Roadrunner Records

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Roadrunner Records
Logo of the label
Logo of the label
Parent company Warner Music Group
Active years since 1979
founder Cees Wessels
Seat United States
Label code LC 09231
Genre (s) Rock , metal

Roadrunner Records is a record label that has been in existence since 1979 and is now headquartered in the United States , specializing in rock and metal . Towards the end of 2006, the label was bought by Warner Music . This makes it one of the three major labels .

Over the years, Roadrunner Records has repeatedly signed bands that a little later will be named as the main influence for further developments in the sector of harder guitar music such as alternative rock , crossover , stoner rock or metalcore . The record label claims not to follow trends, but to anticipate them and set them yourself.

The biggest and most influential bands on Roadrunner Records right now include Coheed and Cambria , Gojira , In This Moment , Killswitch Engage , Korn , Kvelertak , Stone Sour , Slipknot and Trivium .


Roadrunner Records was founded in Amsterdam at the end of 1979 by the then 38-year-old Cees Wessels , who had already worked with other music labels.

Wessels bought from 1980 licenses for the distribution of releases by American bands in the Benelux countries . It all started with a best-of album by songwriter Jim Croce , soon followed by the first records from Wessels' favorite musical sectors such as punk / hardcore punk with The Exploited .

In the months that followed, Wessels steadily expanded its import sales network until he was the number one contact for non-European labels such as Metal Blade or Attic , which led the way in the 1980s . Among other things, bands like Twisted Sister or Anthrax were represented by Roadrunner Records in Europe .

However, since most of the financial gain stayed directly with the record companies in the USA, Wessels decided to sign music groups himself. After a tip from Mike van Rijswjik, known beyond the national borders under the name Metal Mike , the Danes Mercyful Fate were brought onto the music market with great success as their first band. The problem soon arose that Roadrunner Records itself needed a distributor for the US market. After a brief cooperation with Megaforce Records (including Metallica ), however, Wessels set about opening his own office in the USA, which initially operated under the Roadracer Records banner due to the comic figure Roadrunner of the same name .

From 1983 Wessels and Metal Mike did a variety of very successful licensing with u. a. Agent Steel , SOD , Venom , Voivod and Whiplash . The result was a first office in New York , shortly afterwards in Cologne , London and Paris , and the number of employees was already in the double-digit range.

In 1985 the album Wildcat - Love Attack was produced and released.

In December 1987, the former host of a college radio DJ Mr. Death Monte Conner, an A&R manager, was hired, who as a die-hard speed / thrash / death metal fan was to have a strong influence on Roadrunner Records' activities. His first successes were bands like Sepultura , Deicide , Obituary , Annihilator or Suffocation , all of which received a lot of attention from the press and music fans.

As around 1990 Death Metal had arrived at its commercial peak, sought Roadrunner Records for new developments and brought in the next five years, the debut albums of such diverse bands like Fear Factory , Machine Head , Life of Agony or Dog Eat Dog on the market, all of them were extremely successful commercially and co-created entire sub-genres. The New York hardcore band Madball also released their debut album in 1994 on Roadrunner Records. In 1995 the record label for Bloody Kisses from Type O Negative received a gold award for the first time , and in 2000 the record even went platinum . The next similar successful release of Roadrunner Records was Roots of Sepultura , released 1996th

The 1999 Roadrunner Records debut of Slipknot , which was awarded platinum in England after just three months , caused a worldwide "uproar" . Roadrunner Records tried to create reserves for the engagement of unknown newcomer bands from albums from non-genre representatives such as Moloko , Human League or Sinéad O'Connor , which had been sold in the meantime .

One of the most profound changes in Roadrunner Records' band program so far began with the hiring of Mike Grid as A&R manager. The new man was responsible for signing contracts with, for example, Glassjaw , Ill Niño and Nickelback , most of which are characterized by a certain catchiness and partly subliminal emphasis on melodies. The swing punk band Big Rude Jake also clearly distinguished itself from the style of most Roadrunner bands. Due to various band breakups from the early years, more new bands came to Roadrunner Records.

With the new signings of Chimaira , DevilDriver , Hatebreed and Killswitch Engage since the turn of the millennium , Roadrunner Records made a significant contribution to the current metalcore hype. In addition, alternative bands such as Sinch were also released.

The Roadrunner Roadrage Tour, which now takes place annually, was started for the first time in 2002 . Three newer bands each play several shows under the same conditions in the USA and across Europe, a DVD with the same title provides an overview of the current music videos of the Roadrunner bands.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Roadrunner Records, a CD / DVD package was released in October 2005 after more than a year of planning and recording under the title Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions , which presents 18 new songs by a total of 56 different musicians from 42 bands that were or are still under contract with Roadrunner Records.

Monte Conner sees the future of the label still secured with bands like the still very young Trivium . Cooperation agreements that have been concluded with the label for hardcore / emocore bands Trustkill Records , which is very respected in the USA, should further strengthen Roadrunner Records' position.

Stone Sour , the band around Slipknot members Corey Taylor and James Root, are also a guarantee for high sales. The album Come What (ever) May was sold more than 500,000 times in the US alone by the end of 2006.

In April 2012, Roadrunner's offices in Germany, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom were closed. Company founder Cees Wessels left the company and around 36 employees were made redundant. Monte Conner also split from Roadrunner and started a collaboration with Nuclear Blast in the USA. Since then, several of the big acts have left the label (including Alter Bridge, Dream Theater and Opeth)


Current bands

Former bands


Roadrunner Records has been criticized several times by fans because after several weeks new versions of albums with unreleased song material, a new artwork or with an additional DVD have been brought onto the market. Fans who bought an album without bonus material on the release date felt that they were treated unfairly. The most prominent example of this is the album Roots of Sepultura , which a few months after the great success of the plate and a chart entry in fourth place in the German charts under the name The Roots of Sepultura was reissued with bonus material.

The fact that the label exchanged the cover artwork that Sepultura had planned for their fourth album Beneath the Remains to use it for the Obituary album Cause of Death also caused controversy .

Some displeasure was also caused by the fact that, after Fear Factory's disbandment in the meantime, Roadrunner Records tried to make even more profit with material that was sometimes considered superfluous. In 2002 they released an old demo album, Concrete , which had originally been rejected as too bad, and a year later a collection of B-sides , instrumentals and remixes appeared with Hatefiles .

As part of the nu-metal wave, Roadrunner Records, like other record labels, signed a large number of mostly second-rate bands during the late 1990s because they still promised commercial success. This went so far that more respected bands such as 36 Crazyfists publicly complained about the business conduct of their record company: They hardly get any support, only the fast money is important to those responsible.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. “Warner Music acquires majority stake in Roadrunner Music”, December 18, 2006
  2. Wildcat - Love Attack
  3. Info on sales figures from Come What (ever) May , December 9, 2006
  4. NME: Slipknot, Korn, Megadeth label Roadrunner Records shut offices worldwide after Warner merger, April 27, 2012
  5. Nuclear Blast announces partnership with Monte Connor on August 16, 2012
  6. ^ Luke Morton: Higher Power Announce New Album 27 Miles Underwater . Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  7. Kim Allegrezza: Interview: Theory Of A Deadman's Dean Back on their new sound for 'Wake Up Call' . October 22, 2017. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  8. Online editors: Review: The Roots of Sepultura, Sepultura, published 1996 . 1996, accessed August 26, 2015.