What Are Records?

What Are Records? (or W.A.R.?) is an independent record label located in Boulder, Colorado. Founded in New York City in 1991 by owner Rob Gordon, former director of A&R at EMI,[1] the company moved to Boulder in 1994.

What Are Records?
Founded1991 (1991)
FounderRob Gordon
Country of originU.S.
LocationBoulder, Colorado
Official websitewhatarerecords.com

W.A.R.? has released over 100 records by Frank Black (of The Pixies), Bill Burr, Stephen Lynch, The Samples, Maceo Parker, Melissa Ferrick, and Whitest Kids U' Know.[2]


What Are Records? was founded in Gordon's New York City loft in 1991. From the beginning, it fostered a direct-to-stores and direct-to-consumers distribution strategy[3] Friend of Gordon and The Samples then-manager,[4] Ted Guggenheim, urged W.A.R.? to sign The Samples and they soon were among the first signings to the label.[5] Other early acts included comedian Stephen Lynch,[6] funk saxophone legend Maceo Parker (known for having played in James Brown’s band), former Squeeze frontman Glen Tilbrook, Grammy and Tony-nominated composer and piano man David Yazbek, singer-songwriter David Wilcox, and singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick.

Gordon relocated the company to Boulder in 1991[7] and has been operating out of the offices designed by architect Charles Haertling ever since.[8]

Current artistsEdit

Catalog artistsEdit


  1. ^ Grossweiner, Bob; Cohen, Jane (February 1, 2002). "Industry Profile: Rob Gordon". Celebrity Access. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  2. ^ "The History of What Are Records?". What Are Records?. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  3. ^ Owsinski, Bobby (2014). Music 4.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age. Hal Leonard Corporation.
  4. ^ Sprague, David (July 2, 1995). "While Hollywood And W.A.R.? Negotiated, The Samples Had Time To Sample MCA". Billboard. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  5. ^ Roberts, Michael (September 1, 1998). "GOING TO WAR?". Westword. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  6. ^ Wenzel, John (August 3, 2013). "Why comedians Bill Burr, Stephen Lynch and Ben Roy work for Colorado music labels". The Denver Post. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  7. ^ Bell, Carrie (September 1, 1998). "Samples Return To Indie Roots". Billboard. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  8. ^ The Denver Eye (March 2, 2011). "Boulder Eye Clinic". The Denver Eye. Retrieved May 22, 2015.