Nick Mango

Jul 18, 2010

SFA - So What? I'll Tell You What!

Exit and Wreck-age are the most important record labels in my life. They have been since 1995. I've done some pretty crazy things for a rare release from one of these labels. This wasn't the craziest, but it's an interesting story.

The story begins about 4 weeks ago. As I mentioned in my Neurosis post, if you want to find the rare stuff, you need to search your ass off. And this entails more than just keeping some saved searches on eBay usa. You need to search other countries, and if you want to collect Exit/Wreck-age, eBay Germany is the key. Germany is Wreck-age territory. In fact the label was originally located in Germany in 89. The bands that were on Wreck-age toured Europe a lot and fans stay very loyal to US bands that frequent their country. To be honest I feel pretty honored that people out in Germany collect a US label like this. I've had a bunch of people contact me about pressing info and possible doubles. I'm assuming they follow this blog now too. And it's really cool to hear from them. I love talking records with people on the other side of the world. Back to searching. So there I was, practicing what I preach and searching ebay Germany for Wreck-age releases. But I was also doing my usual "Test" search. Well the "Test" search worked. The listing was written as follows:

"SFA-LP-Test Pressung-Hardcore-Mosh-Sxe-Punk-Terror-Civ"

As you can imagine, I went insane. If I had to rank this album on my favorite wreck-age album list, it would be in the top 5. In reality though, this never should have been an album. Let me explain. Back in 90/91 SFA put an album out called The New Morality. A really great hatecore nyhc album. They were on top of their game and genre. Pavlos, owner of wreck-age, basically had to have these guys. He had a new label, and he was ready to roll with releases. At this point he had only released Bad Trip's positively bad 7", Necracedia's I See Clearly lp, and a 7" from a band called Gulag back when the label was in Germany. So he was raring to go. He contacted the dudes from SFA and told them he wanted their next release. He also asked if they had the songs for a full length, cause he wanted to do it soon. Well when someone says they want to release your album, and also asks if you have the songs ready, you say YES!! It doesn't matter if you have the songs ready or not. Well SFA didn't have the songs ready. They only had about 6. But they told Pavlos they were ready to roll. They got caught ahah. Pavlos told them great and he booked the studio. So they were basically writing filler songs in the studio. It really should have been put on hold for a good month. But they had an opportunity and they took it. This is why when you listen to this album there's songs like, Overture, Evilcow, and Rudeboy. Enough on the SFA history lesson, let's get back to the story.

So check that listing title out again, you see the issue? He spelled the word Pressing, with a "U", "Pressung". That's a problem. It might not seem like much, but it is. See what this does is anyone searching for Test Press or Test Pressing, won't be able to find it. So this cuts off a very large portion of record collectors that just search for test presses. Also another interesting part about this listing, it was written in German. Well I've learned to live on Google Language Tools in the past year or so. It's a very important tool that I really think every record collector should start to use if they plan on finding the rarest records stranded overseas. And finally, there was a third issue with this auction. An issue that could actually ruin my chances of picking it up. The seller states, with multiple exclamation points I might add, that he will not ship outside Germany...yikes, that's no good. So here's what I did. I messaged this guy and basically told him that there's no way he was going to be able to get full value for this record unless he let me bid on it. I explained that I was the biggest wreck-age collector on the planet, and I also made it fairly clear that I WOULD win this record if he let me bid on it. And by that I meant that no one could out bid me. Which is true. No one was out bidding me on this record. I got no response. I waited about 2 days and I messaged him again stating basically the same thing, and also giving him some credentials. My full name, my email address, shipping address, Limited Pressing links. Basically anything that would make him comfortable. No answer. Hmmmm this wasn't going well. So I figured maybe there was a language barrier here. Maybe he couldn't read english at all. So I used my trusty google language tools, translated my message, and then sent it to him....NO ANSWER!!! Ok buddy, that's it, now I'm pissed. So I made the decision that I was going to bid on this record no matter what. But the hunt was on to find someone in Germany that I could ship the record too. Want another issue? OK no problem. What about the fact that the only people I know in Germany collect WRECK-AGE!! So I contacted a few people on VC and I talked to a couple of friends and asked if they knew anyone. By now there was only about 24 hours left in this auction. And also I still haven't heard from the seller. Finally my buddy Brian told me about a guy he knows who runs a label in Germany called Artic Rodeo Recordings. I contacted him, he was down, and the game was on. Now I was still a little nervous about this complicated process of winning the auction, the seller sending it to ARR, and then the label sending it to me. But something interesting happened. About 15 minutes before the auction ended the seller responded to one of my messages. His response was simple, "OK!!!" hahha ok so maybe I messaged him a few too many times. But in the end it looked like he was going to send it right to me. So I won the record for an INCREDIBLE 25 Euro. With shipping this came to less than 50 bucks usd. It's really hard to explain how good of a deal this is. I think on eBay usa this could have approached 150 or even 200. I know I would have paid at least that much. So it arrived and wow I was so damn happy.

See that jacket on the left?

Well it's not actually a jacket. It's only a printed piece of carboard. Almost like a cardboard insert. Pretty cool. I've never seen something like this. I also didn't even know this was coming with the record. So I was extremely happy when I saw it. The real jacket is on the right. That has something printed on it as well.

So the last thing to check is the matrix...well you know I wouldn't have brought this up unless something interesting happened. Here we go. This record was pressed on both Black and Green. 500 units on Green, and 2500+ on Black. They look like this.

I checked the matrix on the test press and it read "WAR-003-A-1" ok sounds smooth. I like the way that read. I was pretty confident now. Normally when you see a matrix on a weird bootleg it rarely has something very confident sounding like that. Well whatever. I grabbed one of the standard records off the shelf and slide it out of the plastic. This one happened to be the Green one. I checked the matrix "WAR-003-A-RE" ahhhmmm what? I checked the test again, and then the green vinyl. Shit. They're different. I got screwed. This is some sort of a rejected test press. Or maybe it's a bootleg. But it didn't feel like a bootleg. Here's the label on the test press.

I was a little confused. Everything that this test press came with screamed real deal to me. So I thought I would double check something. I grabbed the black version of this record and took a look at the Matrix "WAR-003-A-1" BOOM! There it is! So it looks like they made 2 different pressings of this record. Tom actually was the one who pointed out that RE must stand for Repress. Right! So I wonder when this happened? I mean I've heard people say you shouldn't use the same plates for more than 2500 records cause they tend to wear out. So that's what must have happened here I guess. I mean there's also a chance that there's some black circulating with "WAR-003-A-RE" for a Matrix. Either way though this means I have a real deal wreck-age test annnddd I'm no closer to getting all the Wreck-Age test presses, than I was a week ago! Son of a bitch.

Feels really great to lock up another Exit/Wreck-age test press. This makes 7 now. All LPs, all from my favorite bands: Milhouse, Sons of Abraham, Indecision, Yuppicide, and now SFA. Still missing a Silent Majority - Life as a Spectator though. Maybe one day I'll get one.

Well this is the final post in my 3 part weekend blogging spree. I need to get back to my Top 20 in the last 20 series. Probably do that next.


  1. Always search "test"
    Germans love Dead By 23 stuff
    Poor spelling kills the seller

  2. "re" usually means that the test was recut. due to rejected test or it broke doing the 1st 1000 +

    -Glenn of death (KOD Recs)

  3. Now that is extremely interesting. So there maybe some black versions out there with the RE in it. Thanks a lot!

  4. Another reason we rushed into the studio for Wreckage, aside from being drunken assholes, was that this was right as the build up to the Gulf War was happening and many recent veterans, including myself, were notified they might be recalled to active duty. I was expecting to be reactivated any day, so I was glad for the opportunity to rush out one last album.