Vagrant Records

Vagrant Records
Parent company BMG Rights Management
Founded 1996
Founder Rich Egan, Jon Cohen
Distributor(s) Warner Music Group[1]
Genre Indie rock, alternative rock, rock
Country of origin United States
Location Santa Monica, California
Official website

Vagrant Records is an American record label based in California. It was founded in 1995 by Rich Egan, and is currently run by President Jon Cohen. The label focuses on rock but features artists in a variety of other genres including folk, soul, electronic, and pop. It is home to artists such as The 1975, Death Spells, Eels, Bad Suns, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, CRUISR, Active Child, PJ Harvey, School of Seven Bells, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, James Vincent McMorrow, Black Joe Lewis, Wake Owl, Blitzen Trapper, and Bombay Bicycle Club. Originally, Vagrant Records was mostly focused on emo bands such as Dashboard Confessional, Saves the Day, The Get Up Kids, and Alkaline Trio. In 2014, it was acquired by BMG Rights Management.[2]


The first band signed by Vagrant Records was Boxer and their album, The Hurt Process, was released on May 5, 1998. The pop-punk album notably featured drummer Chris Pennie, who would go on to play with Dillinger Escape Plan and Coheed and Cambria.

The Get Up Kids

In 1999, Vagrant Records signed Kansas City, Missouri, band, The Get Up Kids, and the band's Vagrant debut, Something to Write Home About, was released in September 1999. Egan and Cohen borrowed US$50,000 from Cohen's parents to fund the recording of the Get Up Kids album, derived from the mortgaging of the family house.[3] The album was wildly successful, and single-handedly made Vagrant Records one of the top independent labels in the country.[4][5]

Rapid growth

They signed Los Angeles punk rock trio Automatic 7 and released the bands 2nd album "Begger's Life" on July 25, 2000.They followed this by signing and releasing albums from heavyweights in the emo scene like Alkaline Trio, Saves the Day, and Dashboard Confessional. Dashboard Confessional's video for "Screaming Infidelities", directed by Maureen Egan and Matthew Barry, earned Vagrant the MTV2 award at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards.[6] Rich Egan is cited as saying the MTV Video Music Award win "changed everything" for the label.

Paul Westerberg

The label then went on to release solo material from The Replacements frontman, Paul Westerberg, signifying an initial departure from its roots of nineties punk and emo.[7]

Genre diversification

They soon signed Eels and released their album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. In 2005 the label acquired New York City indie label Startime International, with whom they co-released albums from The French Kicks and The Futureheads. During that time Vagrant signed The Hold Steady and The Lemonheads.

Poquito Records

In 2006 Vagrant formed a children's label imprint, Poquito Records and released Vagrant artist The New Amsterdams' side-project The Terrible Twos' debut album "If You Ever See an Owl".

Density Records

In 2007 Vagrant formed another imprint label, Density Records, which will release heavier material than has traditionally been released on the label.

On August 5, 2009, Rammstein, the Berlin-based industrial metal sextet, well known for its controversial and fiery live performances, signed a US marketing and distribution deal with Vagrant Records.[8]

Current bands

Former bands

See also


  1. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. Alternative Press Issue 204 "Say Goodnight, Mean Goodbye: The Oral History of The Get Up Kids"
  4. Paul, Aubin, About Vagrant Records, Punk News, retrieved 2008-03-02
  5. Grubbs, Eric (2008), Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore-1985-2007, iUniverse, pp. 224–266, ISBN 0-595-51835-4
  6. Heller, Greg (2000-09-10), Bands Seek Emotional Rescue, San Francisco Chronicle, retrieved 2008-03-02
  7. (2012). "Exclusive: Paul Westerberg Returns On Vagrant". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  9. "Vagrant signs John Ralston". Alternative Press. January 20, 2006. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  10. "Protest The Hero sign to Vagrant, touring with the Fall Of Troy". Alternative Press. January 24, 2006. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
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