PANIC RECORDS AND TAPES, Chicago, IL 1984-1991. Begun as international audio correspondence, it quickly turned into a part-time job. PANIC was an outgrowth of broadcasting and activities at WZRD-FM 88.3, Chicago, during the heyday of DIY cassette culture, and the 'zines and radio stations that catered to same.

All told, about twenty cassettes, three compilation LPs (four discs in total), three editions of a 'zine, and perhaps a dozen live shows were produced. Radio playlists, distributors, musicians, and correspondents eventually totalled fourteen countries. Cassettes were packaged in melted junk LP "fortune cookies" that had to be broken open to gain access.

The compilation LP series was entitled WHAT IS TRUTH? on the suggestion of, and first LP title track by, Eugene Chadbourne. The first two LPs were packaged in junk sleeves that featured individually hand-crafted and numbered artwork (painting and collage) executed over the previous cover. The third LP featured custom hand-crafted marbled paper.

For each unit of all three LP releases, every cover was completely different.

WHAT IS TRUTH? Vol. 1 (1986)
500 units, painted covers

Click on track title to preview, right-click to download


1. Eugene Chadbourne - What Is Truth?
2. Devil Bell Hippies - Teenage Urban Barbarians (live, 1986)
3. German Shepherds - Why Did You Give Yourself Cancer?
4. Furry Couch - Spudmatron
5. Research Defense Squad -Then Some Bad Boys Beat Me With Sticks (excerpt)
6. German Shepherds - Orgy Porgy
7. Burden of Friendship - Burden of Every Belief
8. Hunting Lodge - May This Meat Kill Me
9. Randy Greif - Woman In The Mirror
10. Furry Couch - Sea Hunt / Phone Fun
11. Eugene Chadbourne and the Hank Gonzalez Orchestra -
Invitation To A Jam Session

12. Phil Minton & Roger Turner - Known A Knowm?
13. Gary Marks - Untitled



WHAT IS TRUTH? Vol. 2 (1988)
1000 units, collaged covers

Click on track title to preview, right-click to download


1. Violence and the Sacred - Butchered Edit
2. Blitzoids - Theme from A Summer Place
3. German Shepherds - It’s Always Wet in Debby’s Prison
4. Randy Greif - A Lot Like You
5. German Shepherds - The First Man To Give Birth
6. Musica Menta - Weasels Of Tibet
7. Furry Couch - Skeleton Orchestra
8. Proof Of Utah - Hot Rods To Hell
9. Gary Marks - Improvisation 1-19-88
10. Eugene Chadbourne - The First Porthole Solo
In History / The Last Communist Banjo Solo of 1987

11. Haters - Huwa
12. Elizabeth Harper - Green



WHAT IS TRUTH? Vol. 3 (1990)
2LP, 500 units, hand-marbled covers

Click on track title to preview, right-click to download


1. Proof Of Utah - Sleep
2. Illusion Of Safety - Integrity
3. Legendary Pink Dots - Flowers For The Silverman (live, 1983)
4. Sebastian Gandera - Le Marais Aux Images
5. Pupaum - As We Go
6. Furry Couch - Ambient Samples
7. Blitzoids / Jabon - A Summit And The Rain / Wrink
8. Devil Bell Hippies / Fools Paradise / Mike Krause / Murry Reams / Martian Collage Archives - What Men Fear Most (mix by SM)
9. German Shepherds - Help Me Lassie
10. Randy Greif - Becoming Animals, Pt. 2, Chicken (every town has an annual event) / Lock Track - SM
11. La Sonorite Jaune - L’Attente
12. Unit 731 - Rape Of The Amazon
13. German Shepherds - I Begged Billy Not To Beg
14. Eugene Chadbourne & the Baptist Church Quartet - Alfred Hitchwhat Is Truth? (mix by SM)
15. Legendary Pink Dots - Arzhklahh Olgeuezh / Prüümotje Kürss / They Don’t Horses, Shoot They? / Break Day (live, 1983)

This reissue project would not have been possible
without the encouragement and digital transfer
assistance from Mike Krause:

A note: These transfers to MP3 were made from vinyl, cleaned with SoundSoap, and tweaked in Audacity. A few clicks and pops remain. The master tapes are buried and oxidizing in the chaotic mess of my archives. Someday I mean to sort it all out and catalog the best of it. But until then, these digital versions will have to do. Thanks, Scott

For comments and communications, visit the Facebook page here