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Ken and Dub

This is how “bad” it has become. When you enter “Dittolino Discs” into Google you get 20 hits ** every single one of them pointing back at this blog**!! How can I do research this way? OK, there may only have been less than 50 people since the invention of the internet and search engines to enter that label name but that is beside the point. Well, here we go then, adding THE Dittolini Disc master posts then.

floydboots.com have always maintained that: “Whilst together Dub & Ken also released albums on….  Dittolino Discs”

 

Dittolini lbl

Where it gets really interesting when you look up the entries for the sole Dittolino Pink Floyd title – LIVE :

 

Pink Floyd Live 3

and the one it is based on, according to them: TMOQ’s ‘missing in Hot Wacks’ double, LIVE (2804):

 

Pink Floyd 2804 gree

 

floydboots.com then writes: “ANOTHER ODDITY IS THAT TMOQ WERE ALSO CERTAINLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DITTOLINO RECORD LABEL AND THIS TITLE WAS RELEASED ON DITTOLINO DISCS AS PINK FLOYD ‘LIVE’, BUT DIFFERENT PRESSING PLATES WERE USED (D2 A/D)…

“THIS TITLE WAS NOT LISTED IN THE ‘OFFICIAL’ TMOQ CATALOGUE WHICH WAS IN FACT PRODUCED SOLELY BY ‘DUB’ AFTER THE SPLIT, SO IT IS REASONABLE REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT THIS ALBUM IS ENTIRELY THE WORK OF ‘KEN’ ON HIS OWN. “

[In regards to the finding that two sources exist for this Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 23 October 1970, recording, the experts do seem to be in agreement that what can be found on the vinyl bootlegs ‘TMOQ 2804’ and LIVE (Dittolino)  and the 1980s reissue CYMBALINE (TMOQ) all came from the same source tape – see http://roio.prv.pl/Pink%20Floyd%20Solo.html]

***

So, if we decide to follow the logic that ‘2804’ was Ken’s work, could we then also infer that Dittolini Discs was all Ken? This label was pressed in the Southern California as well, I would venture a guess, so that is another link.

What speaks against this is that Ken has never mentioned having been behind the Dittolino titles (not that there were that many). Any opinions on this?

031:

Reed L BHMFReed L BHMF disc

This seems to have been the point where the infamous shipping problems started: “150 pressed from the original WRMB plates. Most were lost in shipping. Exm.”

Revisit the complete post for the Sydney recording under this link.

032:

Pink Floyd 032 ptPink Floyd 032Pink Floyd 032 disc

“Roughly Half of the 200 run were lost in shipment.”

Bootleg background can be found here.

****

033:

Flamin Groovies RoxyFlamin Groovies Roxy disc

“Although 200 copies were pressed on blue vinyl, this is an extremely rare record as most of the copies were lost in shipment.”

Bootleg background info to be found here.

****

034:

Stewart R Net Wht 034Stewart R Net Wht 034 disc

“150 pressed on MCV & 150 pressed on black vinyl.”

Source: Dayto, OH – Hara Arena – 17 July 1971 [the bands 4th American Tour. And right after the release of their Every Picture Tells A Story album]

710717_Dayton

Side 1: Three Button Hand Me Down / Maybe I’m Amazed / Country Comforts / Love In Vain        Side2:  Had Me A Real Good Time-Every Picture Tells A Story / Around The Plynth-An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down-Gasoline Alley-Around The Plynth

Quality:  Decent, “Exm, vocals a bit weak”, according to Hot Wacks. The ROOTIE NEWTON ROLL PRESENTATIONS version is listed as “Exs”, probably incorrect.

This album had previously been released by TMOQ as and Dittolino/ROOTIE NEWTON ROLL PRESENTATIONS  #5407 and I suspect it’s a reissue from the TMOQ plates.

Performance was the last and is the rarest of the four TMOQ Rod Stewart & The Faces titles, It was never assigned a 710XX number and is only known by its matrix # 1867.  The other three are # 71016 Plynth, # 71052 Had Me A Real Good Time and # 1817 Dancing In The Street .

Date of release: 1974 based on the closest previous release, a reissue of Dylan’s Troubled Troubadour with four extra tracks not added to the newly created insert (showing images from his 1974 live dates) and with the matrix # 1865 B / D (see final image in this post).

Stewart R & Faces Performance 1867 bluStewart R & Faces Performance 1867 tan

In discussing the TMOQ catalogue dated July 1st 1973, the initiator of the 2006 thread “Homegenizing TMOQ” on recordcollectorsguild.org wrote: “add to the previous booklet the statement “Be sure it’s a genuine “Trade Mark of Quality disc” (Dub’s?). […] Should this booklet be Dubs, according to the “genuine disc” statement, the common believe[sic] that credits the four-figures matrixes 18XX, 28XX to Ken’s records only should be revised.”

Ken: “Until [Dub] went to printed jackets I had everything he had, plus everything I was making. There were a few where I couldn’t get stampers off his mothers, either because the mother was damaged or he’d skipped that part of the process or he didn’t leave the mother at Lewis. Winter Tour and Stones at the Hollywood Palladium come to mind. But I might be wrong about those. In those few cases, my records would have a different stamper number. But for the most part, Lewis pretty much made me whatever I wanted of his.

Dub and I did not do the Greatful Dead Mammery [sic] record or the Buffalo Springfield or that Double ELP. They were done by my college pal Malcolm.

I don’t ever remember scratching out a stamper number, but I do know that some of my records had numbers changed. I had a series of different partners and pressed records in six different plants and oftentimes the same record would be given a new title and perhaps that’s why some of my stamper numbers got changed.”

***

Stewart R Net Wht altStewart R Net Wht alt 1

As can be seen in the detail above, the title “Performance”is quoted here, leading me to believe that the TMOQ version came out first. Also “Love In Vain” is correctly titled here, while it is listed as “It’s All Over Now” on the insert sheets for Performance.

Stewart R Net Wht 034 Ditto

****

TMOQ 1865:

Dylan Troubl Trouba 1865

“The larger pressing plants we used, used good vinyl (virgin vinyl). The smaller ones would punch out the labels, grind up the vinyl and reuse it and this made for some clicks and pops as that vinyl had already been heated before and also no matter how hard they tried, tiny bits of paper from those labels invariably wound up in the mix. Also, there was the issue of how long you left the record in the press. A full minute made for a much better pressing than a record that was only in for twenty or thirty seconds. Those small plants wanted to make records as fast as possible. And two of those small plants that we used were pretty doggoned filthy. Dirt and dust in the vinyl before it got into the press didn’t exactly make for a good sounding record.

When we went to the bigger plants (and believe me, we wound up at the biggest) they had the vinyl come out of hoppers above the press and only used virgin vinyl, but the small ones saved the crap, gave it to us, because could we complain, go somewhere else? Well, eventually we did.”

“Yeah that pesky band between the songs on an LP. On the studio versions we would use about three seconds of paper tape, so whoever was cutting the record would know to put a band there (sometimes we didn’t thought). On the live albums we didn’t do that, didn’t know you could, though I wondered how the real companies did it. Then one day I was sitting by the lathe when the applause came on after the first song and this guy running the machine reached down and turned a knob and, as if by magic, a band appeared on the acetate and then I had to start putting song times on the tape box to warn him when to make the bands. It was so much easier when all I had to worry about was was the side over twenty-two minutes, but under twenty-eight.”

 

We remember this part from an earlier short Q&A session Ken did:

Q: Do you have a list which TMOQ titles you made on CV?

A: […]Just about every TMOQ record I did was available on colored vinyl at one time or another. We didn’t charge more for colored vinyl and we used it when we could get it. Usually when we pressed at Lewis.

“The CV records all came from one pressing plant. If they had it, they used it. A couple of the guys there liked to experiment and that’s why you have splash vinyl.

I spent two months there pressing records, because a couple of employees quit and Greg (my partner at the time) and myself really needed product. This was before we went to the big plants. We pressed only CV and made many different combinations, especially with splash white vinyl. We could be working along, making a bunch of records red, then all of a sudden, to break the monotony, we’d make a few multicolored or splash.

Led Zep Final Option disc

This particular pressing plant had all old presses, so you could change up pretty quick. We’d usually make a hundred records or so, then switch to something else. So it’s possible to get any of the early TMQ records on color, multicolor or splash vinyl. There just is no rhyme or reason for it.

Bowie In America splash

Also, on a few occasions, we’d order the whole first run, usually two hundred or so records at the time, colored, white or splashed. Later, after we shifted to the big plants, colored vinyl was no longer an option. If we ordered a hundred of a title on colored vinyl, we usually didn’t specify color. The colored vinyl at that old plant came in slabs that you heated on a hot plate, then folded, then put in the press. Each rectangular slab made one record, so it was very easy to mix the colors. Some of the hundred record run would be red, blue, green, splash or any number of colors. So as far as identification is concerned, the color of the vinyl doesn’t help. Also, I’m afraid the stamper numbers don’t help me either. If the plant had CV at the time, I asked them to use it. If they didn’t, well they didn’t. I never held up pressing a record because the plant was out of CV and I don’t think Dub did either.

Deep Purple Purple For A Day

The last things we did on colored vinyl there (if I remember right) were the two Dylan Box sets. Striptease and Toasted: the Australian Collection. We did about three hundred and fifty of each and we pressed them at the same time and we went to a lot of effort to try and make one set all green, another all red, another all blue, etc. Of course we had to mix some of the sets.

Dylan Striptease box

I know the popular belief is that we did five hundred, but back then they were specialty items and a whole bunch of trouble. It was much easier to do the color jackets then at the big plants, because we didn’t have to stuff the records. They came shrink wrapped and ready to go, so we didn’t even have to take them out of the boxes. The box sets were a whole bunch of work and at the time we didn’t think they were worth all the effort.

Much later, with a different partner, I made the mega Zeppelin box set on CV. Only a hundred of those [I believe 150 is the correct number]. My partner at the time was behind the whole thing. He hadn’t done a box set before and wasn’t aware of all the work. But to his everlasting credit, I must say we made a pretty penny off that one, so it was worth all the bother.”

Led Zep Final Option

The splash white disc image used above is one of the records from this massive set that will eventually sell for five figures in the future.

Led Zep Final Option box side

As for the matrix numbers, we didn’t think too much about that with the early ones. The guy cutting the acetate probably decided in some of the cases. Then Dub came up with the series idea. Dr. Telly wanted to only do a hundred records, starting at 1900 through 1999. I convinced him to assist me with TAKRWM which I think started at 1800. Sometimes we’d change the numbers for one reason or another.”

  • “Regular pig” vs. “smoking pig”:

It would be wrong to assume that the regular pig was Dubs only. I did many regular pigs after we split up, oftentimes I would make the same record with different labels, sometimes regular pig, sometimes smoking. Sometimes I just used whatever labels I had on hand. And Dub and I used often used stampers off the same mothers, so the records would be exactly the same. I got my pig labels and stickers the same place he got his and he got his covers the same place I got mine.

The clue as to whose record was whose might be in the rubber stamp impressions. Ten or maybe fifteen of Dub’s and my rubber stamps were exactly the same, but after we split up I went to a different place for my stamps as Dub lived in Glendale and I lived in Long Beach. There was a rubber stamp place close to where I lived, so I went there for mine. So most of the TMOQ records will be out there with slightly different rubber stamps. It would probably be hard to tell, unless you knew exactly what you were looking for, but a couple of mine had straight quotes around the title and all of Dub’s had curly quotes. However, I soon caught this and ordered new stamps with curly quotes. So if you find a “Freeze Out” or a “John Birch” with straight quotes around the title, you’ve found something rare.

If today you were to hold up one of my later Great White Wonders next to Dubs, you might see a bit of a difference in the stamp impression, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you which was which, but other than that, they were exactly the same. Very confusing, I know, but back then we were not planning on anybody caring about all this three decades later.

However, we were about making the best records possible. There never has been a perfectionist like Dub. He did his very best on every record he mastered. And I know what you mean by every record being unique, there were some I only made fifty copies of with a stamp, then did the rest in inserts, I think I did that just to confuse people. But all that said, we still never thought it would last. In fact for the longest time we thought each record would be our last. We made quick money and we spent if fast, because we were young and dumb and having a lot of fun.

From my point of view (and I’m sure Dub’s), There were no pre TMoQ records. Once Dub came up with the pig idea, we shifted the first five or six of our records over. There was nobody else before us. And until Rubber Dubber (with the exception of Norty and Ben), nobody after, except for that one Canadian guy who did that one Beatles’ record. Then, all of a sudden there was Troubled Troubadour, Herbie Howard, CBM Dave, Wooden Nickel, Liver copies galore and the floodgates were open.

I remember one time Dub and I were recording Phil Ochs at the Troubadour [Phil Ochs played at least a dozen shows there from January to February 1, 1970]. He was using the same shotgun mic he’d used to record Liver. The waitresses made sure to not walk in front of our table, kept the area between Dub’s mic and the stage clear, so as not to mess up the recording. We must have looked so official to her with our long hair and hippy clothes. I don’t have that tape anymore, wish I did.”

  • On the later years, repackaging old titles, etc.:

“Boy I’ll tell you this thread has got me to thinking about how greedy we got. Later, looking for an easy buck, we repackaged the Striptease stuff as five double record sets. Those were on black vinyl, if I remember right, because we wouldn’t have been at that old plant anymore. We also made a pretty cheesy cover that we used generically for the toasted box records (I can’t remember what it looked like, but I know it was cheesy), releasing them as five double records as well. God we were a bit slimy, repackaging that stuff over and over again. It wasn’t much fun in those later days. We were just going through the motions, trying to make money on old stampers, when it wouldn’t have been very much harder putting out something new. Lord knows, there was plenty of stuff out there.

I remember TAKRL 1900 was the Beatles live in Japan, because we did so many and we were going to start a special new label with that one. We had the rubber stamp made up and everything. But at the last minute, Dr. Telly came into the picture and Kornyphone was born. So that rubber stamp never got used (except for a couple records we sent to a guy in New York who was supposed to send them to a big account in Japan).

It was all so long ago and I seem to mostly remember the fun stuff, but it wasn’t always that way. Plus, I have to admit, I may be remembering stuff out of order, or maybe even glamorizing it a bit.

Maybe I should follow my own advice and go to some of these sites and get my facts straight, but I’m afraid if I do that, that it’ll color what I have to say. So, I guess I won’t. I’ll just keep writing it the way I remember it, without refreshing my memory with useless facts. You all will just have to remember that I am a fiction writer, and fiction writers like to tell a good story. So just take everything I say with a grain of sand.

As for your questions about various groups, if it’s not Dylan, the Beatles or the Stones, it would be info my brain has long ago flushed. And even regarding those groups, I wouldn’t know anything about stamper numbers other than what I have already posted here. I only have general knowledge, you’ll have to go elsewhere, I’m afraid, for specific knowledge. I don’t own any records anymore, or even CDs. All my music is on my hard drive. For me it was always about the music, not about the medium it was on.

Also, I will tell you that you were a bit wrong in what you told Steve about Homogenized Beatles. However, that’s a story I am going to address in one of my chapters, so you’ll have to wait on that. What Steve has is the test pressing. The first two records I did after Dub and I split were that one and the Reedy River. Steve has the test pressings for both. I was at a new plant and they didn’t know they were making bootlegs, so they naturally thought I’d want test pressings.

As far as matrix numbers and release dates, I don’t know any. And as far as what came before what, if you read through these posts you’ll see that I’ve contradicted myself on that and I probably will again. Which is true? I don’t know. Maybe neither. My posts here are about the way it coulda happened, not necessarily the way it did.

What I’m about here is the why of it all, the fun, the adventure and the downside. I’m not a collector, never was, so I don’t look at it from that kind of perspective. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve always considered bootlegging the same as stealing, always considered myself just a lucky crook. Our only justification was that we had no money and we wanted some. We did it for the money, me and Dub. We liked the music, sure, but we did it for the money. If we told you different, we’d be lying.

I don’t want to depreciate what I did either. We did it for the money, but it was exciting as all get out. However, you have to remember we were just kids. We thought (wrongly as it turned out) that we were breaking the law. We didn’t know we were opening the floodgates, didn’t have any sense that what we were doing was going to be important someday. Sure, we knew guys like B. Mitch Reed were playing our records and guys like Grell Marcus were writing about them, but we really thought it would all blow over. Either that, or we’d get caught by the cops and get sent up the river, which is why we were so paranoid.

Last night, these original rubber stamps used to stamp bootleg covers (in 1996 though for the “Bootleg Archive Series” – not the 1970s, as you can see from the ones included that never had a rubber stamped cover) were auctioned off on eBay. I would have been interested in a couple of them but eBay has started to exclude bidders from other countries if the seller has not listed those regions of the world in the “ships to” section (dumb move if you ask me, some of us have mailing addresses in the US too, or friends…).

rs Last Live Show

rs Spicy Beatles Songs

rs 20 x 4

rs Decca Tapes

rs File Underrs Broadcasts

The seller linked to the following story:

Vesta and I spent six months in New Zealand in a small town called Onarahi outside of Wangarai in the north. We lived next to a cemetery and on Sundays we could see the funerals outside our kitchen window. We called the people at rest there, our quiet neighbors. Being Americans we had to drive to Auckland once a month to go to the mall, because as everybody knows if an American doesn’t breathe mall air at least once a year, they die. When in Auckland we’d go to Dominion Road, one of my favorite places on Earth, and eat at one of the restaurants there. There are so many fine ones and we love to eat, so Dominion Road was made for us. And it was in one of the finer restaurants on Dominion Road that one of my ex bootleg partners—who wants to be left out of the story, so I’ll call him Smith—first brought up the idea of what would later be dubbed the “Archive Series.”

Smith was visiting and we were wining and dining him when he brought up the idea, because he had about a thousand records left over in his garage, records without covers, records doomed to sit boxed up and alone forever. But since I was never planning on returning to the States, I wasn’t interested. Besides, that part of my life was behind me. However, I told him, he could do it himself, to which he replied that it wouldn’t be the same.

When our six months were nearing an end, we went to the immigration people and tried to get an extension, something very hard to do. I told them I was a writer doing a story on the Maoris and I needed more time. They gave us three more months and not a second longer. We had to be on the plane, no excuses. It was the flight out or jail.

Two months later we gave up our house, sold our car and got a rental. We decided to drive around the country, spend some time in the wine country, fly to the top of the glaciers, jet boat on the Shotover river, parasail off a mountain, the usual touristy stuff before we had to leave. We’d planned on going to Surfer’s Paradise in Queensland and return in six months. We figured if we kept trying the Kiwis would eventually take a liking to us and let us stay.

With two days left, we left the car we’d rented for our tour of the south island, took the ferry across, rented another car we could drop at the airport in Auckland, drove out of the Hertz parking lot and three minutes later had a head on collision with sixteen-year-old drunk driver. We spent over a month in hospital and another two recuperating at in a hotel in Wellington.

Then it was back to the States, where we spent a week during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I could barely walk. Getting around by myself was difficult to say the least. I’d been using a wheelchair, then crutches and had graduated to a cane, but I couldn’t go very far. So, when we left the Big Easy, we decided to rent an Executive apartment in Seal Beach, one of those places that has a gym and a Jacuzzi, so I could work on getting my leg working again.

Smith came by to visit quite often and we’d drink wine in the evening and we’d talk about the old days when we sold boots at swap meets, dodged the law and ferried records around in the middle of the night. Ah, the old days, they always seem better than the present and the new days yet to come.

He still had those records left over from when we did the boots and I did too. He still wanted to put them in white jackets, like the original boots, but at first I still didn’t want to be bothered.

But I kept thinking back to what I did just before Vesta and I went away to Spain, after we quit the biz. I sold my collection to John Tsurgee, better known as Wizardo, for a buck fifty a record. It was a lot of records, quite a chunk of change, but not a fraction of what they’d be worth today. So, I had no records left, not one, save for those mismatched records that had been in storage along with the stuff Vesta and I didn’t want to part with.

Smith is not an avid bootleg collector, but he has the best collection going of the stuff we’d made and of the stuff Dub and I did together. If it came out in colored vinyl, he had to have all the colors. He loved those records. And he hated the fact that he had all those orphans sitting in his garage, over a thousand of them. I didn’t have that many, maybe five hundred, maybe a little less, but some of mine were ones Smith didn’t have, because I’d made them after he’d retired from the bootleg biz and had gone on to bigger and better things.

These days anybody could make these Archive records, because there’s the internet. How hard could it be to find white jackets and rubber stamps? But back then it wasn’t so easy. Smith dragged me to the library in Lakewood and we let our fingers do the walking through the L.A. Yellow Pages, looking for a place that would sell us some plain white jackets. The rubber stamps Smith had made through a friend who owned a Sir Speedy printers in Huntington Beach.

In the end, we spent a lot of money on those rubber stamps, hundreds of dollars for way over a hundred of them. And why would we do this for a product we were never going to sell? For Smith it was a no brainer, because as I said, he loved those records. For me, I didn’t love them so much, but I’d held on to them for a very long time and besides, it was something for me to do.

So we gathered our records together in that Seal Beach Executive Suites apartment and made a list. Some of the records had labels with song titles on them and Smith wanted to make plain white labels and glue them over the song titles to make them look more like the first boots, but that was way way too much trouble, so I put the kaibash on that idea.

As for the pig labels. Smith couldn’t find the labels Dub and I had used, so he bought day glow label paper and printed them out on his Apple laser printer, which used to be mine, but I gave it to him when Vesta and I went away. However, they had to be cut out. At first I tried using a scissors, but the labels looked like shit. Then Smith bought, from a craft store, a circular cutting device, which worked sort of like a compass. After about twenty or thirty tries, I was able to cut out a round label that looked pretty much like the original ones did.

The rubber stamps and the pig labels taken care of, now all we needed was the white jackets and Smith set out to get them. But that turned out to be the hard part, because it seemed they didn’t make them anymore, not like the ones like Dub and I used to use. Now they were glossy and when you stamped ink on them, it rubbed right off. After his third attempt at trying to buy jackets that would take ink and getting no joy, he decided to go back to the first place and have them made up. They cost more then the glossy stock jackets, but heck, back then we had too much money and it was aching to get spent.

So now we had all the pieces. The records, the jackets, the rubber stamps, the pig labels. And for the next couple weeks it was just like the old days, we stamped covers, we stuff jackets and we boxed records.

The first day I circled out a couple hundred of those pig labels while I watched daytime TV. I went to bed early, got up around 5:00 and started cutting out more labels when the room started to shake.

“Earthquake,” Vesta shouted from the bedroom. Then, seeing I wasn’t in bed, she started shouting my name. I guess she’d thought I’d been swallowed up.

“Out here,” I said, “in the living room.”

“We gotta get outta here! We gotta get outta here! We gotta get outta here!” She wasn’t panicking, but she was getting there. Then with a strength I didn’t know she possessed, she pulled me to my feet. I was barefoot and it hurt like hell as I’d broken most of the bones in my right foot during that accident and usually I’d been wearing an oversized Ugg on my right foot with the front of the boot cut away.

But she didn’t care about my pain and I guess I didn’t either, because she was so excited that I didn’t even think about my foot. Not till we were outside and safe on the grass. We’d’ve been safe in the apartment, too, because it didn’t fall down.

Earthquake over, she went inside to get my Ugg and left footed running shoe, muttering as she went, “I hate California.”

Inside, there were little piggies all over the floor. She went to the kitchen, got a bowl, put them in it and I started peeling and sticking and a week later we had our records. No more orphans.

Beatles Get Back Masters
Mine sat until 2006, boxed up in our storage unit and would still be sitting there, but when Vesta and I came back to America, we got involved in a custody battle and lawyers aren’t cheap. My son sold some of his collection on eBay and then we decided to sell the so called Archive records. We did okay with them and they paid the attorney’s fees.

So, mine are all gone. But Smith, he’s still got his. He watched with amusement as mine sold on eBay, some bringing a pretty penny, but he’s never been tempted. Of course, he invested wisely.

I’ve asked Smith in the past what he’s going to do with his collection.

His answer, “Since I can’t take them with me, my kids will probably donate them to the Salvation Army or the Goodwill.” So if you’re a collector, you might want to start checking out the thrifts, because Smith, like me, is getting up there in years.

We Were Young and We Were Greedy

After I got the boot from the bootleg biz by Big Dub, Dub became known as Little Dub. I missed working with him, because he was good at putting the material together and I was not. I did the ‘RAH’ record, sure, but an idiot could have done that.

I bought a 650 Kawasaki BSA rip of. British bikes were cool, but you had to always be working on ’em. The Kawasaki made the real deal seem golden, it was always apart, so I bought a new Triumph Bonneville, had the fork extended, got tall handle bars, I don’t remember what they were called back then, sort of like the Ape Hanger Bars you see on Harleys today. I was cool and I liked to ride.

And one day I rode out to Riverside, about an hour from Long Beach on the new extension to the 91 Freeway. They had kind of an old town, walking type street and since I liked being a tourist, I touristed off and I found Betty’s Records. A stupid name, to be sure, but what a great store and they sold bootlegs.

I asked for the manager, who’s name I don’t remember, but the guy who ran the place was named Harry. He wanted to buy boots, but I only had the one, plus about 5,000 Donovan records in a friend’s garage. I wanted to sell these guys records and I reasoned that the Dubs would be glad to sell them to me if I paid the going rate, which was a buck fifty a record. They were more than generous and sold them to me for a buck which allowed them to double their money and I could sell them for a buck and half and do alright.

Vesta and I were back in school, because we weren’t working and being uneducated is just stupid. Every weekend I’d drive out to Riverside and I found a couple other stores to sell to out there where nobody knew me. I was still paranoid.

But I wasn’t going to be paranoid for long, because the money was running out. We needed money, because we had two babies and we’d learned that we didn’t like going to work. So tried out a swap meat, sold the records retail in front of God and everybody for three dollars each or two for five, doubles five dollars. We made a couple hundred bucks our first time out and for the next year or so that’s what we did. I bought from the Dubs and Vesta and I worked the La Marada swap meet at the La Marada drive in in La Marada, California (that’s a lotta La Maradas). We’d leave at 9:00 and wait in line till dawn, when they let us in. In those days those at the head of the line got the best spots.

Eventually I was working several swap meets. All at drive ins. I had two brothers, both also in school and a couple friends I was supplying with the records I was getting from the Dubs, but I knew it couldn’t last.

Now I have to back up here, In a previous post I talked about how Kay at Lewis Record MFG copied Dub’s stampers (which were really half mine) for me, but this, what I said above, was happening concurrently. I hadn’t gotten around to pressing any of his records yet, because I didn’t have any accounts. I suppose I could’ve taken over Dub’s and eventually I would, but at that point in time I was too dumb and stupid to think about it.

Besides, I was kind of doing okay, selling Dub’s records to my few stores and at the swap meets. But Dub was getting new stereo equipment all the time, Big Dub quit the Post Office and was stylin’, while Vesta and I were going to school and working our buns off. Sure we had new cars. Sure I had a great bike. Sure we had new furniture. Sure we had stuff. But we weren’t stylin’. We weren’t leaving twenty dollar tips for ten dollar meals. We weren’t taking long vacations. We weren’t dripping in money, rolling around in it. We wanted that.

Back to Betty’s. One day after I dropped the records off, they’d only ordered fifty or so, so I strapped them on the back of my Bonneville and drove ’em on out. Gary, that’s the name of the owner. Gary Sparger, I’m surprised I remembered that. He asked me if I’d like to stop by a friend’s house for a few drinks. That was back when drinking and driving was okay if you didn’t get caught and if you did you just got a slap on the wrist unless you killed someone, so I said sure.

No girls there, just Gary, Harry and a couple guys I didn’t know. They were making Sangria. Years later, when I was living in Spain, I’d often look back when I was drinking it at an outdoor restaurant and remember their Sangria recipe. Here it is: You take a bottle of Spinata — a cheap wine you could get back then, maybe you still can. You squeeze a lime in it. Add lots of fruit bits, heavy on orange slices and canned grapefruit with a little canned pineapple stirred in. Then you add two two hits of mescaline and two hits of acid. Then you stir briskly and smoke a joint while you’re waiting for the flavors to blend.

After a glass and twenty minutes or so we were all doing alright. Somebody found a twenty-two rifle and several boxes of bullets, so we set up cards in a towel cabinet at one end of a hallway and started target practice. We did this till someone realized we’d drilled a hole through the back of the cabinet, through the wall into a bedroom and through the wall opposite. We’d been shooting out into the street. It’s a miracle we weren’t caught and taken away. But we weren’t.

And Harry and I got to know each other a bit. Turns out he and a friend wanted to open a poster business and they thought they needed a third partner and they thought I’d fill the bill nicely. I never dreamed they could’ve wanted me because my dad, whose record business went bust, now had a poster one stop and was selling to all the hippy stores. Being young, dumb and maybe a bit stoned, I said okay.

A month later, after we’d printed up our first batch and sold ’em to, you guess it, my dad. Harry and partner dropped by my house unexpectedly one evening. Since Riverside was an hour away, I didn’t think they’d just happened to be in the neighborhood. I knew right away they were gonna give me the old heave ho. I’d been there before and could see it coming from clear across the room. But what they didn’t know was that I’d met the printer and had a plan to take bootlegs to a whole ’nother level and I’d planned on including them, we were partners, after all.

But I was out now and Vesta and I were on our own again. We were young, we were greedy and we had a couple Beatles tapes.

Tell me how you got involved in the record business to begin with. You came from a more legit side of things, right?

I was born into it. My dad owned Saturn Records, which, at the time, was the largest buyer of phonographic records west of the Mississippi. At least that’s what somebody told me.

So you just sort of fell into that as the family business?

Yeah.

How did you distribute your first bootlegs?

Dub had a friend who had deserted from the army just as he was to be shipped out to Vietnam, and then he sold them for us. However, he made a mistake. He went to the very first place to sell them, a place called Vogue Records on Hollywood Boulevard, and the guy who owned the store, a guy named Bill Bowers, bought them all. So we figured out that maybe we had a hit on our hands.

And you guys immediately started repressing it?

Well, yeah. We pressed another 300 copies and sold them, and then another couple 300.

You knew pretty much right away that this was potentially something that could make you some money?

No. Because, see, we were kids. I think I was like 20 or 21? And Dub was the same age, maybe a year younger. We thought what we were doing was, like, against the law. We thought we’d get in a lot of trouble and the stores knew us, so we had someone else go around to the stores. Meanwhile, the guys who made the big money, guys who started a bootleg label after ours, they had lawyers. They found out that it wasn’t against the law because it had never been done before. And so they made a living off these things.

It seems like at the time there was a combination of a lot of artists like Dylan, the Beatles, and the Stones that people were really, really obsessive over, and also these kinds of laws that were open enough that you could feasibly get away with something like bootlegging.

Yeah. But we didn’t know that at the time. I’m trying to remember what it was like when I was 21 years old. We initially didn’t do it for the money. We initially did it so that we could have copies of the records, and then the Stones came and Dub wanted to record them. So we bought a Uher tape recorder and a Sennheiser mic. We didn’t make a gang of money on the Dylan boot Great White Wonder. But we did a gang of money on the Stones’ Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be.

Was that when things started taking off for you?

I don’t know. I don’t know what taking off is. Taking off compared o what? I mean, it was good for us. We did OK because, remember, we were still kids. So you know, the records were taking off. We weren’t making millions of dollars or even tens of thousands of dollars. But we were doing OK. We were making rent. We weren’t buying property or anything.

I saw something in one of your blog posts about how Dub was living pretty large…

OK, yeah. I’m older now and I know what large really is. So we thought we were living large. We had new cars. I had a motorcycle. But I still worked. I never quit my job for years. I worked at Saturn and I worked as a social worker all the time I was doing bootlegs. I was working right up until, I don’t know, ’75 or ’76. I don’t want you to get confused. I don’t want you to think we made a million dollars.

I didn’t think you made a million dollars, but it seemed you were living all right for some younger dudes.

Yeah. We were able to go to Europe a couple times. We were doing all right.

You’ve said earlier that you guys didn’t get into it for the money, that it was a labor of love.

Well, for Dub it was a labor of love. For Andrew, who came later, it was a labor of love. I don’t think it was a labor of love for some of the other bootleggers like Rubber Dubber or Norty and Ben. I think they were doing it for the money. Although Scott seemed to really like music so maybe I shouldn’t include him in there. He was a Rubber Dubber guy. And then eventually for me it was not a labor of love, it was about money.

Do you remember what point it was that it became a money thing for you?

Yeah, in ’72 and ’73. But I always knew, unlike most of the other people who were doing it, and I’ve written this in a couple blogs, I always knew it was stealing. I never thought for a second that we had the right to give the music away for free to the people.

On the other hand, there’s sort of an outlaw aura to the whole bootlegging thing. It’s not letting the companies, or even the musicians themselves, determine what gets released. It’s like if the fans want a live record or if the fans want Dylan’s The Basement Tapes, bootleggers are sort of liberating the music for the fans. Is that over-romanticizing the situation, or was there an element of that?

You’re spot-on as far as Dub and a lot of the other people are concerned. You’re spot-on. Dub was really into Bob Dylan.

You mentioned you were working at Saturn while you were still doing some of the bootlegging. How was it having that double life, working both sides of the industry, like the legit and the underground, at the same time?

Well, in the beginning it was really strange because, for example, they kept saying they were trying to catch us, but our Capitol salesman knew who we were and what we were doing and he never said anything. A good percentage of the customers who came in who owned record stores knew who we were and didn’t say anything. I guess you would call them the cool ones—the ones who had the $2.99-record stores. At the time, records were going for like $4.98 and there was a lot of, like — I don’t want to say hippies, but young people… hippies, I guess—who had record stores and sold records for $2.99. They sold our kind of records. They knew who Dub and I were and they never told. More and more people knew and they never told. It wasn’t like we were really leading double lives.

Do you feel like you were able to take some of the skills and knowledge and contacts that you had from the straight business that you were doing and apply it to bootlegs?

No.

It didn’t feed into it?

No. After the second record, after Live’r, we just walked into recording studios. When we did Stealin’ [their second Dylan boot], we just walked into a recording studio and the guy put it on and he was crying, “This is Bob Dylan!” Everybody, all the producers and everybody in the studio, just stopped and came in and listened to the record we had mastered, you know? And everybody thought it was really cool. Everybody in there knew that we didn’t work for Bob Dylan.

It seems like there was, in terms of pressing, a sort of hit-or-miss element in terms of figuring out how and where you could get records pressed.

Not really. It was pretty easy. In those days, people who owned record distributorships said, if the guy doesn’t steal more from me than he makes me, I can’t afford to fire him. I don’t want to say everybody was a crook… but just about everybody was a crook. We would just walk into a pressing plant and say this is what we have, and they would make it and we would pay them— in cash.

That seems like an incredibly gutsy thing to do.

Well, the first pressing plant we approached was a place called Wadell’s. They pressed Verve and Disney stuff. We had a friend go in to meet them because we were just frightened kids. Our guy who talked to them wasn’t involved in the record business at all. He figured, what did he have to lose. So he went in there and he said that they made the mold, put it on, listened to it, and—this was the Stones live record—they pressed it right alongside Let It Bleed. They would have to have been not very bright to not know that it was the Rolling Stones on our record. That’s when we figured we could be doing this ourselves.

Wow. You guys were going in and pressing stuff right—totally legit.

Live’r was literally pressed right next to Let It Bleed. But the only plants we didn’t use, obviously, were Capitol and Columbia.

Were there a lot of independent pressing plants back then?

There were. Are there any now? We used Wadell, Jack Brown, Louis, Korelich… we used one on Hollywood Boulevard whose name I can’t remember right now.

I know there was some time where there were some authorities interested in your operation, right?

Yeah. There was a guy named Pete somebody-or-other, whose name I can’t remember. He was a process server who worked for Columbia Records, and he was after us. The first thing Columbia did is that they issued a statement to Billboard magazine saying that it wasn’t Bob Dylan, it was someone who sounded like Bob Dylan. Well, obviously no one believed that. They said that about a bunch of people. Then they hired this Pete guy to get on our trail and find us, so that they could sue us. And he did actually serve me, but he served me a subpoena with Dub’s name on it. It wasn’t valid. Other than that, in those days, we were just, like, really careful.

Really?

Well… that’s a lie. We were not really careful. Some of us weren’t really careful. Dub went and gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine.

That was either brave or stupid.

We were kids. We didn’t know better. I think it was with Greil Marcus—but he gave Dub’s name as Vladimir.

That’s a really deep cover. Just giving a different name.

Well, yeah, because the next month they got his real name and we figured that that would be a problem if there were process servers looking for Dub. So I told Ben Goldman, who owned a store called Ben’s Records and who was Norty Beckman, our biggest competition’s, brother-in-law, that Dub and his girlfriend still lived in Vancouver and had just opened a gas station there. Lo and behold, there it was next month in Rolling Stone: Dub Taylor moved to Vancouver and opened a gas station, and that was the only guy I told.

That’s pretty sneaky. You guys were total hippies at the time?

Yeah, we were. We were actually like, “Fuck the man!”

It’s pretty common knowledge that the major-label record industry has always been really corrupt and kind of devious.

Well, I know lots of stories where they screwed over artists. I’m not going to go into those, but I have lots of stories. I never really liked the labels. I thought they were all just crooks. But then again, that meant that we were crooks.

Yeah. But at least you guys were kind of up-front about being crooks.

The difference is they wore suits and had short hair and we had really long hair and wore Levi’s and cowboy boots.

The labels weren’t above taking hints from the bootleg industry.

The Stones never would have released Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out if it weren’t for Live’r. [The Who’s] Live at Leeds looks just like a bootleg. Look at Bob Dylan. Are you familiar with the The Bootleg Series? My dad sent me copies of the first volume, and he checked off all the ones he thought they copied from us.

There are also things like B-sides and rarities collections, and even box sets, that started off as bootleg formats and have been adopted by the legit labels. It seems, in the end, bootleggers helped the record industry as much as they hurt it.

Scott Johnson, a Rubber Dubber guy, once told me that he had a friend who worked at Warner Bros. who said that he considered Rubber Dubber an unpaid advertising arm of Elektra / Atlantic.

What about artist reactions to your bootlegs?

Neil Young said something derogatory about a bootleg we did of his stuff, and so we stopped making it. We figured, fuck him. He doesn’t get to get bootlegged by us.

You guys had some balls on you.

Keith Richards was going into stores in Berkeley to buy up the bootlegs, and a lot of bootlegs were signed by Mick Jagger. I’ve got a photograph of a signed Mick Jagger Live’r [Click on ”Autographed Bootlegs’ on the right to see it]. So, a lot of the artists seemed to like it. They realized they’d make a lot of money on concerts, and bootlegs are not costing them very much, and it’s good publicity.

Were there any times when things got really dicey or scary?

My dad had financed a good percentage of black record stores in Los Angeles. Since I knew pretty much everybody who owned those stores, and I knew what was selling, we got the idea that we would just pick the No. 1 and No. 2 single, which I think were “The Onion Song” by Marvin Gaye and something else, and put them back to back. Then we would hire a guy, because Dub and I didn’t want to go around to the black stores, because they knew us, and we didn’t want them to know it was us. So we hired a guy to go to those stores to sell these records. We figured we’d make a bunch of money really fast because it only cost 15 or 16 cents to press these things up. So we pressed up 300 and had someone run them to all the stores. No one would buy any. They all knew it was a bad thing. And then these gangster guys, they figured out immediately who did it and they came to my dad’s house within three or four days. My dad was having dinner when these gangsters came in. They hit him in the stomach with an ax handle when he tried to protest, and they told him they wanted his son and they wanted him now. My dad set up an appointment and we were going to have a meeting and they wanted all the money we made—but we didn’t make any ’cause none of those black stores bought these records, because they were smart. And in those days, black people didn’t have the same rights as white people did, and they didn’t have the same recourse with the law. So they had to take matters into their own hands. And that’s exactly what they did. They told my dad they wanted all of the stampers, all of the records, and all of the money we made. Dub and I figured we should throw in a thousand bucks so they’d think we made something and were giving it to them.

What was that meeting like?

It was in the back of my dad’s house. Myself and my two brothers, we cut little holes in the wall and we had guns pointed out at these guys when they came in. We were just dumb, scared kids.

Looking back on your bootlegging experience, what’s your overall feeling now about what you did?

Well, I moved to New Zealand and I wrote a book called Ragged Man. It’s a horror story, and in it, this monster guy kills all these bootleggers. That’s how I got it out of my system. I just spent six months killing them all. And when the book came out, it didn’t mean anything to anybody because people who read horror stories don’t care about bootleggers. I reissued it a while back [There is no trace of this book on the internet].

It’s sort of a shame, at least in my opinion, that there’s not the same kind of bootlegging now as you were doing back then. New bootlegs tend to be exchanged on the internet, but there’s something about the feel of having the tactile sensation of bootlegged vinyl in your hands. I mean, the fact that you know you shouldn’t have it makes it that much cooler.

Yeah, but the guys who wanted to give away the music for free won. One taper goes to every single Dylan show anywhere in the world— so he’s got to have a lot of cash—and he does a really good job and he puts them online for free. How can you compete with that? Now you can just get whatever you want for free.

Unreleased material and live shows come out online all the time now. With that, on top of file sharing and how the record labels adopted so many formats from you guys, it seems like your quest has been legitimized by history.

You know, I never thought about it like that, but yes! Because, you know, when I see how poorly the record companies are doing, I sort of smile.

****

[This interview first appeared in Vice magazine]

It Coulda Happened this Way — Not First, Not the Best Either

Dub and I mastered the Donovan record Reedy River a couple months before we broke up and we’d ordered 5000 copies [am I the only one who thought ‘5000!!!’ Holy cow! ?], which I’d picked up and was storing in my friend Jim’s garage as Big Dub’s basement was pretty full. We’d put out some feelers about the record and it was looking like this one wasn’t going to be the runaway hit our other records had been. In fact, when I was over at Jim’s, I swear I could hear the gobbling of those turkeys, trapped fifty to a box out back in that garage, calling to me.

Dub hadn’t been bugging me about the records and it was plain to see why. He’d heard that gobbling too. So, for the time being, those records were going to be on the back burner, maybe never seeing the light of day.

After the I breakup I had two main things on my mind. One was getting and making new records and two was getting even. Growing up, my father told me time and time again the best way to get even with somebody was to do them in without them knowing you did it. This way you get the satisfaction of seeing your enemy twist in the wind, without turning him into a revenge seeking maniac.

In that light I’d decided to keep making Dub’s records, but didn’t see any reason for letting him know I was doing it. Also, I didn’t have any inventory. Why I didn’t think half those records in Big Dub’s basement didn’t belong to me is beyond me. I guess because I was young and dumb, because it never occurred to me Big Dub was actually stealing something of mine. I guess because we were making so much money, I’d never given much thought as to the value of the inventory creating it.

I did, however, have those five thousand Donovan records for all the good they were going to do me. Plus I had the original stampers for Great White Wonder over at Pete’s. So that was one record, at least, Dub wasn’t going to be making anymore.

So I had GWW and Dub didn’t. Plus, I had access to all his stampers. But what I really needed was something of my own.

Something good.

Something they didn’t have.

I had the soundboard recording of Royal Albert Hall and to the best of my knowledge, nobody else, except Waterford, had it. I could rush it out. It was damn good, a very good soundboard recording, but it had been recorded from an acetate, it was mono and there were a few very annoying clicks and pops on it. I’d probably listened to that tape over a hundred times with headphones on and I personally knew every click, was acquainted with every pop. I’d tense up just before they happened and I didn’t want to put out a record with them on it.

So I was going to have to go back up to Waterford’s, because he claimed to have a version of the tape taken from the master tape. Plus, he’d said that the last three songs were in stereo. Much as I dreaded going up there again, I had to have that tape.

But I didn’t want to go alone, so I called my friend Malcolm. True, he’d gone south on me during that fiasco with the R and B single, but this wasn’t a life threatening situation. Waterford was just annoying, probably the most annoying person on the planet, certainly too annoying for me to deal with by myself. If I was going to have to listen to him preach about how Bob was God, then have to spend the night in his bathroom, I wasn’t going to do it all by myself.

Malcolm couldn’t go till the weekend, as he was in school. He was going to UC Irving and was earning extra money by selling bootlegs on campus. Saturday came, but he had a test to study for on the following Monday, so we put off the trip to Santa Cruz for another week, but when I called Waterford, he said he had plans with his new fiance and could we postpone for still another week. He assured me he would have the tape ready to go, no staying up all night in that bathroom.

“Actually, you can’t record in there anyway,” he said.” I’ve moved and I don’t have a sound system in my new bathroom.”

“Really.” That was great news.

“Yeah, I got a place where I can play Dylan loud as I want. The apartment was kind of a drag that way.”

“I can imagine.”

“See you when you get here.”

“Yeah.” I hung up and two weeks later Malcolm and I were on our way in his hot 1969 Firebird 400, which I’d sold to him for take over payments when I got the Healey.

When we got there, Waterford was waiting on his porch with this yappy little dog, it had short hair, perky ears, a pointy tail, was mostly white, maybe grey, and barked like a three-year-old who wants cookies, but doesn’t know the words. It was every bit as annoying as Waterford himself. They were made for each other.

His new place was a cabin type of affair in the woods just outside of Santa Cruz. He had electricity and water, but save for that, the place looked pretty much like it must have when it was built, sometime during the gold rush. The man was not into creature comforts. He had his trunks of Dylan stuff piled against one wall and told me he had others buried in the forest.

Spooky.

Waterford resembled a sloth, the place looked like it hadn’t been cleaned, ever. There was dust and dirt, bugs and smells everywhere.

Creepy.

“I got a couple sleeping bags, if you guys want to spend the night. I’ll be sleeping up in the teepee.”

“Not spending the night,” Malcolm said. Mal was just about the cheapest individual I’d ever met. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’s opted to sleep naked in the snow, rather than spring for a motel room. For him to give up the offer of a free night is a true testament as to how much Waterford’s place reeked.

“So where you staying then?” Waterford wanted to know.

“We’re heading back tonight,” Malcolm said. “I gotta study.” And here I thought we might be staying in a motel.

“I guess we better get copying then,” I said.

“First we have to set up the teepee,” Waterford said.

“What teepee?”

“The one I’m getting married in tonight.” Though he looked like a grub, for a second there he almost looked angelic. “I’m gonna need your help setting it up.”

“I’m not setting up any teepee,” Malcolm said. Not only was he cheap, he hated work, would do almost anything to get out of it.

“We can make you the tape as soon as we have it set up.” Waterford was playing us. But if I had to go along with a little blackmail to get the tape, well, I’d do it.

“I’m not—”

I cut Malcolm off with a glare.

“All right. We’ll help you set up the tent,” Mal said.

Waterford made for the door, Mal and I followed, Yappy right on my heals.

“The dog bites me, he dies,” I said.

“He won’t bite.”

I’d been around big dogs all my life, got along with them fine, but there was something about me this guy I didn’t like. I couldn’t help feeling he wanted to rip my Achilles tendon out.

Waterford led us down what looked like an animal trail of some kind to a clearing where there was some bundled canvas and three poles that looked suspiciously like the poles I’d hated so much when I was in bootcamp. These things were about fifteen feet long. The drill instructors would assign four or five guys to a pole and we’d be picking them and putting them down for about an hour or so. Sometimes they’d line us up four abreast and we’d do curls with those poles, or overhead presses. I hated those poles.

“Okay, let’s get this thing set up, so we can get out of here,” Malcolm said.

“Oh, we’re not having the wedding here.” Waterford pointed. “We’re having it up there.”

I did remember he’d said he would be sleeping in the teepee on a hilltop.

“I’m not moving that!” Malcolm said.

“Then you’re not getting the tape!” Waterford said.

I wanted to strangled them both. I needed that tape, so I pinned Malcolm with another glare.

“All right!” Mal said. “Let’s get it over with.”

Waterford was shorter than us and he took the middle, Malcolm took the front and I brought up the rear. We shouldered the pole, Malcolm and I bearing most of the brunt, and started up the hill. Twice I almost fell. It was heavy, the footing precarious and Waterford wasn’t doing his share. The little shit.

It was back breaking work, getting that pole up that hill. Once there, we saw that brush had been cleared away, stones had been set up for a fire.

“This is gonna be great,” Waterford said.

“So the wedding’s tonight?” Malcolm said.

“Yeah. It won’t strictly be legal, cause she’s not quite old enough.”

“Really?” Waterford looked about thirty, reminded me of a snake and there was no way I could imagine a seventeen-year-old girl, no matter what she looked like, ever being interested in him.

“So how can you get married then?” Malcolm said as we started back down the hill.

“I have a friend who is a Universal Life Science minister,” Waterford said.

“No shit,” Malcolm said. “So am I.” He’d sent away for the card in the mail, anyone could do it back then. It was a scam. Some people thought it would help keep them out of the draft, others liked to be called reverend and thought a card you could get for twenty bucks gave them the right. Malcolm told me it got him to the head of the line when he was flying back east once. He also said it helped him get hippie chicks in the sack.

“Let’s just get this over with,” I said.

We took the canvas up next, then another pole. One more to go and I didn’t think I was going to make it. The climb was steep, the poles heavy. I picked my way up the hill with the pole digging into my shoulder. I had to shit, thought I was going to blow, because I was so worn out I didn’t think I’d be able to hold it back and no way was any bathroom inside of that place Waterford lived in gonna ever see my naked butt. I needed a place in the woods, needed it now.

I saw the top, soon this ordeal was gonna be over. A quick trip behind some bushes, then back to Waterford’s, copy the tape, a fast drive to Long Beach and in the morning I’d get the tape mastered. This one was was gonna be LiveR all over again. I felt it in my blood.

Finally we reached the top.

“Oh fuck!” Waterford screamed. He’d stepped into a beehive. Somehow it had fallen from a tree, was waiting there on the ground, like a land mine.

The dog howled. It was covered in bees, looked black now. Malcolm screamed.

We dropped the pole.

I whirled around, jumped off the edged of the hill, slid down on my backside, with a swarm of those stinging bees hot after my hide. I made the trail below, still hadn’t been stung. I started running, pumping my arms like I’d never pumped them when I ran track in school.

I couldn’t hear the bees, but I knew they were there.

Up ahead I saw a group of people, five or six girls and guys out for a walk in the woods. I ran toward them, chugging air for all I was worth, legs working overtime, feet slapping the forest floor.

I ran into the group, zapped straight through them. Somehow I knew the bees wouldn’t follow.

“Thanks a lot, motherfucker” one of the guys said as the women screamed. I kept going, running like the wind. The path turned, I slowed, stopped, turned. Sure enough the bees hadn’t followed. I headed off the trail, found some privacy, took care of business.

Back on the trail, I made my way back to Waterford’s only to find him, Mal and the dog already there. The dog got the worst of it. He was covered with lumps and didn’t look like he was going to make it. Waterford had been stung several times, Mal only four. Who knows how many times the group in the forest got nailed. I came through scott free.

Waterford was not happy. He told us to come back around sundown and we could copy the tape then, but for now he had to take care of the dog, plus he was in pain. Mal, to his credit, bore it well.

We went to a pharmacy in Santa Cruz and the pharmacist there told Malcolm to scrape the infected areas with a credit card to get the stingers out.

“The stinger is hooked on to a venom sac,” he said. If you pull it out, you’ll just get more of the venom in you.”

After Mal scraped those stingers away, he used alcohol supplied by the friendly pharmacist to clean the infected areas. Mal had no allergy problems and aside for a little pain, followed by a little itching, was good to go in no time at all. I could only imagine how Waterford was fairing. And the dog, I didn’t want to think about that.

Sundown and we were back at the cabin. Waterford had a couple lumps on his neck, some on his harms, but he seemed in no pain. Drugs, I thought, but I couldn’t be sure. The dog, he said, was at the vets. He was going to survive.

“So let’s start copying then,” I said.

“Gotta pick up my fiance first,” Waterford said.

“What?”

“I don’t have a car and she doesn’t drive.” He crossed his arms. “As soon as we pick her up, we can copy the tape for you.”

“Christ,” Malcolm said.

“Sure, why not.” I really wanted that tape.

We got in the car, Waterford in back. It was getting dark as he led us to an upper middle class area. Two story homes, nice lawns, three car garages, big lots.

“Stop there,” Waterford said.

Malcolm stopped.

“C’mon, I gotta get out.”

I opened the door, got out, held the seat for Waterford so he could get out too.

A girl opened the back door of the house, rushed to the car.

“Hurry!” Waterford said.

“Boy my parents are gonna be pissed.” She jumped into the back.

“Oh Christ,” I said. She looked like she was fourteen. “We’re in trouble.”

“We gotta get out of here!” Waterford jumped into the back.

“Get in!” Mal said.

“We’re not going anywhere!” I said.

“You’re going to jail if you don’t get in,” Mal said.

I got in and Malcolm peeled on out of there.

“What’s going on here?” I could’ve ripped Waterford’s heart out.

“She’s very mature,” he said.

“I don’t care.”

“Just drop us at my place,” Waterford said.

Malcolm drove like the wind and in just a few minutes we were at his cabin.

“Get out of my car!” Mal wasn’t happy.

Waterford got out, again Mal burned rubber. Soon we were on the freeway, without the tape.

I got home around two in the morning, went straight to bed, got up early and took the tape I had, the one that was recorded off the acetate to DCT studios near Sunset. That’s where I did the MLK speech record. The guy cutting the record knew right away he was cutting a bootleg. He thought it was cool. Even with those few clicks and pops it was a pretty darned good tape and I was convinced it would put me right on top of the bootleg biz.

It didn’t.

I took the acetate into Lewis as soon as it was cut, as they made the masters, mothers and stampers on site. After a few minutes with Kay I wandered around the plant, saw that Dub had copied GWW and was doing it on colored vinyl. That was gonna sell. In fact, everything he was doing now was on colored vinyl.

Then I saw a record that wasn’t on colored vinyl and my heart sank.

Somebody, not Dub, had beat me.

And he was making a lot of records.

I took one of these Royal Albert Hall records home and to my dismay, it was better than mine. Those annoying clicks and pops were conspicuous in their absence. I did not, however, stop production of my record. I sold a lot, would have sold a lot more had I put my version out earlier. Then to make matters worse, Dub came out with his own version and it was even better yet. And he had those last three songs in stereo.

I felt like driving up to Santa Cruz and shooting Waterford, but I didn’t go back up there. I don’t know what happened between him and the child he wanted to marry. I never saw him again, never spoke to him again and when I saw his books in the bookstores, I turned away, refusing to acknowledge them. [Does anyone know who he’s referring to? Obviously, the name’s been changed]

I was so sure I was going to be the first with this record, so wanted mine to be the best. But I’d failed in both, this new guy beat me to the punch and Dub creamed me with quality. It this case, his version truly lived up to the name Trade Mark of Quality.

****

Confirmed RAH 115 plates version, later used again for TAKRL 1962:

Confirmed BD-105 plates version, later reissued for the Toasted re-release shown as the last image:

bobsboots writes: “Released in 1971, it is unclear why this original TMOQ package was pressed from entirely different plates then the other versions. The completely uncharacteristic matrix would suggest that TMQ acquired these plates from another manufacturer. No evidence, however,  has been found that would suggest that the title was ever released by anyone else under this matrix. Perhaps TMQ was just in a new and experimental mode. There are variations in the matrix to suggest one or both of the above hypotheses. Some matrix have an ‘-RI’ following. Some have other numbers as well that are crossed out. These ‘BD’  releases are indeed an enigma!
The various released packages came with yellow, white or beige jackets and clear green green or or blue vinyl, large ‘1&2’ labels, original pig logo labels and a deep red, gray or beige insert.

These plates were also later used to press the ‘Dead head’ release. It had a white jacket, a copy of the original insert, an added Dead-head logo and BD-105 reference number, and great looking clear/multicolor splatter vinyl with no labels. ”

[I’d love to say with confidence that BD-105 was Ken’s version but then why was the other version – RAH-115 – used for the TAKRL 1962 version? Were Ken and Dub’s plates swapped? And wasn’t Toasted one of Ken’s spin off labels as well? I am confused at this point.]