New York City’s own Midnight Records/J.D. Martignon Collection from the 1980s
An outstanding collection of ephemeral material (approximately 200 separate pieces) from the New York City record store/record label Midnight Records from the years 1984-1989. Midnight Records was founded by J.D. Martignon (who died in 2016), a French record dealer who has been called “the mover and shaker” behind the 1980s underground music scene and who “created the first record label in New York for neo-garage music” (see Bovey). Midnight Records (1984-2004) on 23rd Street became the go-to place for garage rock, punk, and other underground genres, and soon Martignon launched the Midnight Records label (1984-1993), first releasing an album for The Zantees. In the years that followed, other New York bands (including The Fuzztones, Outta Place, The Tryfles, Cheepskates) were joining the label, as well as other bands including Plan 9, Slickee Boys, Absolute Grey, Gothics, The Vipers, Deja Voodoo, The Iguanas, Dimentia 13, Plasticland, Suburban Nightmares, and Screaming Jay Hawkins. Midnight also produced Christmas and Compilation albums during this time as well.
Contents include: the hard-to-find 1984 The Midnight Records Book of 60’s Punk and Psychedelic Compilations (120 pp., compiled by Martignon and Baska), a rare flyer for “Das Furlines + Andy Warhol” advertising the band’s appearance on the second episode (of five) of Warhol’s short-lived MTV variety show, Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes, a typed signed letter from an NYC attorney representing the band The Mad Violets with attached recording agreement, a completed form (handwritten) with a plethora of Midnight Records information for the 1989 The Independent Source Directory, Midnight Records promo postcards and new release flyers, Midnight Records Presents Fuzz Fest ’84 concert flyer, Midnight Records Yuletide Party concert flyer, mock-ups for Midnight Records newsletter Midnight Times (including original art), Midnight Records promotional material (for bands including Paid Vacation, Deja Voodoo [discography & bios included], and Plan 9 (lots of Deja Voodoo and Plan 9), posters, song catalogs, and press releases from other labels (Enigma, Wax Trax! Records, Mirror Records, Twin Tone Records, Prospective Records, Susstones Records, Red Eye Records, Dionysus Records, Good Foot Records, et al), promo packets for Cowboy Junkies, Spacemen 3, Ray Condo and his Hardrock Goners, John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong, and Detroit Energy Asylum, dealer order forms from World Sound Exporters, mailer for an auction for The Velvet Underground, typed and handwritten correspondence to Midnight and to J.D. Martignon, stickers, show flyers, magazines (including Rip It Up, Rockerilla, and Buscadero), Christmas and other greeting cards with handwritten notes to Midnight and J.D. Martignon, clipped newspaper articles, two issues of Common Sense from 1960, a copy of Plan 9’s 1985 album “I’ve Just Killed a Man I Don’t Want to See Any Meat,” a U2 News Flash flyer, double sided, with album and merchandise information plus a collage of the band, Boy George, Madonna, and R.E.M. new album postcards, Astoria News #4 (September 24, 1986), Creeping Sounds Vol. One (Winter 1984), and Zap No. 1 (a Frank Zappa fanzine from France, 1985, with handwritten letter to Midnight Records attached by editor).
This collection offers a rare glimpse of the materials that arrived at Midnight Records in the mid-to-late 1980s and showcases the reach and impact of Martignon’s store and record label. An important piece of 1980s New York music history.
References: Seth Bovey, Five Years Ahead of My Time: Garage Rock from the 1950s to the Present (Reaktion, 2019); http://www.cheepskatesmovie.com/id56.html. Item #817