Ruthless Records (Chicago)
Ruthless Records was the name of a Chicago punk record label. Founded in 1981 by the Effigies, it was not a real business, but a name used by Chicago and Minneapolis punk bands from 1981 to 1990: Big Black, the Effigies, End Result, Naked Raygun, Rifle Sport and Urge Overkill. The Effigies operated the label from its creation in 1981 until 1984, when they found the label to be distracting from their priorities with the band. They handed the label over to Big Black founder Steve Albini, who ran the label until it dissolved in 1990.
Ruthless Records was an independent label run as a cooperative of Jon Babbin, The Effigies, Naked Raygun and Steve Albini (Big Black). After the release of their Haunted Town EP, the John Kezdy was dissatisfied at the way Autumn Records handled their expenses and decided to start the label with Babbin. Naked Raygun and Big Black came on board shortly after and all three acts worked together to get their initial records released. It wasn't really a company or anything of that sort, just a way for these bands to get their records out. The bands themselves were pretty much responsible for all the organization and expenses on their own records, Ruthless was just a central name/address to give the appearance of a record company for distribution purposes.
The latter half of Ruthless' existance (from about 1985 on) was run almost exclusively by Steve Albini and most of the releases were by bands outside Chicago. The label ended around 1990.
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