble expectations and have been pleasantly surprised. We are grateful for our unique, loyal fanbase that have been willing to take artistic diversions with us and most of all so grateful for the artists that have been willing to join us.”

Patton comments:

When Greg and I started Ipecac. We both had seen and experienced examples of what we DIDN’T want to do. As an artist, I only hoped we could configure a model that was independent and sustainable… and that we could develop a contract that I would actually sign myself! Basically, a friendly artist-driven environment where every record was, in essence, ‘licensed’ with the artists having ownership of their own music. We also wanted to offer complete artistic freedom from point A to Z. Seems ridiculously straightforward and simple, right?”

We told Greg that if they wanted to start a label then the Melvins would love to be involved,” offers Melvins’ singer/guitar player Buzz Osborne. “We asked if he would be interested in doing a trilogy of releases within one year and they said no problem. 20 years later it still works.” That year the Melvins released The Maggot, The Bootlicker and The Crybaby via Ipecac.

Other Ipecac Recording artists weighed in:

In my twenty or so years of being a “professional” musician, Ipecac has been my all-time favorite label to work with. Greg and Mike (and everyone else at the label), wholeheartedly embrace and encourage creativity and artistic freedom – this is no small feat in an industry that usually just strives for the production of salable (i.e. bland) product, even on the “underground” level. Not only that, they also treat their artists fairly – they’re on time, organized and transparent – again, all qualities that are in short supply these days (and maybe all preceding eras as well). It should also be noted they’ve released music by some of the most crucial, relevant, forward-thinking (and personal fave) artists of the last 20-50 years: dälek, Melvins, Merzbow, Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Eyvind Kang, Zu, Fantômas, Justin Broadrick/Kevin Martin, Ennio Morricone, Lustmord, etc. Here’s to twenty more – and thank you Ipecac, I’m deeply grateful for your support!”Aaron Turner (ISIS, Split Cranium)

Ipecac has been home for me since 2002. Mike and Greg have never put any restrictions on us or our music. They have allowed us to be us and gave us the space and support to grow into the musicians we are today. Being on the same label as, and touring with, the Melvins, Tomahawk, Fantômas, ISIS (and so many other incredible musicians) taught us what it is to be a touring musician and uncompromising artist. I am forever grateful for all Ipecac, Mike Patton, Greg Werckman, and the entire staff through the years has done for us. I am more than honored to be an Ipecac Recordings artist, a member of their Board of Directors, and Godfather to 6 of Mike Patton’s 7 children (6 out of 7 ain’t bad). When Patton bailed the Oktopus out of jail…. that’s more than a label… that’s family. Congratulations on 20 years familia! Here’s to many, many more! Salud!” – dälek

I am so grateful to be surrounded by a musical family consisting of some of the most amazing and bizarre artists. Not only that, but I have somehow managed to get The Locust, Retox, Dead Cross, and Planet B on one of the raddest labels of my generation. Where logical thinking and practicality are not always a consideration when it comes to releasing music, we can only hope that everyone’s collective efforts grow further into more innovation and obscurity. Viva Ipecac!”- Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox, Dead Cross, Planet B)

It’s always been difficult for a label to figure out what the hell to do with me. I don’t do just one thing, I do everything, that’s no exaggeration. If anyone could understand and appreciate that approach it would be Mike Patton who has been “in every band on the planet” and maybe a few from Jupiter. Ipecac doesn’t have a formulaic, cookie cutter approach to releasing their artists material. It’s not a ’one size fits all’ marketing strategy like most labels try to get away with. They really take their time to figure out clever ways to give each artist their stamp of individuality. They basically let you do whatever the fuck you want, granted they like what you are doing. And they ALWAYS ask what your ideas are before offering their own. And they are genuinely friendly fucking people. I don’t get that post ‘label phone call’ slimy feeling of disgust or regret after I talk with them. They are adults, experienced and they are from an era when human beings were still born with souls. I feel an honest sense of ease knowing I can trust this label. And of course, we have history having worked on the Black and White Album, being familiar with them and having worked together in the past helps a lot.”Imani Coppola

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