Nick Mango

Dec 10, 2011

Gulag - Greece not Soviet Union

This post is going to surprise a great many of people. Most have never heard of this band. For a long time I wasn't even sure what this record was. I've seen it around, and I've done a lot of research, but it's rare and the label release designation can be confusing unless you're a really dedicated collector of Wreck-age.

The name of this band is Gulag. They're an 80s Greek punk/hardcore band. You can't really find much information about them written in english, but from what I can gather they were one of only a handful of talented bands in the Greek music scene. They were also the first band ever released on Wreck-age records. That's correct. Even before Bad Trip's Positively Bad from 1990. Gulag's Big Talk was released in 1989 and has a release designation of WAR-001. The same designation as Bad Trip's 7". The question is why? Well I don't have the answer to that, but I can speculate. Let's take a look at the record first though.

It was only released on clear and Wreck-age put out 1000 copies. That's a lot for a greek punk band. The jacket is made of thin paper, that I'm surprised has lasted 20+ years. Here's where it gets interesting. I've seen this 7" before, and I've seen the insert pictured many times. But never in my life have I ever seen this promo sheet for the record.

In fact, I've never seen a promo sheet for any Wreck-age release. This one happened to be inside the 7" that I bought. I didn't even know it would be in there. Definitely a great surprise. The promo sheet gives a great english description of the band. It even points out that they released a full length in 1987, which I couldn't find information on anywhere. This is also where I got the pressing info. Originally I thought there was only 500 copies pressed.

It gets better though. When I turned the promo sheet over, I found this...

A 20 year old note written by Pavlos and Amber telling a zine the price of the record and that their new full length "Showyard" would be released soon. You can't get much cooler than that. What's really interesting is Gulag's full length from 1990 was not called "Showyard", it was called "In The Showyard". Small mistake, but not for the label set to release the record.

So back to it, why does this release have a 001 designation and Bad Trip's Positively Bad also have a 001 designation? Well here's my thought, I think Pavlos decided in 1990 to focus on NY releases, and I believe more specifically, english releases. The hand written note says their new full length would be out soon. But Wreck-Age didn't release that full length. It was released by Lazy Dog Records in Greece. I think Wreck-age intended to release that full length, but decided to start the label over and release only US bands. If you look at the releases from Wreck-age there's a pattern. The band releases an ep and then a full length. Yuppicide, Bad Trip, Mind Over Matter, SFA, Milhouse, etc, all did this. This is what Gulag was going to do, but either they said no, and Pavlos decided to reboot the label for US bands, or Pavlos said no because he wanted to reboot the label for US bands. Either way though, the Gulag 7" is the long lost Wreck-age release. One that's going to screw up a lot of collections.

Sorry Marcus :)


  1. Referring to "Discogs", the Gulag 7" is on "Wreck-age Records", a german sublabel of "Wreck-age". You can also find all other Gulag stuff on Discogs.

  2. Wow, this is really interesting. I'd never even eard of this before. How did you discover it's existence, Nick?

    Oh, and clearly Discogs isn't reliable.

    1. concerning Guleg, discogs is 100% reliable...

  3. eBay saved search for Wreck-age hahaha! Found it a couple years ago but it was like a buy it now for 100+ bucks and I couldn't pull the trigger not knowing if it was for real. Then I saw it for like 25 bucks buy it now a week or so ago, so I grabbed it. Worked out well.

  4. Interesting. Also really cool you got the promo sheet and the letter. Proves 100% that it is the exact same label, and not that there was an earlier label with the same name.

    Is there a label mailing address anywhere? And is it the same as the address on the Bad Trip 7"? Not that it matters. I'm just curious.

  5. The address at the top of the promo sheet is the correct NY address. Something else I didn't mention, the B side has the Wreck-age label, just like all the other releases. Kind of funny.

  6. hey there
    this is darek from greek label/mailorder scarecrow, thank you for this amazing post! gulag was realy great band at the end of 80's/early 90's.