Record Store Day (RSD) 2015 was my worst yet. Typically I arrive about three hours before my local store opens and I’m usually no more than 20 people back, having no problems getting everything I want. This year, because of the Brand New – Deja Entendu re-press I decided to get to the store even earlier, anticipating a clusterf*ck because of the Deja release. Boy was I wrong in how early I should have gotten there. Even though I lined up five hours before opening, two hours earlier than I usually do, I was the 55th person in line, more than double where I usually am in line. How do I know where I was in line you ask? Simple; my local store is insanely organized when it comes to RSD. They keep all the RSD releases alphabetized and categorized by format (7″, 10″, LP, CD, tape, box set) behind a counter they set up just for RSD, have it set up menu style where you tell them what you want and they get it for you, only let a handful of people in the store (RSD area) at a time and they hand out numbered pieces of paper like a deli in a supermarket based on line order to make sure nobody further back in line gets RSD releases ahead of anyone because they have four or five different employees getting releases.
So to sum up, I got to the store earlier than ever before, was further back in line than ever before for my effort and didn’t get three releases that I wanted. Considering in the six previous RSD’s I’ve attended I only didn’t get one release over that entire span, not getting three in one year is a horrible swing. To be fair though, I bought one of the releases I missed online from Bull Moose. I found out from talking to people in the store and some employees that people started lining up at 5 pm on the day before (Friday) RSD, with the bulk of people getting the Deja RSD exclusive lining up by 11:30 pm the day before. No way will I ever line up that early for anything non-life essential.
The 311 7″ was one of the easiest releases to get this RSD. 311 is a tough band to judge, some years their stuff flies off the shelves, and others it sits and sits. They pressed 1,890 copies on white vinyl, a very odd number. That number is according to the official RSD list. I’m assuming they pressed 2,000 of these in reality, but I will stick with the number that came from an official source. An important note about this 7″ is that it opens along the top, and is next to impossible to open by simply slitting the shrink-wrap along the opening. They’re sealed so tightly it impossible to see any opening or get anything cutting implement in to slit the shrink. I use a box cutter to open all my records and that struggled to get in. This was one of the pricier releases for RSD, at least for a single 7″, coming in at $10. Despite this still sitting in many record stores and easily found online after searching for RSD leftovers from the aforementioned stores, morons on ebay decided to spend anywhere from $25 to $60 on this 7″.
The 7″ features two songs that will appear in the forthcoming 311 box set. It has not been made clear what the box set will encompass exactly, but the band did mention it will include rare songs ranging from b-sides, demos, remixes, etc. The a-side has “Grifter” and the b-side has “Who’s Go The Herb.” “Who’s Got The Herb” is a cover of a Human Rights (H.R. of Bad Brains) song, and is a song most 311 fans have heard in one form or another, but has yet to have an official release. The version that appears on this 7″ however, has not been any of the versions circulating online prior to this release.
An interesting note about the song “Grifter” that appears o the a-side; it’s likely an early demo of the song “Long For The Flowers” that appeared on the album Don’t Tread On Me. The music is identical, only the lyrics are different between them. Nothing official has been mentioned about that however. “Grifter” is not billed as a demo, early version of any album song or working title. According to the official RSD site it was recorded during the Transistor sessions. Personally, I like “Long For The Flowers” better than “Grifter.”