- the White Stripes Lafayette Blues hand-painted sleeve
Sometimes called “the Rent-Payer” and you all know the story…15 sleeves hand-painted by Jack White and Dave Buick for the record release party as the proper printed sleeves were not yet ready. I ran the merch table that night. The initial plan was to sell them in the order they were numbered. But no one wanted to buy the first one (or was it be the first one?) and Dave/Jack eventually just told me to let people pick which one they wanted.
At $6 each they just barely sold out…only one person came up to ask about them after they’d sold out. For such a rarity, it’s appeared on eBay quite a few times. After thoroughly convincing Tom Potter that he bought his copy (and that Jack hadn’t given it to him) he put his on eBay with an opening bid of $999. No takers. He eventually sold it for $800 and used the money to buy stage clothes for the Detroit City Council. Another 3 copies have been sold on eBay, usually in the $2700 range.
No idea how many copies of this monster were made, but you can be sure it was barely any. Cory Martin, former ‘bunch drummer under the stickname “M” once offered to make me a copy if I only provided him with a blank 8-track. No idea why I didn’t go out right then and find
one. I’ve never seen one for sale.
3. Soledad Brothers “Master Supertone” cassette
- the Come-Ons untitled cassettes
I believe there are three different untitled Come-Ons cassettes. My favorite (and the one pictured below) was recorded while Pat and
Deanne still lived in Pittsburgh. Included are covers of the MC5’s “Tonight” and the Stooges “Dirt” that are phenomenal. I’ve repeatedly asked permission to release them on a 7” for Cass and Deanne perennially shoots me down. I might just do 100 lathe-cut copies and never tell her. Better to ask forgiveness than permission. I’ve only ever seen two copies of this one and they were both at Mick Collins’ place. I made him give me one.
Picking a limited Clone Defects sleeve for this list is like trying to pick a tabloid starlet you want to shoot…just so many to choose from. With the sleeves for the “Lizard Boy” EP delayed, lots of those singles were decorated with personalized artwork (some wrapped in used guitar strings, colored with crayon, spray-painted, one with a used fork) not to mention the blue variant on the actual sleeve, the original intended sleeve before the pink sleeve proved to look better. What we have here is an initial run of 15 copies of the Clone Defects sleeve for “Scissors Chop”. While the front-cover art stayed the same, the back (above) is completely different. Not seen too often, Dave Buick actually found and bought one this year at the 4th Street Fair.
- Various Artists “Bankstock II” CD
I only know about this because of its mention on the Grunnen Rocks website. Once I got into all these bands, I realized I’d NEVER seen this CD anywhere. As he would so many other times, Dave Buick came to the rescue. He had two copies. I made him give me one. The Demolition Doll Rods do inspired takes on “I Wanna O.D.” and “Real Cool Time” and the classic Detroit Cobras line-up does “Shout Bamalama” (unlisted on the tracklist) and “Maria Christina” complete with harmonica solo. The highlight though is the live songs from Blacktop, supposedly not recorded on the same weekend as the rest of the other bands. With the only other Blacktop live recording available being an underwater recording from a Costa Mesa gig, these songs serve as a needed reminder of how great this band was. It’s also nice hearing these songs with Mick’s full voice, as the album was recorded while he had laryngitis. “I Think It’s Gonna Rain” and “Planet Earth (Goddam!)” are arguably the best songs the band ever did and these versions only further that claim. “44 Blues” is tits. Someone should bootleg this.
- Rocket 455 “Bum Ticker” w/ rocket launcher 7”
At this point, still never seen by me. Its existence has only been relayed to me by late night campfire light by one Dion Fischer. He describes a party at Jeff Meier’s house after a Rocket 455 show in which the band was handing out copies of its first single with actual functioning missile launchers in the sleeve. The launchers were purchased from Zakoor Novelty on Woodward in Detroit. The artwork (above) is from the actual packaging of the launcher and was also re-appropriated for the single sleeve. Fischer estimates only 10-15 of these were around. I’m too lazy to ask anyone else. Sadly, Fischer’s missile was destroyed by a vengeful cousin.
- the Dirtbombs “Earthquake Heart” w/ silk-screened b-side
I wasn’t going to put two Dirtbombs releases on here, so it was very hard to choose. I could’ve just as easily picked the Solid Sex Lovie Doll single as it was limited to 300 copies with three different sleeve designs (one in an edition of 87). Or the “Pray for Pills” initial 100 hand-numbered and rubber-stamped copies from two days after we recorded the songs. I guess when it comes to sheer numbers, there are only 80 of these “Earthquake Heart” singles with an image of Mick silk-screened on the b-side by the wonderful Henrietta Harrison of Auckland, NZ. The single was pressed up mainly for a show on April 4th, 2004 at the King’s Arms in Auckland. I think most of the silk-screened copies were distributed at that show, but a handful snuck out into orders for overseas distributors.
- Muldoons “Red and Black” with hand-drawn labels
I wasn’t going to put two Cass releases on the list. I could’ve just as easily picked the Tin Knocker single as it was never commercially available, or the Buff Medways single that was pressed and never came out or even the Muldoons X-mas single or even the Upholsterers single. But in terms of sheer numbers, the first 50 copies of the Muldoons single still win. With Hunt and Shane working overtime, they drew squiggles and hang-men and other creative blurps for all 50 of these. Sold only at their first live show on October 2nd, 2005 as surprise unlisted guests opening for the White Stripes at the Masonic Temple. There is also a slight variation on the sleeve art between this edition and the proper one. At only one-year old this sucker has already commanded $120 on eBay. Who knows what one on blue vinyl would go for?
- Slumber Party “3” LP with stencil spray-painted covers
Another one I have never seen. Limited to 30 copies before the stencil wore out and the Young Soul Rebels crew just caved in and printed up proper LP jackets.
Close but no cigars:
Demolition Doll Rods self-released 7”
Detroit City Council full-length CD
the Go “Supercuts” LP
Gore Gore Girls demo CD
Cyril Lords original photocopied 7” sleeve
Hentchmen “Teenage Letter” picture sleeve
Soledad Brothers gray vinyl Italy 7”
Von Bondies blue vinyl D-Wrecked-Hit 7”