Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Top Ten Modern Detroit Garage Rock Rarities...

Some might say I’m an expert on current Detroit garage music history. One of those people who would say that is me. I’ve spent far too much time dedicated to the smallest droppings from the collective anuses of the “bands” from this fecund city, why not put my nerd-dom to good use? My criterion is pretty much just something that has artwork, thereby eliminating test-pressings (like the unreleased Hentchmen 7” on Icon) and plain demos (probably every band around) and most live tapes. I also wanted to pick stuff that doesn’t turn up too much, so while yes, the White Stripes “Top Special” is super-rare, it has appeared on eBay about a billion times, thus losing a lot of the collector allure, at least to me. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am or how the list is biased towards records I actually own or just how awesome I really am. I would love some more interaction on here.

  1. 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.

  1. the Wildbunch An Evening With the Many Moods of The Wildbunch’s Greatest Hits . . .Tonight! 8-track

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

Never available for sale,these hand-dubbed babies were given away t0 whoever. Of the three copies I’ve listened to, there seems to be some variation in track selection, mixes and artwork. I have a copy from Ben Swank that is actually a Johnny Walker cassette (back when Johnny Walker was Johnny Wirick with Doug Walker on drums) that is equally as rare. The only copy of that with artwork I’ve ever seen stolen from Tom Potter’s van sometime in the early 2000’s.

  1. 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.

  1. Clone Defects “Scissors Chop” limited sleeve

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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?

  1. 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”


Anonymous said...

dude. you totally blew off the "mck jggr and the btls" , unplayable , hand painted , hand stamped , hand fake blooded cd.it was handed out free at their one and only show, at the second stormy records location(they opened up for a dude making fart noises on a laptop in the corner) , it was great!!
mike "the double" clark has two copies ! make him give you one.

Distracted said...

I am salivating at the thoughts of the following mentions of singles...
Buff Medways on Cass?? Upholsterers anniversary 7" on Cass? Tell me you have a copies to spare! Ha! If you were me you'd want these nuggets released as much as I!

Wow It's amazing to see your copies of Lafayette Blues and Scissors chop hand done sleeves...

A WWH demo cassette sold for $10.50 yesterday under the radar as they say...
This is your best list yet (mr listmaker)
You left out a certain stripey 3" though...

luxivyig1 said...

I'm looking for this Bankstock CD since a long time.

Is there a way to get a copy ? Buy, trade ...


Patrick / France

Distracted said...

hmm i have 5 ish (4 and a half) out of 10 i think i'm doing well... And 3 out of the 8 of the close but no cigars... i'm happy...

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway i can get a listen to Master Supertone??? I would do a lot of things for even a listen. . .please help a brother out.

Aaron (MN)

p.s. just respond to this one and I can get back to you safely.

Alex said...

I'd dress up like Skeletor and harass people in the city to hear the Master Supertone album (EP?). How does that benefit anyone? It doesn't, I just really want to make a scene dressed as Skeletor and listen to more (rare) Soledad material. Might as well kill two birds with one stone.

Anonymous said...

Saw the WS'ers open for Wayne Kramer in '99 at Magic Stick. They were horrible. Sorry, but it is true. Most of the crowd left until they were done. However, the Go were good that evening, so was Kramers (though far too LOUD for that room).

Anonymous said...

Dude... Several of the White Stripes Hand Painted Lafayette Blues have traded hands privately in the past year or two, all upwards of $15,000 each or so goes the rumors on the boards.
WTB: ads on many collector boards for them go unanswered even when the buyers are offering $12k+ for them.

Go figure for something with 50,000,000,000 fans and only 15 of these to go around.

I think this keeps this item way up as #1 with not even a close 2nd...

JW Fan