By Juan Avila
The lovechild of a fascination with burgers and rock ‘n’ roll, Burger Records—located in Fullerton, Calif. —has amassed a cult-like following of fans looking for something different in their music.
Burger Records, which recently celebrated its five-year anniversary, opened its doors on Oct. 3, 2009.
The label itself started two years earlier by high school friends Lee Rickard and Sean Bohrman when they released the second single of their band, Thee Makeout Party, under the Burger label.
The Burger Records store is a music fan’s dream come true, with row upon row of vintage vinyl records ranging from jazz and indie rock to obscure music, as well as walls lined with cassette tapes from many of the bands under the Burger label.
The store, which does not offer CDs, has managed to sell 800 of its own physical releases in seven years time, 700 of which have been cassettes and the other 100 LPs.
The label itself shows a stick-it-to-the-man attitude. The artists are given creative control over their music and are signed because their music appeals to Rickard and Bohrman, similar to Recess Records, which Rickard named as an influence when it came to creating Burger Records.
This type of philosophy is what attracts young bands as well as fans, “the fact that it stands as its own label,” said student Josh Horta.
The label has seen much growth since Rickard and Bohrman were playing local gigs in Orange County. “I could easily drive down these streets and point out houses we played at,” said Rickard as he talked about the early days of the Burger label, which included playing at a nearby park—all of which comes from Rickard’s ideology of following through with one’s dreams and having ambition.
This ideology clearly paid off. The Burger label is now related to various bands as well as many widely recognized shows. They range from Burgerama, held every year at The Observatory in Santa Ana, to Burger Bugaloo and Burger a-Go-Go, all drawing crowds that follow Burger and its bands.
As for the future of the Burger label, Rickard says that he would like to leave a legacy of awesome music and create a memorable place. It might be in the form of either a burger-themed venue, a burger bar and grill, or even a record museum like a Disneyland, of sorts, for all music lovers.