Skip Groff, a Washington, D.C. record store owner who produced and championed the city’s seminal hardcore punk acts, has died at the age of 70. Groff’s wife Kelly confirmed to WTOP that the owner of D.C.’s Yesterday & Today suffered a seizure Monday and died at a nearby hospital.
Dischord Records’ Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson, both members of Minor Threat and their predecessor the Teen Idles, penned a tribute to Groff, who produced Minor Threat’s self-titled EP as well as other hardcore acts that often frequented and worked at Yesterday & Today.
“To say that Dischord Records wouldn’t exist had it not been for Skip isn’t really a stretch,” the label wrote. “It was Skip that took the Teen Idles to Inner Ear Studio back in 1980 to record what would become Dischord #1 and it was Skip, having gone through the process with his own Limp Record label, that walked us through the steps of getting a record pressed.”
MacKaye and Nelson continued, “And it was Skip’s record shop, Yesterday and Today, that sold our records and it was in Skip’s trust in us and belief in the label that led him to lend us money to press records when we were completely broke.”
In an article commemorating the 40th anniversary of Yesterday & Today, Groff told WTOP, “With 45s, it’s the essence of songs being an A-side and a B-side, and putting all your money where your mouth is… My 45 shop was strictly 7-inch 45s — that’s always been my passion and my love.”
Groff added of recording Teen Idles’ Minor Disturbance EP in 1980, “I thought we did a pretty good job, and it’s certainly become a legendary record over a period of time.”
In 2016, Rolling Stone named Minor Threat’s Complete Discography, featuring the Groff-produced EPs, as the 27th greatest punk album of all time. “Skip clearly sought and found joy in music and it was through the vernacular of music that he empowered so many to experience the same,” Dischord Records wrote.
A few thoughts from Ian and Jeff in rememberance of Skip Groff. It’s hardly a stretch to say that without Skip, Dischord Records wouldn’t exist. pic.twitter.com/sSKJot4nAv
— Dischord Records (@dischordrecords) February 20, 2019