V/A – Neapolitan Metropolitan 3×7″ Box Set

Posted: February 2, 2016 in Vinyl
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Dave Grohl has had a long and industrious career in music. He has been in countless bands and has lent his musical talents to even more over the years. One of his bands, well acts really, often slips through the cracks by Nirvana and Foo Fighters fans. Most fans know Grohl recorded the first Foo Fighters record by himself, playing all the instruments and not attaching his name to the project, simply writing Foo Fighters on the tape he recorded and passed around so nobody would think hey this is new stuff from that guy from Nirvana. But he had another solo project prior to that initial Foo Fighters effort.

Late is that projects name. There is an infamous cassette tape entitled Pocketwatch that has been bootlegged to no end, with a legit tape selling for over $500. The songs from the tape have circulated around the internet amongst Nirvana and Foo Fighters fan groups for a long time, and it’s one of the holy grails of collectors. But the Pocketwatch tape is not Late’s only physical release. Late appears on a triple 7″ box set compilation entitled Neapolitan Metropolitan, which was released by Simple Machines Records, the same label that release Pocketwatch.

Neapolitan Metropolitan is either forgotten by most or completely unrecognized as existing. Everyone is focused on the Pocketwatch tape. It might be because Grohl uses a pseudonym for credit on this release; Alex “Vanilla” McCloud. This 7″ box set is the only vinyl release Late appears on , and was released prior to the Pocketwatch tape. Late contributes one song to the box set, “There’s That Song,” which alter appeared on Pocketwatch under the title “Petrol CB.”

The triple 7″ box set features 12 bands from three different cities all from the DC Metro area; Richmond, Virginia, Baltimore, Maryland and Washington DC proper. Each city get its own 7″ that is pressed on its own color resembling Neapolitan ice cream, hence the title of this box set. Richmond is pink for strawberry, Baltimore is green for pistachio and Washington DC is white for vanilla. Late appears on the Washington DC record, and now Grohl’s pseudonym makes a bit more sense doesn’t it.

To continue the ice cream theme, included with the box set is one of those wooden spoon you use to get with those plastic ice cream cups with the peel off lids in elementary school or from a cart vendor in a park. Also included is a 14-page booklet, which has information about each of the bands appearing on the compilation and some background info on the charitable organizations the box set is geared towards raising awareness and support for. These organizations worked to provide support for the homeless in the DC Metro area, which was a chronic problem in the 70s, 80s and into 90s. The following passage is taken directly from Simple Machines’ website and talks about the motivation behind this box set. ” Sometime in 1991 Jenny was in the Adams Morgan section of DC and stopped by Ben & Jerry’s for some ice cream. While she was there she noticed an interesting policy: bring your own spoon and you get a free scoop. Ben & Jerry’s was using ice cream as a reward for those customers who didn’t use a disposable plastic spoon! Jenny soon got in touch with Ben & Jerry’s headquarters and requested an annual report, which was full of stories about innovative, community-based efforts that the company had woven into their business framework. Since one of our own mission statement goals was to use our packaging to “educate, not just decorate”, we turned this interest in community development efforts into a 7″ project. Neapolitan Metropolitan combined great music from bands from three regional cities, which we pressed on ice-creamy vinyl, with inforamtion about community-based organizations. The enclosed booklet talked about Ben & Jerry’s, as well as DC’s Sasha Bruce House and the Arlandria Tenant’s Rights Association of Alexandria, VA.”

The box itself would have a traditional slip lid, but the lid is attached to the bottom half of the box with a thin flap. On many of these box sets the flap holding the box lid on gets worn and damaged, looking like seam splits on traditional record jackets. It’s difficult to find a box in mint condition after all these years as the box set was released in 1992. On the bottom of the box there is a sticker affixed that is a road map of the DC Metro area. It also serves as a hype sticker, as it lists the bands featured on the box set as well. Included with the box set is a mail order flyer and order form (though my copy is missing the order form). The mail order flyer advertises the Pocketwatch tape as costing $3.50 ppd, a far, far cry from the hundreds of dollars the tape now goes for. This box set originally cost $10, which is not too far from the going of it now, $25.

Pressing info was never released, and it never will seeing as Simple Machines has been defunct for almost 20 years.

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