Although Lock and Key Collective is preparing to celebrate its fourth birthday, its origins go back nearly a decade. Founder Dan Rock met Chris #2 from Anti-Flag when #2's other band, Whatever It Takes, toured with Rock's brother's band, Teddy Duchamp's Army. Rock ended up working for A-F Records for years.
After he left A-F, Rock decided to delve into the music business on his own, on a smaller scale. Thus was born Lock and Key -- which Rock hesitates to call a label, due to its boutique approach and its tendency to provide more than just cash for recording.
"At first it was just, ‘I have a full-time job, music is what I love; I'll put money into this and throw it against the wall,'" he explains. "But some of the bands now are selling more records; White Wives signed to Adeline. It's picking up."
Most of the label's releases have been small-run CDs packaged with love (including hand-screened packaging). Given Rock's day job as a designer and printer -- he runs Commonwealth Press on the South Side -- it's no surprise Lock and Key bands generally end up with T-shirts and promotional materials.
Lock and Key cut its teeth with young punk bands -- Red Team Blue Team, American Armada -- but has worked lately with a few bands whose roots go deeper. German Shepherd, which released an album on Lock and Key this year, features former members of Don Caballero and Creta Bourzia. Allies, which is releasing its second full-length next month on the imprint, includes two members of the early-'00s Pittsburgh band Pikadori.
Lock and Key celebrates its fourth birthday Oct. 7 with a double-header at the Smiling Moose: An all-ages appearance by Eastern Pennsylvania pop-punkers The Menzingers (now on Epitaph) will be followed by a late 21-and-over show that includes a reunion of the now-defunct Red Team Blue Team. What does Lock and Key want for its birthday?
"A decent turnout -- and for everybody to have a good time!" says Rock.
THE MENZINGERS with AMERICAN ARMADA, WORLD'S SCARIEST POLICE CHASES, PLAYOFF BEARD. 6:30 p.m. $10. All ages.
CAPTAIN WE'RE SINKING with ALLIES, RED TEAM BLUE TEAM. Free with admission to early show. 21 and over.
Both shows Fri., Oct. 7. Smiling Moose, 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. 412-431-4668 or www.smiling-moose.com