“We’re just helping merch tables look better,” Shahab Zargari says of his DIY label, Geykido Comet Records. It’s an over-humble assessment by any estimation—GC, as the imprint is best known, has helped dozens of bands record and release music and has exposed waves of new listeners to those acts—but his sentiment stands: GC has never been about making a buck.
Launched by Zargari and would-be wife Heela Naqshband in Southern California, GC debuted with Intro5pect’s Education 7-inch in 1999. From there, the vinyl and CDs began to stack up—quite literally, in the couple’s two-bedroom Fullerton apartment/warehouse—as the label’s reputation for grassroots goodness spread. “We started by putting out records for our friends,” Zargari says. “We never even signed contracts with the bands.”
Even when paperwork crept into the equation as GC began working with bigger bands like Peelander-Z and Toys That Kill—and then Jello Biafra, The Bouncing Souls and many more on 2002 Afghan women’s benefit Dropping Food on Their Heads Is Not Enough—the terms were hardly traditional. “Sometimes we’d say, ‘We’ll pay for everything—recording, pressing the vinyl—and if we do 1,000 records, we’ll keep 800 and you’ll get 200,” Zargari explains. And if GC didn’t sell enough copies to break even? “A guy with a ’57 Chevy isn’t looking for a return on his investment; it’s his hobby. GC is my ’57 Chevy.”
In 2008, Zargari and Naqshband drove that Chevy to Las Vegas, where the pair and their label have been based since (Zargari works days as a VP for a local tech startup; Naqshband is a librarian; and her brother, Zabi, who also helps with the label, has been a mainstay on the punk scene in bands Holding Onto Sound and Illicitor). Though its pace has slowed some, GC still puts out a handful of projects each year, including new 15th-anniversary compilation A Snapshot of the 2014 Las Vegas Music Scene, which gathers tracks from 12 local punk (The Core, Mercy Music) and indie (Rusty Maples, Shayna Rain & The Gents) bands. The $10 package—180-gram vinyl, digital download and pro 38-page “zine”—makes for both solid scene entry point and way to delve in further. Oh, and the 400 copies come in an assortment of colors, all the better for keeping those merch tables gleaming.
Geykido Comet Records gcrecords.com