Lisa Fancher wasn’t planning on a legacy when she started Frontier Records. She released the Flyboys’ posthumous EP in 1980 and it failed to take off (no pun intended). She loved the experience, but that was two years of her life that just went “splat” when all was said and done. Maybe she’d release a few more singles, but it looked like her future in the record-selling business would be as a record store cashier.
Then she heard that one of her favorite bands, the Circle Jerks, wanted to put out an album. Fancher thought they planned to keep working with Posh Boy Records, who released the band’s first recording on the Rodney On The Roq compilation. But as her mom always said, “the point is trying, not succeeding.”
So she cold-called Circle Jerks drummer Lucky Lehrer, a notable figure in the L.A. punk scene (“he was always at the Whisky [a Go Go]”) and asked him, point blank, if they had a label for their album. They didn’t, but Lehrer wasn’t sure he wanted to work with Fancher. He was obnoxious about it, even saying “No girl’s putting out my record.” Yet after he hung up, he called around about her. “He got some other feedback and then gave me the thumbs up. But it’s probably the fact that they didn’t have anybody else,” Fancher says.
Released in 1980, the Circle Jerks’ debut album, Group Sex, was the first of a series of releases on Frontier Records that would become canon in West Coast punk. Next came Adolescents’ self-titled debut album, T.S.O.L.’s Dance With Me, China White’s Dangerzone, Christian Death’s Only Theatre Of Pain, and her biggest release of all time, the debut album from Suicidal Tendencies...