Within the early to mid-2010s, one of the vital influential spots in underground rock’n’roll music was in an Orange County strip mall. Situated close to Cal State Fullerton, not removed from Disneyland, Burger Information’ area housed a constellation of companies together with a brick-and-mortar retail store, label headquarters, venue, residence, and burgeoning garage-punk model. Between the mint-green partitions and cabinets of candy-colored cassettes, all-ages exhibits recurrently passed off, with medicine and alcohol apparently current. In July of 2020, when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced involving members of greater than a dozen bands on the Burger label, the shop was named because the setting for a number of the alleged abuse.
Inside days of the allegations changing into public, Burger announced it was shutting down a minimum of its label. However virtually a yr later, a store quietly stays open in its previous location, underneath a brand new identify. Although not, it seems, underneath new administration. Now referred to as White Rabbit Information, the place appears to be like considerably just like its predecessor, with the identical shade of paint on the partitions, the identical distinguished “cassettes” signal, and a few familiar-looking paintings. Images and movies on White Rabbit’s social media accounts appear to indicate the identical two cats that lived there beforehand, they usually have the identical names: Dee Dee and Queenie. In sure photos, the Burger brand remains to be seen on vinyl albums’ worth stickers. Whereas it is probably not a shock that enterprise continues — and that hire payments nonetheless must be paid — the small print of the brand new retailer haven’t been broadly reported.
In line with an Orange County on-line data search, Sean Bohrman registered the White Rabbit Information enterprise identify in a submitting dated September 30, 2020. Bohrman co-founded the Burger label in 2007 together with his highschool good friend Lee Rickard, when Bohrman was 25 and Rickard was 23; they began the label partly to launch music by their very own band, Thee Makeout Occasion. With one other enterprise associate, Bohrman opened the Burger retailer in 2009. Bohrman and Rickard even lived within the place. Bohrman advised KEXP journalist Emily Fox in a September 2020 interview that he used to work 16-hour days and needed to wash his hair in a faucet within the alley, as a result of there was no bathe.
Reached by cellphone at White Rabbit, Bohrman declined to touch upon the document to Pitchfork. Makes an attempt to succeed in Rickard, who will not be listed within the White Rabbit enterprise submitting, have been unsuccessful. (Full disclosure: This reporter interviewed Bohrman and Rickard for a 2010 Pitchfork feature.)
Burger launched materials on vinyl, CD, and digital platforms, however the label was virtually synonymous with cassettes, manufactured in runs of a pair hundred to a couple thousand. Primarily reissues but in addition authentic materials, Burger’s discography encompassed about 1,200 bands over its 13-year span, a very prolific schedule of releases. Some have been cult favorites, such because the cassette urgent of garage-rocker King Tuff’s 2008 debut album Was Lifeless, however the label’s choices additionally included a 2012 cassette model of a facet mission by Ryan Adams, in addition to a 2015 tape reissue of Inexperienced Day’s 1994 breakthrough album Dookie.
Burger was additionally identified for its fashionable live shows and festivals. Its Burgerama competition in close by Santa Ana drew hundreds of followers yearly with lineups that featured artists as distinguished as Weezer and Iggy Pop. In 2014, trend home Saint Laurent used the label’s music in its menswear exhibits. Burger had a YouTube sequence. It had a radio present.
Above all, for a time, Burger’s uncommon store-slash-office had a sure cachet. In a 2014 profile on Burger, the New York Times wrote, “Burger headquarters is a round the clock freak lab and prolonged promotional occurring, constructing a cultural motion from tiny sources.” Two years later, in a characteristic on cassette tapes, Rolling Stone dubbed Burger’s scruffy homebase “the epicenter of contemporary cassette music tradition.”