Starting a record label is like opening a new restaurant. You want it to be a legitimate business that offers a great product, you want to cater to people who really love what you have to offer and keep coming back, and you realistically don’t have a long shelf life. Such is the case for both that really great taco stand up the street from my place and Drive-Thru Records.

Drive-Thru Records was founded in 1996. For a long time it was one of the premier record labels for pop-punk bands emerging during the genre’s heyday from the late-1990s to the early-2000s. With a slew of bands like Fenix TX, Something Corporate, Dashboard Confessional, RX Bandits, New Found Glory, and Steel Train on the roster, they were one of the hottest labels of the era, launching many careers in the process.

One of their first releases was from a band called Riverfenix, a tribute to the late actor of the same name (different spelling). The actor’s family was displeased with the band’s usage, and the name was changed to Fenix TX. A record and an opening slot on a Blink-182 tour later, they were kind of a hit band for a minute. After they split from Drive-Thru, the song “All My Fault” brought them to audiences all over America.

My personal favorite band from Drive-Thru Records is still writing, recording, and touring, though they have gone through many phases and changes. RX Bandits began as sort of a progressive ska punk band that didn’t ever really fit the mold, nor would they want to. Their intense social and political views kept them out of the limelight for a long time. Now after nearly 20 years of evolution, they have a passionate following that finds them able to do what they want, the way they want to do it.

New Found Glory is a perfect example of a band that fit the genre and thrived on Drive-Thru Records. Their overall sound was a slightly heavier punk rock with a killer drummer and a singer that had the stereotypical Fat Mike (NOFX) nasally rip off. They were kind of huge for a hot minute, headlining the Honda Civic Tour with Good Charlotte and earning numerous gold records, and are still releasing well-received albums to this day. If one band really nails that overall sound of Drive-Thru Records, it’s New Found Glory.

An artist that started on Drive-Thru Records that has since made an interesting career progression is LAmb favorite Jack Antonoff. Beginning with the Drive-Thru band Steel Train, his career has exploded from credible indie artist to steadily rising star. As a Drive-Thru band, Steel Train released a few EPs and two albums to moderate success. Later, Antonoff would join fun., a band that would eventually share the stage with Queen at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. From there he started his own project, Bleachers, whose debut made our Top 50 Albums of 2014 list. At 30 years old, this guy still has plenty of career left in front of him.

Once the height of popular rock, Drive-Thru Records put out its final release in 2008. Bands like New Found Glory, Hellogoodbye, and Something Corporate made names for themselves internationally through the label, and while it may be forgotten in the next 10 years, Drive-Thru helped shape my youth and was partially responsible for creating a sound that influenced a generation.

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Drive-Thru Records