A long rumored re-pressing finally came to fruition in late 2013 as Third Eye Blind re-pressed their debut, self-titled album and sophomore effort Blue, with one catch though. In order to get either of the highly sought after records, you had to buy an expensive box set that included the band’s entire discography, with another catch. That second catch was at first you had to buy the box set. Once the box set sold out, the band made individual copies of everything available in the box set, except for two things, which will be discussed in-depth later. The release of this box set did not go off without a hitch though, something I will also go into later.
The box set is limited to 500 copies, cost $200 before shipping (tack on another $19 for FedEx shipping) and sold out in about a week. Each box set was hand numbered in gold felt pen on the back of the box. The box itself does not have a traditional lid, the sleeve that holds the records slides out from the side. Said sleeve is like what libraries use to store magazines; if you still don’t know what I’m talking about there will be a picture to show what the sleeve looks like. The front of the box set features Third Eye Blind’s logo, which embossed into the set. Also included is a “place holder” for the band’s upcoming sixth studio album, which is autographed by the band’s only two founding members left, Stephan Jenkins and Brad Hargreaves. As stated earlier the box set includes all of the band’s releases up to this point, which includes four full length albums and one EP. Before I get comments saying “you left out the Symphony Of Decay EP,” I’m aware of that EP, but it was never officially released so it should be obvious it’s not included in the box set.
The self-titled album was pressed on black vinyl, Blue was pressed on blue vinyl, Out Of The Vein was pressed on green vinyl, Ursa Major was pressed on “speckled” (black with white starburst/splatter) vinyl and the Red Star EP was pressed as a 10” on red vinyl. All of the albums were pressed on 180 gram vinyl, with the EP getting 140 gram, which is the typical weight used. The self-titled album, Blue and Out Of The Vein are all double LP’s while Ursa Major remains a single LP and is the only one that comes in a gatefold jacket. The three other albums come in cheap, very thin single pocket jackets, which is something I can’t stand. I’d much rather have a double LP in a gatefold jacket than a single LP in a gatefold jacket.
The Red Star EP is only available inside this box set, at least for now. Another exclusive to the box set is the self-titled album with the original, cream artwork. Later pressings of the album on CD had a red cover. As mentioned above all the albums, except for Ursa Major, became available to buy individually at some point after the box set sold out, with the obvious exception of the Red Star EP. The s/t album was only available with the red artwork outside of the box set though. The copies of the s/t album were the first time it was available on vinyl with the original cream jacket. The band charged $35 before shipping for all the albums that were made available individually, and so far they haven’t been available from any distributors. The price is not surprising considering the price point of the box set, but it’s still not a fair price. After seeing the price tag on the albums individually, $35×3, adding on the $25 the band charged for the first pressing of Ursa Major, figuring at least $15 for the Red Star EP, that leaves $55 for the box itself and the autographed “place holder.” A bit of a rip off, but what else can you expect from a band that sells their set lists and charges more for copies of albums that they autograph.
Aside from the obvious color choices for the vinyl (regarding Blue) there are some other changes between the different pressings of the records. The insert that is included with this latest pressing of s/t and Blue are different from the first pressing. There is also no sticker on the front of Blue for this latest pressing. No insert is included with Out Of The Vein, Ursa Major or the Red Star EP. But Ursa Major does have a gatefold jacket, which makes up for the lack of an insert.
An interesting development is people receiving a copy of Ursa Major on clear with red and grey splatter in their box set. This is obviously not what the color is supposed to be, and could be a hint that the album will become available for purchase on its own like the rest of the albums. So far I have only seen this color variant switcheroo happen to people in Europe, but whether or not it’s restricted to overseas folk is impossible to say.
The aforementioned problems ranged in severity. Some people never received what they ordered from Third Eye Blind, whether it is the box set or a record(s) individually. Some people had partially filled orders, others didn’t receive all the albums that were supposed to be in the box set. Some people received a “place holder” that was missing a signature. Having received my box set, I know Third Eye Blind did not fulfill orders themselves, but it was confusing because the Paypal payments went directly into Third Eye Blind’s pockets. I’m not making excuses, but there could have been mix ups in relaying the information between the two parties or processing orders. However, there is no excuse for customers going ignored, which is what happened in many circumstances. There are still people out there who haven’t received what they ordered, and it’s approaching a month since everything started shipping. They haven’t even heard back from anyone involved with selling the stuff.
Another issue was tracking information never being updated. The age-old, and I stress old, tactic of printing out shipping labels without actually shipping the package was widely used with the box sets in particular. In my case, I received shipping notification December 18 with an expected delivery date of December 21. My box set did not actually ship until December 24. And in the item description when the box set first went up it stated, “box sets will ship week of December 16, 2013 to ensure Christmas delivery.” It has since been changed to only say “box sets will ship week of December 16, 2013,” which still wasn’t true in many cases.