Shahab Zargari and Heela Naqshband had just started dating when Geykido Comet Records’ first 7-inch came back from the pressing plant. The pair threw a party, hand-stuffing each sleeve on the floor of Zargari’s California apartment. “That was literally GC No. 1,” he explains inside Downtown’s Vesta Coffee Roasters. That was 20 years ago.
Armed with a box full of merch, Zargari takes me through GC’s catalog, skimming CDs, books and pins that chronicle the past two decades of music he and his wife put out on their small, Vegas-based indie label. One compilation, Dropping Food on Their Heads Is Not Enough, stands out. A benefit record for the Revolutionary Association for the Women of Afghanistan, Dropping Food was released in 2002, one year after the War in Afghanistan began, and includes tracks from Anti-Flag and Jello Biafra, plus a free insert with art from Shepard Fairey.
Zargari, who is Iranian, and Naqshband, who is Afghan, wanted to bring attention to the plight Afghani women and children were facing. “I don’t want to stay quiet,” Zargari says. “If there’s a way [GC Records] can inspire others to think about humanity and community, then I think I’m doing my part.”
Part of it, Zargari says, traces back to his first dalliance with punk and performance art as a kid growing up in LA. It’s also why GC offers so much more than music. Browse GC Records’ website—gcrecords.com—and you’ll find apparel, DVDs and books, the latter category including art anthology The Industry Standard featuring Pendleton Ward, Linda Zacks and others.
GC is home to a swath of local bands, plus out-of-state acts like Gasoline Kills (Orange County, California) and Enemy of the Sun (Washington, D.C.). The label will celebrates its 20-year anniversary on June 29 at the Dive Bar with performances from Vegas bands Bogtrotter’s Union, Illicitor, Jesse Pino & The Vital Signs, Lawn Mower Death Riders and The Rifleman LV, plus a handful of California acts.
“If Crass had never released [its] albums, I never would have fallen into the progressive mindset that I have today,” Zargari says. “Who knows where I would have been. So I’m hoping with all these different touch points, we’re giving that kind of inspiration to whoever comes into contact with it.”
Geykido Comet Records 20th Anniversary Party June 29, 1 p.m., free. Dive Bar, 702-586-3483.