Some may know Henry Weintraub as the director of local DIY horror films such as Melvin, Mindslime and Killing Me, but these days, he’s turned his creative energy toward a new project: a cassette-only pop punk record label called Memorable but Not Honorable.
In July, Weintraub’s imprint released Alone in the Basement, solo acoustic material from the front man of the Midwest horror movie-influenced punk band Horror Section. He goes simply by Teflon Dave.
Dave met Weintraub online, and they quickly bonded over a shared interest in punk music and horror movies. “After messaging back and forth he hit me up with an idea he had for a cassette label,” Dave tells me by email.
Weintraub proposed releasing some acoustic renditions of Horror Section music. “I had already done some acoustic solo renditions of Horror Section songs I was pretty happy with,” Dave says, “so I knew those would work.”
As an added challenge, Dave dug up some older songs from previous bands, wrote a new one, and included a cover.
“It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, but I’m happy with the outcome,” he says.
Weintraub grew up loving both physical media and pop-punk, bubblegum rock and Ramones-core music. He’d thought of running a record label for quite some time, but producing vinyl is cost prohibitive. With extra time on his hands during the pandemic, he turned to cassettes.
“You can do small runs and it’s cheap,” Weintraub tells me over the phone. “You can do 25 tapes, you can do 50 tapes, and it’s not a lot of money. It’s a couple bucks a tape. It’s kind of exciting.” Weintraub’s tapes retail for $8 on average, and he splits the profits with the artist.
“Physical media has always been a very important thing to me. It’s always felt so much more connected. You’re just sort of like, in it,” Weintraub says.
“Cassettes have always had that same vibe to me,” he continues. “For some reason, if I don’t have a physical copy of something, I don’t feel like I can listen to it. Digital feels like it could go away at any time.”
In the ’80s and ’90s, the kind of pop punk sound that Weintraub plans to release on his label was the domain of record labels like Lookout Records, out of the Bay Area. These days, Weintraub says that sound is undergoing a resurgence, particularly in the Midwest,
“These bands aren’t huge,” he admits, but they do have loyal followers, and Weintraub calls the scene “as good as it’s ever been, if not better.”
For those who turn to Spotify for their music, it may come as a surprise that, a little like vinyl LPs, cassettes are far from dead. U.S. tape sales were up 23 percent in 2018, according to Nielsen Music, the company that compiles data for the Billboard Charts.
In the U.K., tape sales grew 112 percent in the first half of 2019. Although that’s only about 36,000 units, all sales growth in physical media is notable.
What’s fueling the micro boom is affordability, accessibility and a desire among music fans to connect through something tangible and concrete. Teflon Dave’s release sold out its initial run of 50 cassettes in 90 minutes.
In addition to the Teflon Dave project, Weintraub’s label will put out We Hate Led Zeppelin on Aug. 14. It’s a tribute to Screeching Weasel, a popular and highly influential American punk band from the ’80s and ’90s.
Including Teflon Dave and the Screeching Weasel tribute, Weintraub has nine projects planned for his label. In September, he’s scheduled to put out a solo album from Billy Putz from the Indiana pop punk band The Putz. He’s open to label submissions.
To contact Henry Weintraub for updates on new releases, or to buy a cassette, search Memorable but Not Honorable on Facebook or Bandcamp.