Yesterday, California garage rock label and record store Burger Records announced that it would undergo “major structural changes” in order to address a “culture of toxic masculinity” following a series of anonymous sexual misconduct allegations targeted at both artists and employees that surfaced over the weekend. Co-founder and president Lee Rickard resigned, while co-founder Sean Bohrman had moved into a “transitional” role.
Despite plans to rebrand itself as BRGR RECS and launch an all-woman imprint, BRGRRRL, however, Bohrman announced last night that the company would shut down completely, Pitchfork reports. “My plan was to quickly begin assessing and evaluating if anything about the label could perhaps be salvaged and made into something better, then eventually hand off a functioning label to a future administration unrelated to the label’s founders,” interim president Jessa Zapor-Gray said in a statement. “Or if I found that rebuilding was not possible, instead to organize and prepare the label for closure.”
She continued: “When I was asked to take over in this capacity, I expected some blowback for my decision to accept but I believed that the opportunity to have a role in effecting real and lasting positive change within the Burger and indie music scenes was worth the risk. Upon further review, I have informed Burger Records that I no longer believe I will be able to achieve my intended goals in assuming the leadership role at Burger in the current climate. Therefore, I have decided to step away from the label entirely to focus on my other projects.”
When approached by Pitchfork, Bohrman confirmed the company’s decision to fold the label entirely, and that any plans to rebrand to BRGR RCRDS would not materialize. He also said that Burger Records’ releases would be removed from all streaming platforms, but that artists own all their music and so are free to reissue their records if they wish. “I hate dealing with lawyers so we never signed contracts with bands,” he explained.
Yesterday, Total Trash Productions – the promoters behind Oakland’s annual Burger Boogaloo festival – announced they had distanced themselves from the label and planned to change the festival’s name in order to “express our heartfelt support for the brave women who have come forward to share their stories”.