I’m a wee bit sunburned this afternoon. We’re getting into that time of the year—just about hot enough to go swimming, nights out at the drive-in or mini-golf course, farmers markets are bustling. I’ll end up spending a lot of time with that first Donnas album; I always do this time of year. Unrefined, unsophisticated, and completely infectious, it has been the background music to many summer months since it was released. In fact, I could say as much about the entire catalogs of Super*Teem, Radio X, Pre-BS, and the first wave of Rip Off records. If you’re around my age, this may have been one point of entry into underground music; if you’re a little older, it may well have woken you from a jaded hibernation. It was an exciting time.

When he was fifteen, my younger brother Tommy sent a letter to Loli & the Chones. I’m not even sure what he wrote — I recall he asked if they’d play his sixteenth birthday party (we lived 3,000 miles away from them) but for all I know he professed his love for Loli as well. I doubt he still has the letter but, goddamn, did we think it was cool when he got a reply back from her (I ended up with the badge that she sent along). (Now I am just rambling, nostalgia works that way).

But I suspect readers of Terminal Boredom have all those records and memories as fond as I do about the era. So this time, we’ll just look at some pictures. Listening to records is plenty of fun but there’s a place as well for the record as an objet d’art and what better way to travel down that road than to talk about alternate sleeves (way more fun than colored vinyl!). Real sleeves weren’t ready and the band needed records to sell for a show or real sleeves were gone but the records weren’t or “something cool for our friends” or as a promotional item or “let’s create a rarity” (before this became the rule) — whatever the impetus for its creation, I love finding out that a record that I dig has an unusual variation floating out there (Exhibit A and Exhibit B).

It turns out that there is a seedy record-collector underbelly to my summertime soundtrack that is full of sleeve variations. Here are a few that I’ve managed to turn up…if you know of more or have any good stories about them, drop a line!

Teengenerate “Get Me Back” +2 (Wallabies 1993)
No fidelity, high energy punk, the A-side was an instant classic. Teengenerate wore their influences on their sleeves (and b-sides) as “Get Me Back” was backed by Nervous Eaters and Nerves covers. This classic debut set the template for a short if prolific life for the band. This variation seems to have been made for a US tour and presumably sold in California as that’s where all copies seem to originate from. The front features the same band photo as the normal cover but the layout makes this one the clear winner. The back of the sleeve folds over about a third of the way (a la Dangerhouse) and lists the song titles, band members, and label information.

The Fingers “The First Time” b/w “Barracuda” (Pre-BS 1991)
The gossip column in the fifth issue of Pure Filth fanzine told of The Fingers’ trip up to San Francisco with fellow Angelenos Our Band Sucks to play with the Mummies. The following day Trent and Maz recorded the two bands for a split EP to be released on Trent’s Pre-BS label. So the story goes, OBS’ material did not make the cut and The Fingers single was released with one side only (and as a nice symbolic gesture, the b-side was scratched out with a nail). Our tale begins a few years later with the appearance of a new pressing of the record—identical vinyl (sans scratched out flipside) so this was either pressed off the same plates or simply leftover vinyl. The pressing had a new sleeve, taking a shot at recently broken-hearted Finger (by then a Spoiled Brat and Rip Off) Shane White. Allegedly 300 of these were made; then again, allegedly this was “Licensed to Infected Records, Columbus Ohio” as well.

THE FINGERS - The First Time

Rip Offs “Savage Middle Aged” (Pure Filth 1995)
The insert reads “Very tiny amount of these made due to usual band/homosexual problems” which seems to support the rumor that this is the record that drove the dysfunctional Rip Offs to the point of no return and broke up the band. I guess not all parties wanted to see this released. Hmmm, whatever. Four great, early demo recordings from SF’s finest. Two sleeves here with the live action photo housing a red vinyl copy, although the old men standing around sleeve (that is Malt-o-Meal on the fridge) had the insert.

Savage Middle Aged Rip Offs

Statics “Theme” b/w “All Mixed Up” (Rip Off 1993)
One of many great records from Seattle’s Statics and the debut release from Rip Off Records, this was the archetype for teen garage punk in the mid-90s. But dig this alternate “promo” sleeve (it’s actually just a one-sided, one piece insert style sleeve). So who made Rip Off’s (or was this done by the band?) promo list?

The Statics Are Here

Supercharger “Sooprize Package For Mr. Mineo” 7” (Super*Teem 1996)
The first time I saw the band sleeve I surveyed the usual sources to see what they knew. I should’ve known what was coming—adamant statements that this was a) a later version made for a second batch of records, and b) that this was an earlier but rarer version made at the same time as the other sleeve. So who the fuck knows. Cool Dude Quarterly has already covered this one better than me, and he’s got a few more variations on the sleeve as well (bastard!)

He was cuter than Doris Day

Brentwoods “Go Little Sputnik”+2 (Radio X 1994)
Probably the best band to claim “ex-Supercharger”, the Brentwoods ooze good times. They packed their records with skits, dance-party anthems, and, well, some of the best rocknroll of the era. I’m not sure what to make of this Patty & The Brentwoods sleeve, though. I’m guessing this was made up by Darin to match up with some leftover vinyl.

Go Little Sputnik

Young Losers “All Gone” b/w “Private Affair”
As with the Motards below, this is a variation that I’d mentioned in my first poorly written, misguided attempt at a column many years ago but with only 12 copies of the “bench” sleeve I didn’t have much hope of finding a copy of the thing. It took a while, but a couple of copies turned up in Austin and my man was on the lookout (thanks again) so as a matter of housekeeping here ‘tis.

Young Losers - All Gone

Motards “I’m a Criminal” EP (self released 1994)
Well, I’m not sure that the John Wilson Experience is necessarily an “alternate” sleeve but let’s roll with it. This sleeve in homage to Motards frontman John Wilson was made during the height of the Sub Pop craze and sold at Sound Exchange in Austin. My copy is stuffed with a Procol Harum single…must’ve gotten mixed up at the pressing plant.

Motards - I'm A Criminal

That’s all I’ve got, but you can reach me at: cheaprewards-at-gmail.com or nostages.com, where I have some record trading bullshit, a catalog of all of the Nubees singles known to me (got one? Write me), and some sexy polaroids.

To catch up on past Cheap Rewards go here.

Get in touch:
Dave Hyde
PO Box 301
Brewster, NY 10509
E-mail: cheaprewards-at-gmail.com