Hello all and welcome to a new thing we're gonna call "Under the Dustcover". One of our favorite things about vinyl, as a medium, isn't the supposed "warmth" or collectability of different variants; no, it's the stories behind how the record you're holding in your hand came to be. Every record has a story behind it, whether it's a tale of a seemingly doomed recording session that churned out a classic record, or the journey an actual physical record took from the pressing plants to our doorstep. And to start out with, we figured we'd pick a record that's fascinated us since we got our hands on it - a 7" by The Draft, "Na Na Na".
To give some background on how this record came to be, we'll jump back a few years before this to 2005, when singer/guitarist Chuck Ragan stepped away from seminal Florida punk band Hot Water Music. The remaining three members (Chris Wolard, Jason Black, & George Rebelo) declared HWM to be on a full hiatus shortly after in 2006. During this time, the trio had been working with Gainesville guitarist Todd Rockhill and wound up in the seminal Salad Days Studio, helmed by Brian McTernan. Out of those sessions came the bands first, and only, full-length record In A Million Pieces, released in 2006 on Epitaph Records.
There were, however, some additional songs that didn't make the record, and out of those tracks came the first of three 7"s released through No Idea Records, "Na Na Na/Devil In The Shade". The A-side was recorded at Salad Days Studio in 2005, while the B-side was recorded with Rob McGregor at Goldentone Studio in Gainesville - and features a guest appearance from Brian Baker of Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, and Bad Religion. Released originally in 2007, the particular record we're looking at today was a repress put out in 2010.
The record was pressed on a greenish mix vinyl, which is a common practice for a lot of No Idea (and other) labels. Mixed color vinyls like these are usually created by combining the runoff from other records pressed at a plant - when a single color record is pressed, they are pressed into a circle and any vinyl product that isn't pressed into that circle is cut off and kept aside. (For up and coming bands or labels out there, going with a mixed color like this is a great way to press a record on something other than plain black vinyl and save a few bucks!)
The label for the A side of the record features artwork by Steak Mtn, an artist who got his start designing albums for his own band combatwoundedveteran and later became the go-to artist for a host of bands on No Idea, most notably Against Me! The B side is the iconic No Idea "stressface" logo, bound to be found somewhere on nearly every release put out by the Florida label.
The front (at the top of this article) and back of the sleeve stand out for being mostly white, with only black text on the back and black line work on the front. The crab monster, also designed by Steak Mtn., is credited as "Pinchy". A little bit above that we see the thing that makes this record so unique - under the lyrics for "Devil In The Shade", we see the numbering out of 75, plus a date and a credit: "Coloring by Ivo and Vivie". That's right - each sleeve was colored by one of these two youngsters, presumably the kids of either one of the band members or label heads (didn't go too far looking into that, because this is only 8 years old and they're still kids today).
Each record has its own unique version of Pinchy - ours has a minty green body with orange tentacles and pink & purple skulls, plus tons of waters droplets around and under him. The band's name is highlighted in yellow with blue in the cloud surrounding it - I've seen versions of this cover where each tentacle is a different color, or there's no blue water outlines, or the crab body is red. That's what's so fun about this - not only is this limited to less than a hundred copies in existence, but each one of those copies has its own color scheme and one of a kind design.
I say "less than a hundred copies" because it's well-known that pressing numbers are usually more approximate than ironclad - vinyl pressing machines run fast and it's very common to have slightly more or less copies than planned press out (the plants will usually err on the side of a few extra copies, though).
When we take a closer look at the back of the sleeve, we can see that this record is technically listed as #79 out of the run of 75, and that one of our aspiring artists has crossed out "APRIL 2010" and helpfully put in June 2011 - which makes it seem like a few copies of the overrun were forgotten and completed about a year after the initial run.
The story behind this record is a great way to sum up why we fell in love with collecting vinyl in the first place. Not only do you have an amazing lineup of some of the biggest names in punk rock (the dude from Minor Threat is here!), but you have them sharing their passion with the people they love the most, and helping them be a part of it! It's a lot less embarrassing way to remember your childhood than an album full of old baby pictures, that's for sure.