I own a lot of records (I'm sure most of the reader's of this blog have this in common with me). And similar to most of you, I have my favorites and most prized, which is not always based solely on monetary value, but usually based on affinity for the band, back-story of acquisition, or perhaps sentimental value.
One of these records is Blackspot's "Check Out The Helmet" 7" on purple vinyl.
"Check Out The Helmet" was one of the first 4 or 5 hardcore records I owned. I picked it up, along with the Function 7", Mean Season 7", NYHC "Way It Is" LP, and YOT's BDTW (Rev pressing), at Lido Skateboards in Newport Beach when they used to sell records in the back. They also played the 2nd hardcore show I ever attended. Needless to say, I've had an affinity and soft-spot for the band ever since.
Come the late 90's, I found myself living in Santa Cruz, CA and hanging out with Blackspot's drummer Sean, who was living there at the time, on a regular basis. We even tried to form a band at one point with Casey Watson of Yaphet Kotto (later Look Back and Laugh, Never Healed, etc.), but my lack of vocal abilities and lackadaisical attitude towards actually writing lyrics probably had a lot to do with the project going nowhere. I think that band eventually became The Anasazi, although I could be totally wrong about that? Anyway, hanging out with Sean on the semi-regular finally afforded me the chance to pick his brain with Blackspot fanboy questions that had been lingering in my brain for half a decade. The most pressing of these questions obviously related to the vinyl discography. As Sean remembered, when the Blackspot 7" was pressed on black, clear, and orange vinyl, the pressing plant decided to screw around and make a few random colors. When the band received the records, they pulled out these random colors for themselves. It amounted to something like 1 on green, 1 on pink, 1 on purple, etc. As an avid Blackspot fan and record collector, these elusive "one-offs" fast became the holy grail for me. But how to get one? The band members owned them all and seemed in no mood to give them up. I filed this information away in the back of my mind and moved on.
Around 2000, Jav called me up with some insane news. He had been shopping at Vinyl Solution and came upon a Blackspot 7" on purple vinyl, which he promptly purchased. I told him that I flat-out did not believe him, knowing very well that Sean wouldn't sell his purple copy. He swore he had one and was would give it to me, as Jav and I have that type of friendship where if I have something I know he'd like more than me, it's his. And vice versa.
Next time I saw Sean I told him of my score, and of course he didn't believe me. "No way, dude" he probably said. He was convinced they removed all the weird colors from the boxes. Obviously, they overlooked this one, which is understandable as it's a light non-opaque purple, which could have been easily confused for a clear pressing. Either way, I now owned one and was stoked.
Of course I had to give Jav something he'd value in return. It so happened that during the Throwdown '99 Summer Tour, we had played a few shows with NYC's legendary 25 Ta Life. One show was in New Jersey and was notable (to us at least) for 25 playing "Strength Through Unity" multiple times during the set along with Warzone's "As One" a couple times as well. This show was also the first time Schieppetti sang for Throwdown, as Keith wasn't feeling well (eventually leading to Sheep doing vocal duties at other shows, then starting Bleeding Through...). The other show was at some total s**thole in Connecticut, possibly with Sworn Enemy? This show is notable for Rick Ta Life breaking out a box of t-shirts from the trunk of his car. Keith and I furiously dug through size XXL after size XXXXL looking for something remotely our size. Keith scored a sweet kelly-green joint, and I grabbed an awesome baby-blue with white ink one. Oh yeah, Throwdown got paid in change that night. Straight-up, a handful of quarters, CHANGE! I'm not joking.
Anyway, I knew Jav was a bigger 25 Ta Life fan than me, so it was that baby-blue 25 shirt that he received in return for the Blackspot 7". A great trade from both sides, if you ask me. I wonder if he still owns it?