Former Beat Beat Beat guitarist Stephen Hutton and longtime friend James Bell have wanted to start a record label since their days at Cherokee High School in Canton. When they were in 10th grade, circa '99, they bought a CD burner and a mixing board and thought they were good to go, but soon learned that there's a lot more to it than that.
In March, nearly a decade later, their first release – a 7-inch single by French punk quartet Crusaders of Love – hit the streets bearing the mark of Hutton's and Bell's Danger Records.
For Hutton, consummating Danger Records has been a learning experience, and getting a handle on what it means to be "the guy behind the label" is the most engaging part. "You have to do the dirty parts and the boring parts, and you have to stay on top of your shit," he says with an air of experience, still reeling from getting the label's first release out the door. "When you tell someone a record will be released by a certain date, you have to stick with it!"
Hutton has also learned a good deal about the ins and outs of the small label business from his roommate, Rob's House Records founder Trey Lindsay. "Whatever I do seems like small potatoes compared to him," Hutton laughs. "In the time it took me to do one record, he did like 10 of them! But that's good; it keeps me on my toes."
Danger Records has two more releases in the works. The first is another 7-inch by local hardcore band Bukkake Boys. Following that, the label will delve into a more ambitious undertaking that will take shape as a full-length retrospective LP/CD that uncovers the forgotten roots of Atlanta's early punk scene, tentatively titled A History of Atlanta Punk from '77 to '82.
"James has been collecting old Atlanta punk records for years," Hutton adds. "It's a cool idea and nobody else is doing it ... We just have to come up with a better name for it."