Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown: Vinyl Releases, Pressings and Versions

by Hanson Meyer

Being that Black Flag was one of the first hardcore punk bands to enter the West Coast punk rock scene in the late 1970s, their first recording is a very important part of the punk rock subculture. I have always felt that it is important that we have an accurate account of the historical discography of this particular EP and have spent a lot of time and effort speaking to other collectors and key individuals (including Greg Ginn and Bryan Migdol) and collecting all of the different versions to note all the subtle differences. My findings have since been shown on Wikipedia, Discogs, and a host of other websites to clarify what was once a very hazy history of Black Flag's first release, the Nervous Breakdown EP.

When it comes to the Nervous Breakdown EP, there has always been a lot of confusion as to how many different pressings were released, how many of each individual pressing were made and when each pressing was released. There has also been a lot of confusion between “pressings” and “versions” of the EP and whether they are the same or different. The sad news is that we may never know exactly for sure, but by looking at all the evidence I believe we can at least make sense of most of these pressings and versions through the facts at hand, observations, deductive reasoning and logic.


The 16 different versions of the 7" Vinyl and the 3 different versions of the 10" Vinyl

I believe that as of the date of this blog, there are 16 distinctly different versions on 7" vinyl and three different versions on 10" vinyl. I presently have in my collection all of these 19 versions. After studying all the artwork and labels very carefully and comparing my findings with several other collectors, I have come to the conclusion that most of these “versions” are actually pressings. I have separated them by size, first by 7" and then the 10". Here is the way I see it:

1st Pressing


Feb 17, 1979 Flyer with Ad for Nervous Breakdown EP

Release: Recorded in January 1978, 2000 copies released in the beginning of February 1979. This release date has been interpolated based on combining the facts of two sources. Source 1) Greg Ginn stated in his Outcry Magazine interview on Sep 25, 1980 that Black Flag (then Panic) recorded the EP in January 1978 and the EP was "released over a year later"... meaning that the record was released after January 1979. Source 2) Flyer for Black Flag show on Feb 17, 1979 has a mail order advertisement showing the EP was available from SST Records at that time. The flyer was made before the show on Feb 17th and would have been made presumably at least several days before the show. Therefore, The Nervous Breakdown EP would have been released sometime between the end of January 1979 and February 15th, 1979. All copies of the 1st pressing of Nervous Breakdown distributed prior to the Summer of 1980.
Sleeve: Black ink on glossy white paper. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's Brick Wall artwork. The sleeve is folded and cut straight across the top with front and back top edges the same height. No glue was used on the sleeve... it is just a folded piece of paper. It has no bar code. The sleeve and record were originally packaged in a clear plastic sleeve that folded over the top and was sealed midpoint on the back of the sleeve with a small white SST sticker.
Label: Color is bright fuchsia (pink) with matte finish, “Bubble Font” is used for the word “Records” and the “R” and “E” in the word “Records” touch.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, big hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A” on side A and “SST 001-B” on side B

 

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2nd Pressing


Release: 1,000 copies released around the Summer of 1980, all copies distributed prior to October, 1980.
Sleeve: Light blue ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork varies from 1st Pressing with no Brick Wall. The Black Flag font and logo appear for the first time. The sleeve is cut straight across the top with front and back top edges just about the same height. Since these were hand folded and glued, the front edge may occasionally be a little lower than the back edge. The artwork on the back of the sleeve is "large" and goes all the way to the very top. It has no bar code.
Label: Color is bright fuchsia (pink) with glossy finish just a slight shade darker than the first pressing, “Bubble Font” is used for the word “Records” and the “R” and “E” in the word “Records” touch.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, big hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A” on side A and “SST 001-B” on side B.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 2nd Pressing/Version has a light blue ink on the sleeve and the sleeve is not just a folded piece of paper... It has been folded and glued. Also the label is glossier and a slightly darker shade of pink compared to the 1st Pressing. 

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3rd Pressing


Release: Unknown quantity pressed after October of 1980, but because its similar rarity to the 2nd Pressing, the quantity is guessed to be 1,000 copies or less. It is thought that all copies were distributed prior to the Summer of 1981.
Sleeve: Red ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork is exactly the same as 2nd Pressing and the artwork on the back of the sleeve is "large" and goes all the way to the very top. The sleeve is cut in a crescent downward across the top edge of the front and arches up across the back top edge to apparently increase ease of retrieving the record from the sleeve. It has no bar code. There have been some copies of the sleeve found that were test presses with other band artwork on them, ie. the front cover is pressed over the Tyme’s “Rock of the 80s” 7” artwork and the back cover has the back cover of the Minutemen's “Paranoid Time” 7” in green ink.
Label: Color is not as pink as the 2nd Pressing with almost a more maroon color and back to a matte finish, “Bubble Font” is used for the word “Records” and the “R” and “E” in the word “Records” touch.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, big hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A” on side A and “SST 001-B” on side B.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 3rd Pressing/Version has a red ink on the sleeve and the label is back to more of a matte finish and a slightly different shade of pink compared to the 2nd Pressing.

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4th Pressing or Version:


Release: Unknown quantity pressed around Summer of 1981, but quantity is believed to be about the same as the 2nd and 3rd pressings... Right around 1,000. This particular one may be a version and not actually a “Pressing”. The labels and vinyl appear to be identical and only the sleeve is different. After the 2nd pressing, the band could have pressed up somewhere around 2,000 vinyl records and then quickly used up 500 to 1,000 of the 3rd Pressing sleeves and then made up the balance with the 4th Version sleeves. This is all just speculation however and we may not ever know for sure.
Sleeve: Red ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on front is exactly the same as 2nd and 3rd Pressings but it is noticeably smaller on the back. The sleeve is cut straight across the top edge of the front and is straight across on the back but the back edge is about 5/16 to 3/8 of an inch lower than the front top edge. It has no bar code.
Label: Color looks to be the same pink color as the 3rd Pressing and has the same matte finish, “Bubble Font” is used for the word “Records” and the “R” and “E” in the word “Records” touch. This is the last pressing (or version) with this specific label before it experienced a slight change.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, big hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A” on side A and “SST 001-B” on side B.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 4th Pressing/Version a slightly different sleeve design with a flat top edge on both the front and rear with the edge on the rear being 5/16 to 3/8 of an inch lower than the front edge. Also the artwork on the reverse of the sleeve is smaller. 

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5th Pressing or Version:


Release: Unknown quantity pressed around the year 1982,  but quantity is believed to be much more than the previous pressings as it seems to be found for sale quite often and there were enough produced to sell for at least two years. This pressing has been mistakenly called the 2nd Pressing by many people selling the record online. It is definitely NOT the 2nd Pressing as can be seen by the evidence and photos above.
Sleeve: Red ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on front and back is exactly the same as the 4th Pressing. The sleeve exactly the same as 4th Pressing and is cut straight across the top edge of the front and is straight across on the back but the back edge is about 5/16 to 3/8 of an inch lower than the front top edge. It has no bar code.
Label: Color is just a little lighter pink in color than the 3rd and 4th Pressings and has about the same matte finish, “Arial Font” is used for the word “Records” and the “R” and “E” in the word “Records” DO NOT touch.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, big hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A” on side A and “SST 001-B” on side B.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 5th Pressing/Version has a different label design on the record with new fonts for the word "RECORDS" as well as "BLACK FLAG". 

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6th Pressing or Version:


Release: Unknown quantity pressed in 1984 or 1985 as the matrix runout (L-19417) shows that it was remastered at Greg Lee Processing in the middle or towards the end of 1984. This is the last version with the pink labels.
Sleeve: Red ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on front and back is exactly the same as the 5th Pressing. The sleeve is cut in an upward arch across the top edge of the front and a crescent downward across the back top edge to apparently increase ease of retrieving the record from the sleeve. It has no bar code.
Label: Color is fuchsia pink in color and has about the same matte finish as the 5th Version, “Arial Font” is used for the word “Records” and the “R” and “E” in the word “Records” DO NOT touch.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, big hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A   L-19417” on side A and “SST 001-B   L-19417-X” on side B.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 6th Pressing/Version has a different sleeve design with an arched edge on the front of the sleeve and a concave edge on the rear of the sleeve. It also has additional information added to the deadwax runout.


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* NOTE FROM CHUCK DUKOWSKI REGARDING

COLORED VINYL VERSIONS *


To get clarification on pressing details for the colored vinyl versions of the Nervous Breakdown EP, I contacted Chuck Dukowski directly. I asked him the following question:

Hanson: Rainbo Records pressed your clear yellow and red vinyl versions of the Nervous Breakdown EP 001. The last time we spoke, you told me that they were pressed in 1990 or 1991. The info in the "Runout" dead wax area of the record has "R-12806 / R-12807" which, per Rainbo Records, would suggest that they were all pressed at the same time in 1989. Yet the Yellow vinyl version has the red sleeve suggesting that it was released before the Red vinyl versions. Was the yellow vinyl version released in 1989 and then the Red vinyl versions were released a year or two later? Or were they ALL released at the same time in 1989 just with different sleeves?

Chuck: Colored Vinyl editions did not happen until 1990, but maybe some of the production work was 1989. It was something we thought would be a good idea to generate traffic between us and our 600 or so direct retail customers and they with their customers. We came out with a series of several colored vinyl editions around that time. We requested random colors from Rainbo so we had no idea what they'd deliver until we got them. They just threw our plates on the machines and ran out the vinyl they had in the press from other people's runs. The stampers have all of that run out info you are talking about and those only change when they wear out every so often. So any editions of the title in question would have the same information for several years. During that time we also used up odd stock on covers, labels and sleeves. For instance, the red sleeves without the UPC were used for the yellow vinyl version and then the red vinyl versions got the new blue ink sleeve with the UPC. So the colored vinyl editions are real oddballs.


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7th Pressing or Version:


Release: Unknown quantity pressed in 1990. The matrix runout (R-12806) shows that it was pressed at Rainbo Records in 1989, but per Chuck Dukowski, the production work was done in 1989, but the actual release didn't happen until the following year. Because this version has the red sleeve, I have listed it before the 8th and 9th versions although technically, they were pressed at the same time.
Sleeve: Red ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on front and back is exactly the same as the 5th and 6th Pressings. The sleeve is cut in an upward arch across the top edge of the front and a crescent downward across the back top edge to apparently increase ease of retrieving the record from the sleeve. It has no bar code. SST had printed extra sleeves during the 6th version and so they used the extra sleeves for this 7th version.
Label: Color has been changed to a blue label and has been completely redesigned. Has familiar Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Sides are now labeled as "Side One and Side Two" as compared to all the earlier versions being labeled as "Side A and B". This label also has the first trace of the typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Clear Yellow, small hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A   R-12806   L-19417” on Side One and “SST 001-B   L-19417-X   R-12807” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 7th Pressing/Version has a different label, now blue and completely redesigned. The vinyl has been changed to a clear/translucent yellow and the deadwax runout has changed.

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8th Pressing or Version:



Release: Unknown quantity pressed in 1990. The matrix runout (R-12806) shows that it was pressed at Rainbo Records in 1989, but per Chuck Dukowski, the production work was done in 1989, but the actual release didn't happen until the following year. Because this version has the dark blue ink sleeve, I have listed it after the 7th version although technically, they were pressed at the same time.
Sleeve: Navy Blue ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front of the sleeve is exactly the same as the 7th Pressing (only now in navy blue ink). The back of the sleeve shows some significant changes... the artwork is smaller, the four Black Flag Bar Logo has been added and a bar code shows up for the first time. The sleeve is cut in an upward arch across the top edge of the front and a crescent downward across the back top edge. Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0001-7 6".
Label: Blue label same as the label on the 7th Pressing with the same following characteristics: Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Clear Red Vinyl, SMALL Hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A   R-12806   L-19417” on Side One and “SST 001-B   L-19417-X   R-12807” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 8th Pressing/Version has a sleeve with Navy Blue Ink with changes to the artwork on the back of the sleeve including the introduction of the Bar Code. The color of the vinyl changed from Clear Yellow to Clear Red.

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9th Pressing or Version:




Release: Unknown quantity pressed in 1990. The matrix runout (R-12806) shows that it was pressed at Rainbo Records in 1989, but per Chuck Dukowski, the production work was done in 1989, but the actual release didn't happen until the following year. Because this version #9 along with it's brother, version #8 have the dark blue ink sleeve, I have listed them after the 7th version with the red sleeve although technically, they were all pressed at the same time.
Sleeve: Navy Blue ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front and back of the sleeve is exactly the same as the 8th Pressing. The sleeve is cut in an upward arch across the top edge of the front and a crescent downward across the back top edge. Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0001-7 6".
Label: Blue label same as the label on the 7th and 8th Pressings (except for large hole cut out) with the same following characteristics: Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Clear Red Vinyl, LARGE Hole, “SST 001-A   R-12806   L-19417” on Side One and “SST 001-B   L-19417-X   R-12807” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 9th Pressing/Version has a LARGE center hole.

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10th Pressing or Version:

Release: Unknown quantity pressed around the year 1992. Believed to have been pressed the same time as the 11th version.
Sleeve: Navy Blue ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front of the sleeve is exactly the same as the 8th and 9th Pressings. The sleeve is cut in an upward arch across the top edge of the front and a crescent downward across the back top edge. Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0001-7 6".
Label: Blue label same as the label on the 7th, 8th and 9th Pressings with the same following characteristics: Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, SMALL Hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A   R-12806   L-19417” on Side One and “SST 001-B   L-19417-X   R-12807” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 10th Pressing/Version is now Black vinyl and has a SMALL center hole.

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11th Pressing or Version:

Release: Unknown quantity pressed around the year 1992. Believed to have been pressed the same time as the 10th version.
Sleeve: Navy Blue ink on white gloss paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front and back of the sleeve is exactly the same as the 8th, 9th and 10th Pressings. The sleeve is cut in an upward arch across the top edge of the front and a crescent downward across the back top edge. Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0001-7 6".
Label: Blue label same as the label on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Pressings (except for large hole cut out) with the same following characteristics: Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, LARGE Hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A   R-12806   L-19417” on Side One and “SST 001-B   L-19417-X   R-12807” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 11th Pressing/Version has a LARGE center hole.

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12th Pressing or Version:


Release: Unknown quantity pressed in 1998. Believed to have been pressed the same time as the 13th version.
Sleeve: Navy Blue ink on white matte (not glossy) paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front and back of the sleeve is exactly the same as the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Pressings. The sleeve is cut straight across the top edge of the front and is straight across on the back but the back edge is about 3/16 to 1/4 of an inch lower than the front top edge. Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0001-7 6".
Label: Blue label same as the label on the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Pressings with the same following characteristics: Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, SMALL Hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A   R-12806   L-19417” on Side One and “SST 001-B   L-19417-X   R-12807” on Side Two. Interestingly, there is a slight difference in the deadwax runout between this pressing and the previous five versions... in the previous five versions, the "R-12806" in the deadwax runout looks like the "0" was actually a very small "6" and then was scratched out in a circular motion giving the appearance of a "0". In this 12th Version, the small "6" is intact and has not been scratched out.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 12th Pressing/Version changed the design of the top opening of the sleeve from arched to straight. The paper sleeve is now matte and not glossy. It has changed to a SMALL hole again. Deadwax runout is slightly different on Side One.

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13th Pressing or Version:


Release: Unknown quantity pressed in 1998. Believed to have been pressed the same time as the 12th version.
Sleeve: Navy Blue ink on white matte (not glossy) paper sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front and back of the sleeve is exactly the same as the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Pressings. The sleeve is cut straight across the top edge of the front and is straight across on the back but the back edge is about 3/16 to 1/4 of an inch lower than the front top edge. Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0001-7 6".
Label: Blue label same as the label on the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Pressings with the same following characteristics: Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Black, LARGE Hole, deadwax runout has “SST 001-A   R-12806   L-19417” on Side One and “SST 001-B   L-19417-X   R-12807” on Side Two. Same as Version #12, there is a slight difference in the deadwax runout between these pressings and the previous five versions (7-11)... in the previous five versions, the "R-12806" in the deadwax runout looks like the "0" was actually a very small "6" and then was scratched out in a circular motion giving the appearance of a "0". In this 13th Version, the small "6" is intact and has not been scratched out.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 13th Pressing/Version has a LARGE hole.

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14th Pressing or Version:


Release: Unknown quantity pressed in 2007.
Sleeve: Navy Blue ink on white card stock sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front and back of the sleeve is exactly the same as the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th Pressings. The sleeve is now flat across the top of the front and back with front edge lower than the rear edge by 1/8". Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0001-7 6".
Label: Blue label same as the label on the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th Pressings with the same following characteristics: Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Black Vinyl, SMALL Hole, deadwax runout has “595- SST 001-7 (A) R-12806 DS” on Side One and “595- SST 001-7 (B) R-12807 DS” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 14th Pressing/Version is that the sleeve is now card stock and the Vinyl has a SMALL center hole. Deadwax runout has changed.

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15th Pressing or Version:


Release: Unknown quantity pressed in September, 2010. Although released before the limited release of Version 16, it was also released after Version 16 and is still being distributed at the time of this blog.
Sleeve: Navy Blue ink on white card stock sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front and back of the sleeve is exactly the same as the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Pressings. The sleeve is flat across the top of the front and back with front edge lower than the rear edge by 1/8".  Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0001-7 6".
Label: WHITE label and label artwork is the same as the label design on the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Pressings with the same following characteristics: Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Black Vinyl, Small Hole, deadwax runout has “595- SST 001-7 (A) R-12806 DS” on Side One and “595- SST 001-7 (B) R-12807 DS” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 15th Pressing/Version has a WHITE label.

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16th Pressing or Version:


Release: Unknown quantity pressed in 2011. Believed to be a limited release.
Sleeve: Navy Blue ink on white card stock sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front and back of the sleeve is exactly the same as the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Pressings. The sleeve is flat across the top of the front and back with front edge lower than the rear edge by 1/8".  Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0001-7 6".
Label: WHITE label same as the label design on the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Pressings with the same following characteristics: Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05.
Vinyl: 7”, Clear BLUE Vinyl, Small Hole, deadwax runout has “595- SST 001-7 (A) R-12806 DS” on Side One and “595- SST 001-7 (B) R-12807 DS” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 16th Pressing/Version has CLEAR BLUE vinyl.

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10" VINYL VERSIONS  

1st Version:



Release: Unknown quantity pressed around 1991.
Sleeve: Black ink on heavy white Card Stock sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front of the sleeve is scaled to fit the 10" sleeve and exactly the same as the later 7" Pressings. Primary difference on this reverse as compared to the 7" versions is that it is missing the 4 bar logo and lists each of the band members. The 10" versions all list the correct drummer as "Brian (Bryan) Migdol" and not "Robo" as was incorrectly listed on the reverse of the 1st Pressing. Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0916-1 7". (The copy I have may be a later repress as the sleeve is a much heavier card stock than the other 10" versions I own. Also the label on this particular copy I have is bright white and looks to be a lot newer than the other versions I have)
Label: White Label with Blue Ink. Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One is listed as 2:04 and not 2:05 as is found on the original early 7" releases of this record.
Vinyl: 10”, Black Vinyl, deadwax runout has “SST 916-A L-38353 Kdisc L S-25413” on Side One and “SST 916-B L-38353X Kdisc L S-25414” on Side Two.


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2nd Version:




Release: 1,000 copies pressed around 1991.
Sleeve: BLUE ink on lightweight white Card Stock sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front of the sleeve is scaled to fit the 10" sleeve and exactly the same as the later 7" Pressings. Primary difference on this reverse as compared to the 7" versions is that it is missing the 4 bar logo and lists each of the band members. The 10" versions all list the correct drummer as "Brian (Bryan) Migdol" and not "Robo" as was incorrectly listed on the reverse of the 1st Pressing. Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0916-1 7".
Label: White Label with Blue ink. Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One is listed as 2:04 and not 2:05 as is found on the original early 7" releases of this record.
Vinyl: 10”, Clear BLUE Vinyl, deadwax runout has “SST 916-A L-38353 Kdisc L S-25413” on Side One and “SST 916-B L-38353X Kdisc L S-25414” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 2nd 10" Version has CLEAR BLUE vinyl.

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3rd Version:




Release: Unknown quantity pressed around 1994.
Sleeve: BLUE ink on lightweight white Card Stock sleeve. Artist - Raymond Pettibon's artwork on the front of the sleeve is scaled to fit the 10" sleeve and exactly the same as the later 7" Pressings. Primary difference on this reverse as compared to the 7" versions is that it is missing the 4 bar logo and lists each of the band members. The 10" versions all list the correct drummer as "Brian (Bryan) Migdol" and not "Robo" as was incorrectly listed on the reverse of the 1st Pressing. Has a Bar Code "0 18861-0916-1 7".
Label: White Label with Blue ink. Sides are labeled as "Side One and Side Two". Has Black Flag font and Black Flag 4 Bar Logo. Song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One is listed as 2:04 and not 2:05 as is found on the original early 7" releases of this record.
Vinyl: 10”, Black Vinyl, deadwax runout has “SST 916-A L-38353 Kdisc L S-25413” on Side One and “SST 916-B L-38353X Kdisc L S-25414” on Side Two.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE(S) TO PREVIOUS VERSION: This 3rd 10" Version has Black vinyl.

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SYNOPSIS:

A lot of information has been taken out of context, or has been taken as fact when in actuality it may have just been someone's best guess. Up until now, Wikipedia has always had little information and had at one point even suggested that there were only 300 copies (it has since been corrected) of the first pressing with no sources cited. Other websites put the first pressing at 500 copies, but they just seem to copy information and circulate it without even knowing if the original source was actually correct.

Some have speculated that the first four “versions” ARE the 2,000 copies that make up the "first pressing" that Greg Ginn spoke of in his 1980 interview with Outcry Magazine. They have suggested that the first four versions just have different covers conveniently made up of 500 of each sleeve design with the vinyl records inserted from an original batch of 2,000. But I disagree with that theory and I doubt that those making these speculations own all the different versions to compare them. I have looked very closely at the labels on the first four “versions” of the EP and have found subtle differences. The "fuchsia" pink label varies slightly in color with each of the versions I have and also varies between matte and glossy depending on the version. With the labels differing from each other, the records were all clearly pressed at different times.

Lending support to the theory that there were only 500 first pressings with the brick wall pattern was when Black Flag bass player, Chuck Dukowski, found a mint, unopened copy of the EP in his desk and listed it on eBay on March 7, 2010. His original ad can be found at Popsike and it states:

“My name is Chuck Dukowski. I was the original bassist for Black Flag and an SST Records owner until the end of 1989. I perform on this SUPER RARE and IMPORTANT record. It was recorded in late 1977 at Media Art Studios and came out in 1978 after our name was changed from PANIC to BLACK FLAG and ROBO replaced Brian Migdol on drums. This is an unopened unplayed copy of the first pressing of NERVOUS BREAKDOWN featuring  Raymond Pettibon's pre-bars logo hand lettered Black Flag font.  This particular copy of Black Flag's NERVOUS BREAKDOWN is unopened and still sealed with the little SST logo sticker. It has been stored for all of these years in an envelope in my desk. I stuck it in the envelope back in '78 after I packed the record in it's bag with the folded paper insert and sealed it with the SST sticker. I think there were 500 total made. I'll bet there are no other unopened copies of this record in existence besides it's mate in my archive.”

But the fact is that Chuck wrote the ad over 35 years after the record had originally been pressed and also note that he says “I THINK there were 500 total made”... I need to contact him and ask him directly what he remembers from back then. Until I do, I am more inclined to put more weight on what Greg Ginn said in his interview in 1980 when everything was fresh in his mind.

Greg Ginn’s interview on September 25, 1980 with Outcry Fanzine (Issue #1), says: 
“SS (Outcry): …..how many did you sell of your first EP (Nervous Breakdown)?
G (Greg Ginn): Three thousand.
SS (Outcry): How many pressings did you do?
G (Greg Ginn): Two. We've sold out the second pressing and we're going to press some more.”
Some additional quotes from the same interview:
“SS (Outcry): When was your "Nervous Breakdown" EP recorded?
G (Greg Ginn): It was recorded in January '78 and released over a year later.
SS (Outcry): So how many did you do on the first pressing?
G (Greg Ginn): Two thousand.
SS (Outcry): Did you think you could sell that many?
G: Yeah, we were real cocky. We liked it a lot, you know, and we thought, "Why shouldn't people like us?" because we would play it and go crazy. “
 

Because of the haziness of the details surrounding the first pressing I decided to go to the source and met with Greg Ginn on May 18, 2014. I asked him specifically about the first 2,000 copies of the Nervous Breakdown 7" EP. I asked him if the 1st pressing with the "brick wall pattern" was 2,000 copies and he said that "sounded about right". When I mentioned that Chuck sold one on eBay in 2010 and he had said in his ad that he believed there were only 500 first pressings, Greg, with a sideways smile, and a nodding of his head said "there wasn't 500 of that pressing"... and suggested that the number 2,000 was the correct figure. I also spoke directly with Bryan Migdol, the original drummer for Panic/Black Flag and I asked him what he remembered about the release of the record. He told me that he was out of the band around March or April of 1978 and that Robo started soon after so he couldn't offer me any real insight. Since the 1st Pressing sleeve lists "Robo" as the drummer (even though Bryan Migdol actually played on the record), then the record had to have been released after that time. To repeat what was written earlier, Greg Ginn in his Outcry Fanzine interview stated that they recorded the EP in January 1978 and released the record over a year later. A Black Flag flyer for a show on Feb 17, 1979 has a mail order advertisement for the record in the lower right hand corner, meaning that the record was released prior to that time. From my research, there is no documented release date, but these sources reveal strong evidence that prove that the Nervous Breakdown EP was released after January 1979, but prior to February 17th, 1979.
  
There is a lot of misinformation out there, but based on all my research and comparisons of records from my own personal collection, I feel fairly comfortable stating the following:

There were 2,000 first pressings issued with the Brick Wall Pettibon artwork (hand drawn block lettering and no 4 Bar logo). They had recorded the EP containing Nervous Breakdown, Fix Me, I’ve Had It and Wasted (plus other songs that would later appear on Everything Went Black) in January of 1978 and then laid down additional tracks over the next several months with a variety of musicians. Ultimately Greg Ginn and Gary McDaniel (Chuck Dukowski) selected the tracks and songs that worked best for the EP. The master tapes went to Bomp! Records to be pressed as their first release. Apparently, Bomp! took too long to press the record and eventually the band took back the master rights to the recording. They saved more money and were able to finally put the record out themselves on the label SST which was at this point owned by Greg Ginn and Gary McDaniel. Wikipedia states that the release date was October, 1978, but that information is "unsourced" and incorrect. Greg Ginn stated that the release date was sometime after January 1979 and with the February 17, 1979 flyer that has an ad for the record, it is safe to say that the EP was released between the end of January and the middle of February, 1979.
  

Also from the above Outcry Fanzine interview, we know that Black Flag sold 3,000 copies somewhere between May 1979 and September 1980 and they had done only two pressings. I agree with other collectors that have expressed their theories in online blogs that it seems very unlikely that the band would have done four different versions of the first pressing in such a short time period. Again, with the early releases, I believe that each version was its own pressing. Based on online sales through eBay, Discogs, Popsike and other outlets, availability of the Brick Wall design seems to be more prevalent than the second, third or fourth versions, so I would say that there are more of the Brick Wall versions out there than each of the 2nd, 3rd or 4th Pressings.
  

RARITY

There are several factors that drive up a record’s value. In the case of Nervous Breakdown, everyone is clambering for the 1st Pressing as it is so different from the other later pressings and hey… it’s the first! But is it as rare as we would like to believe? As an owner of the 1st Pressing, I’d like to see the value go up, and I would like to think that it is part of a small number out there… but evidence suggests that the actual number out there is 2,000. Does this affect the value? As long as more people are willing to buy than are willing to sell, the price should remain elevated. As I see it, it’s the other early pressings that need to have more attention paid to them. The light blue 2nd Pressing is rarer than the 1st Pressing but the average person buying or selling the record online may have difficulty differentiating it with the later dark blue cover re-issues. I would say, that in terms of importance, this particular 2nd Pressing with the light blue cover is a key record to have for any collector. In my opinion, there were fewer pressed and it is the first record ever put out by the band that had their 4 bar logo and their now trademarked “BLACK FLAG” font… The very limited 3rd Pressing, the first to be issued with a red ink sleeve and curved top jacket design, is also extremely rare and should be recognized as a record whose value can only go up. The 4th Pressing seems to have about the same number of copies out there as 2 and 3, it should still be sought after as it was the last pressing to use the “Bubble Font”.  I think that the more correct information about these first four pressings that shows up online, the more people are going to realize the rarity of each of the earlier pressings and the price should start to rise on these because of the scarcity.  

Aside from the earliest versions, there also seems to be a lot of interest in the color vinyl versions and so the prices for those seem to be a bit higher than many of the black vinyl pressing counterparts.

SUMMARY

Based on facts and first hand observations, I would say that the 1st pressing was 2,000 copies of the Brick Wall design. The 2nd pressing was 1,000 copies using the light blue cover rounding out the first 3,000 copies Greg Ginn spoke of in his 1980 Outcry Magazine interview. Because of availability, I would guess that the 3rd pressing with the red cover was about 1,000 copies or less and the 4th pressing (or version) with the red cover was likely to be about 1,000 also. These first four pressings all had the pink labels with the "R" and the "E" in "RECORDS" that touch.

The 5th pressing (or version) with the red ink cover and pink label with the "R" and the "E" in "RECORDS" that DON'T touch was probably 3,000 or more as it seems to be found for sale the most often. The 6th pressing was the only other version that had the identical pink label as the 5th pressing (but it had a different deadwax runout) and it isn't known how many of these were pressed, it too seems to be fairly rare. It also isn't known how many of the 7th pressing with the blue label and yellow vinyl were produced.  I would like to see the archives for the record company(s) that pressed all these, it would certainly close the case and expose the true numbers.

There are some other great blogs and sources by other collectors that have photo discographies and their information also more or less supports my findings. Others such as Discogs and Wikipedia are sites that I have contributed to. Here are several links:

I welcome comments, additional information and corrections to anything I have posted. Please let me know if you have a version that is not listed here so that I can update my information.

Last Update: 21 Sep 2015 / 1:30am PST

Content written by Hanson Meyer 
hansonmeyer@yahoo.com