Rivalry Records

Rivalry Records is a record label that I started with my best friend from childhood, Zach Harlan. What you see here are photos of every single Rivalry release, but the write-ups for each band aren’t quite as detailed as what you may have read in some of the other blog entries. Granted, the Rivalry bands are full of some of my closest friends and are super important to me, so naturally I have a billion fun stories to go with each release. So you’re probably wondering why I wouldn’t have documented that stuff before anything else?! Well, I actually do feel a bit guilty about that, because I know the dudes have got to be wondering what’s up with that! To be honest, there are 3 main reasons for that… The first is very straight forward: some of it has already been done. When I was running Rivalry, I kept a pretty tight ship on the vinyl discography. I had a lot of fun writing up all the detailed little stories about pressing mishaps or fun things about what the band wanted to do with the vinyl for that release, etc. I felt like a lot of the vinyl pressing documentation had already been covered, so I figured I’d just link directly to the Rivalry vinyl discography, which is still online. Granted, that vinyl discography only has stories about the actual vinyl pressing process, with very little about my emotional attachment to the band, or how they came to be part of the Rivalry family, etc. So I do realize that I’m leaving out a lot of the very details that have made the rest of this vinyl blog so special – the background, context, and importance of these bands and how they played a role in my personal life. So I did try to add just a little bit of that here, covering how and why the band came to have a relationship with Rivalry. But that is a nice transition into the 2nd reason why I am probably not going to write more lengthy blog posts about the importance of each release… It would feel too self-indulging and/or pompous to speak about the importance of records that I released myself, since this blog has ultimately evolved into a documentation of how others’ efforts in hardcore have made a positive effect on me and my life during my formative years. I can only hope that something that I’ve played a part in creating has had a similar impact on someone out there. But that’s not for me to write about…. That’s for someone else to appreciate and reflect on. Which leads me to the 3rd reason: It just feels too overwhelming. I have a billion amazing memories of hanging out with all of the guys in each band, and how they have all positively affected my life. To try to capture all of it here would be impossible, time-consuming, and ultimately exhausting. Worse yet, I would undoubtedly leave out any number of details that would hurt people’s feelings because they weren’t included – and it would all be simply due to the innocence/ignorance of a fuzzy mind and/or lack of time. I just know that I can’t commit to writing the volumes that I would inevitably write about Rivalry Records, because it would be a year-long project. With me being such a perfectionist, sometimes I need to keep myself in check and know when to tell myself that too much is too much…. And I know that trying to tackle a nostalgic lookback at Rivalry Records would be too much. I would end up insisting on writing a novel (literally). Hmmm…. What an idea! haha. Ok, so I’m just going to leave it at this: “Rivalry Records was an amazing 6 year period of my life when I got the unique opportunity to do something productive, inspiring, and impactful on a truly global scale with 30+ of my closest friends. I will forever be grateful to them for the commitment and faith that they put in me. Though Zach Harlan and myself were the faces of Rivalry Records, our label truly was so much more – it was a family. I always saw all of the band members/roadies/significant others, Naoma Johnston (booking shows at 924 Gilman St.), my roommate Aaron Menesez (Right On bassist), and Ryan Mattos (Rivalry screen-printer, Gilman show coordinator, Ceremony guitarist) as just as much of an integral part of Rivalry Records as anything else. Without this sense of community, I don’t think Rivalry Records would have been able to accomplish even half of the things that we did. Thank you to the entire Rivalry Family, for all of your friendship, hard work, and most importantly, for all of the good times. We killed it.” ūüôā

RVL-000 The Damage Done – “Never Wash Away” 7″“Never Wash Away” was technically released on Western Front Records, but I financed the release myself. Western Front did not have the time or resources to put out the record at this time, and I did not really have a record label up and running. So we worked out a deal where I would pay for the pressing and they would help me with sending out mail order and getting into the small distribution channels. In a way, I guess this was the first record I ever put out… I sometimes think of it as Rivalry #0 or Rivalry #-1 (negative). In fact, when I started sending copies to Revelation, it needed a new catalog number, so I called it RIVAL000.

Zach Harlan made this test pressing cover. I guess this was also the beginning of him making all of them! In the future, he would go on to make every single Rivalry Records test pressing cover. The photo features James playing guitar and Connor Spencer (Lights Out) stage diving at 924 Gilman St in Berkeley, CA. We used this photo on the back of a grey “varsity” hoodie design too.

Zach also made this cool Jaws record release cover. I love this cover!

The stamp reads “The Damage Done, Never Wash Away, Record Release #/90”, but the length of the stamp proved kind of difficult when stamping.

After the record release, we still didn’t have the covers. We made these covers just to sell at shows until we got the real covers (which ended up being quite a few shows). We used the left-over orange vinyl from the record release (but removed the “record release #/90” portion of the stamp), as well as some blue copies when the orange ran out.

Here’s the full layout of that pre-cover. Zach made these as well.

I’ve found a few copies on yellow vinyl that have some black swirl or red swirl.

To match the layout, I ordered the vinyl as transparent blue vinyl mixed with clear vinyl, to lighten up the blue into a cool “ice blue”. Most copies came out looking ice blue, but some are the typical transparent blue color (top left) because the clear vinyl ran low in the mix at one point in the pressing. Also, the one in the bottom right hand corner has some weird dark black circles in it.

Scott Magrath did this layout for us. When he asked me what kind of layouts that I liked, I told him that I loved In My Eyes “Nothing To Hide” and the Champion “Count Our Numbers” layouts. The Damage Done layout is obviously a 100% complete bite of those two layouts, but that’s not Scott’s fault – I told him to do it! haha. To this day, I’m still a total sucker for really nice, clean “design-y” looking layouts.

This was a cool drawing that our friend Zane did for us. Zach Harlan once asked me if I named our band after the Neil Young song with lyrics “I’ve seen the needle and the damage done”. I definitely didn’t, but thought that was a cool tie-in for a band full of straight edge dudes. I asked Zane to do a drawing with that as the theme. I think it turned out cool, but unfortunately we never got a chance to do a shirt or anything with it. Back then, digital photography wasn’t what it is today, and I was having a hard time finding a scanner that was big enough. Scott Magrath finally helped me by scanning it in pieces, but that was near the end of our band and we never got to make the shirt.

RVL-1¬† The Physical Challenge – “Some Still Care” 7″Zach was going to¬†college in Portland, OR and told me about this band, The Physical Challenge, that was fucking awesome live and was working¬†their asses off. He said they just needed a little push to get their name out there.¬† My band, The Damage Done, had recently broken up, and I was looking for a way to stay involved with hardcore now that I had a “career type job” and couldn’t travel as much.¬† I wanted to¬†give all of these cool bands that were popping up on the West Coast a voice, since it often takes the East Coast quite a while to notice what’s going on out here.¬† Zach and I had been friends since we were 5 years old, and we thought it would be awesome to start a record label together…¬† Rivalry Records was born!¬† Originally we wanted to start off slowly, releasing this as a CDEP only.¬† But a year or two later, Tim from Step Off Records in Germany contacted us, and wanted to press this recording on 7″.¬† We were stoked on getting some exposure in Europe,¬†so we¬†agreed to license the vinyl to him!¬† So there was never an actual vinyl pressing on Rivalry.

Zach is super close with Linas Garsys (American Nightmare, AFI, Nerve Agents artwork), so he had gotten Linas to do the Physical Challenge CDEP artwork for us!¬† When this 7″ licensing opportunity came around, Linas wanted to amend the artwork a bit.¬† So the 7″ artwork is based on the original CDEP artwork, but is quite different…. Godzilla!

Me, Zach, and The Physical Challenge. In front of Rivalry HQ in Concord, CA the day of Rivalry Showcase #1 in 2004. I have no idea why I have that shitty sneer on my face!

RVL-2 Time For Living – “The Cheat Is Not Dead” CDFor Rivalry’s 2nd release, I had¬†been watching¬†a local SF Bay Area band, Time For Living, work their asses off and not get the respect that they deserved. They seemed like the perfect fit for Rivalry #2!¬† Again we did CD only to keep costs low, so there was never any vinyl pressed for this release.¬† I liked the Blue Monday “What’s Done Is Done” EP layout, so I asked the dude¬†if he would like to¬†do the Time For Living layout.¬† He did a great job!¬† We went ahead and spent some extra money to make promo posters, because we really wanted people to take Time For Living and Rivalry Records seriously!¬† I always felt like the biggest mistake new labels make is doing things in a way that¬†looks¬†“cheap” or “amateur”, so people don’t take it seriously.¬† I’m all about saving money, but I think there are some things that are necessary to build a “profile” for your band and your label.¬† Posters on the walls of venues to promote shows is one of those things that helps build awareness really well!

RVL-3 The Damage Done – “City Of Hope” 7″The Damage Done was a band that I started with my closest friends during college. Though we only existed for about a 3 year period, this band and the extended group of friends surrounding it were crucial to my life and development. For a lonely kid far away from home who didn’t fit in with the typical “college crowd” , The Damage Done basically became my family in San Luis Obispo, CA. This band created bonds that have lasted well into adulthood, and I still treat these dudes like family… The Damage Done decided to break up in May of 2003. We had been writing several songs for a full length album, but with doing the band long distance plus work and school, life had just gotten in the way. At first we decided to just scrap the songs and enjoy the summer by playing a couple of last shows. After giving it some thought, we really wanted to record the songs, just to have for ourselves. We never intended to release it, since we were breaking up anyway. With the death of our friend Jeremy Johnson heavy on my mind, I finished up the lyrics to the few songs that we actually had ready to record. We recorded in our friend’s bedroom, and our guitarist Dave Copp did a lot of the recording and mixing himself. It couldn’t have come out better! This is far and away the best material we ever recorded, and it’s one of my favorite/proudest things I’ve ever done in my whole life. The entire process, from beginning to end, was so personal and honest, and I think it will forever bond me to that group of guys. I had recently started Rivalry Records with Zach Harlan, and was so stoked on how the TDD recording turned out, that I decided to release it as Rivalry #3. This recording will forever be dedicated to Jeremy Johnson and the positive impact that he had on the lives of every member of our band. The song and album are titled “City Of Hope” because that’s the hospital in L.A. that Jeremy was in when I was writing the song before he passed away.

Originally we only released this recording on CD and sold it at our last show. Scott Magrath did a quick little 4.5×4.5″ cover/lyric sheet for me. We were trying to save money and do this entire CD pressing for under $500. So everything was just black and white DIY printing. Scott went with the bright orange CD color as the only color used for this entire release. I think it looks perfect with the black and white layout. The stickers didn’t come with this CD or anything – I just threw them in the photo.

We sold this t-shirt at our last show on October 4th, 2003. Zach Harlan put this design together, based off the Battle Royale movie design.

The back of the last show shirt.

I wrote the lyrics “More than words, more than just three chords” in the TDD song, “Stand”, which is on the “Never Wash Away” EP.

About a year later, when Rivalry was going well and I was feeling comfortable with the costs of pressing vinyl, I decided to go ahead and release it on 7″. I knew it would be impossible to sell very many copies since we had broken up a year prior, but it was worth it for me to be able to hold a piece of vinyl in my hands. Zach Harlan used Scott Magrath’s original layout on the outside, but created this cool collage of photos for the inside. I’ve always loved this 7″ layout because the way it is put together is super un-conventional… Usually 7″s have color outside, with black and white inside. This one is reversed, and the color just kind of surprises you when you open it up. Not to mention it’s kind of unique with the lyrics on the back cover, with the inside being solely photos. I love how bright it looks with the orange vinyl too. All in all, I think it perfectly captures what this release was all about for me and my friends.

A closer look at the inner collage.

Jeremy Johnson made these “Cloud Mafia” stickers after his brother Jordan passed away. I think “The Cloud Mafia” was his way of celebrating and remembering his brother. A few years later when Jeremy passed away, someone made stickers for him too. I think it was probably his wife Megan, and/or his sister Kate, that made them.

Another look at the stickers.

Test pressing covers have one of my favorite photos. It’s James and I at “Brotherhood Park” in Seattle.

The pressing was supposed to be simple: there were only supposed to be transparent orange vinyl and white vinyl. But the grooves on the entire 1st pressing were fucked up (despite the test pressings being fine – long story!), so we had to trash the entire pressing. I wanted to keep the theme of orange vinyl because I thought it looked cool with the black layout, so I did solid orange vinyl and blue vinyl when they did the re-pressing to fix the groove issue. Just for fun, I kept all the various shades that showed up with the solid orange pressing. The 2nd row is the original fucked up 1st pressing transparent orange, the 3rd row is various shades of the solid orange re-pressing.

We got a few copies with the fucked up 1st pressing that were actually transparent red.

We also got a weird white variant with the fucked up 1st pressing. A few of them had inverse labels (the “more silver” labels). They must have quickly realized it and had to re-print the labels, because there were only a few of the inverse labels.

Here’s some blue vinyl copies, with slight shade and swirl differences.

Zach Harlan made this flier for a show when he was living in Portland, OR. The drawing was done by my friend’s boyfriend and was used earlier as a Damage Done t-shirt design. This weekend of shows with Allegiance was really cool. I have a bunch of photos of all of the bands hanging out at the venue in Portland. We had this funny mini-bike that we found somewhere (??) and were riding around everywhere, haha. I’ll always remember this weekend with bittersweet memories…. We had such a fun time, but when we returned home, we found out that our friend Jeremy Johnson had passed away due to a complication with his bone marrow transplant while we were gone. Needless to say, it hit us all really hard.

Crew photo in Portland, featuring mini-bike! The Damage Done + Allegiance + Rosary. Voegtli was sick and couldn’t make the trip with us. I think Eightclip played bass for TDD on this Northwest weekend!!

Crew photo in Seattle at “Brotherhood Park”. Dave Larson makes an appearance! …With Horwitz, Dave, me, and James.

Dave made this giant potato gun just before heading out on that Northwest weekend. He is an engineer, so this dude was always coming up with something… We were young and dumb, so we definitely fired this thing off while driving down the interstate with the mini-van side-door wide open. So sketch!

Here’s a better look at the size of this damned thing. We pulled over on the side of I-5 somewhere in Oregon, and were just firing this thing off into some dude’s farmland. No wonder they hate Californians! This time Horwitz is handling the aim, while Justin Hoffman handles the firing responsibilities.

Hang outs at the very first Rivalry Showcase (2004) in Danville, CA. This was the only Showcase for which we did not release a DVD.

SLO/Simi crew + IBC rootbeer 40’s! An old-ass photo when I was still in college, living in San Luis Obispo, CA. All the homies from Simi Valley came up to party, straightedge stylee. Yes, that’s me wearing a Backstreet Boys shirt. I’m ironic, get it?

Over 8 years later, for my 30th Birthday at John Eightclip’s house in Carpinteria, CA. Still the best of friends! Check out Dave’s Volkswagen Bus in the background that he recently restored.

RVL-4 Killing The Dream – “s/t” 7″Rivalry #4 was the first piece of vinyl I ever pressed on Rivalry (The Damage Done was Rivalry #3, but I actually pressed it after the KTD 7″). Zach and I had become friends with Eli over the years of us living in Oroville/Chico, CA and going to shows at Westcoast Worldwide in Sacramento, CA. We would always hang out at shows in Sacramento, even when we were basically 3 of the 15 total people that were there! Eli was always super supportive of Zach’s band, Conscientious Objector, as well as almost any band that came through Sacramento. All around, he’s basically the nicest dude ever, haha! Eventually Eli started his own band with some of the other guys that we knew from Sacramento – Bart, Joel, and Isaac. Later we’d also get to know Chris Chase and DJ. I remember Eli playing the KTD demo CD-R for Zach and I in the front seat of my car while we were hanging outside a show at Westcoast Worldwide. This was before we had ever started Rivalry Records. Then Eli found out that he had a medical issue with his vocal chords and he had to put his band on hold. In the meantime, Zach and I started Rivalry and released the Physical Challenge and Time For Living records. When Eli was better and knew he could continue, we asked him if he’d like KTD to be the next band on Rivalry!

The CD itself was pretty cool, so it was worth showing here too. Normally CD’s are pretty boring so I don’t even bother taking photos of them. But I’ve always loved the way this clear disc turned out.

Test pressing

This is one of a kind! It’s a result of the transition between the yellow and grey vinyl. We only got this one yellow copy that had any dark markings at all. This is one of my favorite Rivalry pressing variants that we ever received.

A closer look.

We had already booked and promoted the record release show, but KTD could not play due to illness. 924 Gilman St. in Berkeley, CA books up 4-5 months in advance, so there was no possibility to re-schedule for anytime soon. Since Rivalry was such a young label, we really needed this record release show to sell some records quickly to begin recouping towards the debt incurred with pressing the records. The band and I decided it would be best for me to go ahead and sell the record release edition at the show, despite the fact that the band could not play. (The alternative was simply selling the CD, but not the vinyl). Zach put together this little insert that we inserted in each piece of yellow vinyl sold that night.

The yellow vinyl record release copies came in a couple of different shades: pale banana yellow or a brighter canary yellow. There were also very few copies that were somewhat transparent yellow with white swirls (top).

Another view of the yellows, this time the transparent yellow with white swirl is on the left.

Holding up to the light gives the best view of the difference. The super limited transparent yellow with white swirls is definitely the coolest looking.

We ordered grey vinyl, but almost all of them showed up as black vinyl. They mix black and white vinyl to make grey, but we only got a few that looked like the grey marble on the left.

About half of the clear vinyl pressing were regular clear vinyl (right), the other half showed up as “coke bottle clear”, which has a little green tint (left).

I asked Chris Canon to do the KTD layout, the same guy that did the Modern Life Is War “My Love. My Way.” layout. We really liked the feel of the old Americana antique look used in the MLIW layout, so we asked Chris to do something similar for the KTD 7″. With the band’s name being “Killing The Dream”, I thought that kind of “American dream” imagery was appropriate.

I was short on budget to actually make posters, so I ran off some one-sided copies of the 7″ cover that were not folded. We used them as 7×14″ “promo posters”. They’re pretty small to be posters, but they came in handy to mail to promoters who were booking KTD shows to use as promos/fliers.

Here’s the first hoodie that Rivalry ever printed. Zach had recently made this KTD Logo for the test pressing cover, so he used it for the hoodie too. The “Rival Records” hood print was pretty dope.

RVL-5 In Control “s/t” 7″When In Control decided to call it quits, my old buddy Zack Nelson (In Control guitarist) asked me if I’d like to release the final IC recording.¬† Zack arranged for a friend to do a custom watercolor painting¬†to use as the cover art.¬† The painting was done by Jeff Beckman of Chokehold/Left For Dead/Our War/Haymaker.¬† I really like how it turned out, he did an awesome job!

Here’s a look at the various shades of purple vinyl. There were even a few copies that came out as burgundy vinyl (top right)¬†due to the transition of purple to red vinyl.

Test pressing

I fucking love this photo, taken around Oxnard somewhere.¬† “Thanks Oxnard for destroying this farmland,” hahaha.

Test pressing labels

RVL-6 Allegiance / Internal Affairs – “Split” 7″Rivalry #6 was a split release between Rivalry Records and Malfunction Records, one band from each label.

People often ask me what’s up with this test pressing cover… I honestly don’t know. I know Linas and Tru would usually have their friend Dave Brown make test pressing covers. I’m not sure if this was one of Dave’s creations or not.

The only color pressed was gold vinyl, but there were just a few that came out this rootbeer color during the pressing transition from gold vinyl to black vinyl.

Tru and Linas had Robby Redcheeks screen-print these covers for Posi Numbers Fest 2004. When I arrived at Posi Numbers, Tru gave me half of them to sell at the Rivalry table. These covers turned out awesome!

Close-up of the numbering.

Robby experimented with printing alternate ink colors, but these were never used on any actual covers.

When we arrived at Posi Numbers, we were surprised to see that Internal Affairs had already made their own limited cover for the fest. There must have been some miscommunication between Tru and I.A.

There were a few copies discovered to have the same labels on both sides. We’ve seen 20 or more copies that have Internal Affairs labels on both sides. But there is only one single copy that we have seen with Allegiance labels on both sides. I got that one copy from Tru in a trade a couple of years ago. Obviously I can’t really show the same labels on both sides in one photo, but here’s a photo of the double-IA label and the double-Allegiance label copy… You’ll just have to trust me.

Close-up of the Allegiance label.

Close-up of the I.A. label.

Linas did an awesome job with the layout and the snake drawing on the cover. I really dig those snakes!

The snakes were used on several Allegiance and Internal Affairs shirts in a couple of different ink and t-shirt combos. Here’s the brown snakes on a grey hoodie. There was also orange snakes on a black t-shirt (SF Giants!).

RVL-7 Another Breath – “Not Now, Not Ever” LPWhen my friends in Our Turn flew out to the East Coast to play some shows, they happened to play a show with Another Breath in their small hometown of Fulton in upstate New York. When they came home, Isaac Fratini (drummer of Our Turn and Killing The Dream) and Carl Cordova (Our Turn vocalist) both told me that they played with this band called “Another Breath” that went crazy at a basement show, and gave me their “demo CD” to check out. It turns out the “Not Now, Not Ever” recording was their “demo”. This band had practiced their asses off, saved their money, and recorded their own first recording with Kurt Ballou at God City! Crazy! I was pretty floored… You don’t hear stories like this every day, of a band going to God City for their first recording. Usually the first thing you do as a band kinda sucks… But that was absolutely not the case with this one. You could tell that they had focused and put everything they had into this recording. It didn’t take more than a few listens for me to contact the band and figure out how we could get this thing released ASAP on Rivalry. They had already been in talks with Jan at Assault Records in Europe to release it on vinyl. So, I agreed to get the CD out ASAP, and Jan could continue with pressing the vinyl. I never did a vinyl pressing of this record on Rivalry, so all versions you see were released on Assault Records from Germany.

There were only 6 test pressings pressed by Assault Records, so these are very tough to find.

Pre-order edition on orange vinyl with sticker on dust sleeve.

Tour edition on red vinyl with sticker on dust sleeve. There are also 18 copies on red that do not have a sticker on the dust sleeve.

2nd pressing with screen printed cover and new labels. Sign language… “A.B.”, get it? This came on white vinyl and black vinyl.

2nd pressing on white vinyl with limited cover and stamped labels.

The back of the limited cover.

Cool layout by John Twentyfive.

Promo poster. I dig the “Come see us rip it up…”.

Someone emailed me this photo of the Rivalry promo posters hanging up in a store in Europe. This was a big deal for us. It blew our minds that our posters were hanging in a record store halfway across the world next to an Elton John poster! Stuff like this always made all of the hard work worth it.

Poster for a Euro Tour with Verse.

RVL-8 Verse – “Rebuild” LPRivalry #8. This was “RIVAL” Records’ first LP, and it really defined what this label was going to be all about, so this will always be a super special record to me. Verse is the band that really put Rivalry Records on the map, especially with getting the East Coast to notice what the Rivalry Family was doing out here on the West Coast. This early struggle to push through all sorts of barriers and make our mark on the world will forever bond me to this group of dudes.

This is one of a kind, and one of my favorite pieces of vinyl that I own. It is the result of the transition between the green vinyl and the gold vinyl in the machine at the pressing plant. When I went in to Bill Smith Custom Records to pick up the completed LPs, I saw this LP hanging on the wall amongst a bunch of other cool “abnormalities” that they’ve had over the years of pressing records. I told the guy I needed to have that record. He relucantly handed it over, and it now hangs in a frame on the wall in my home.

Test pressings have stamped labels. 12 of the 14 test pressings come with regular jackets. Zach and I each kept a copy without a jacket because we only had the 12 extra jackets, so this one does not have a jacket.

A closer look.

The only distinct colors pressed were green marble, transparent yellow, and black. Here you can see a couple of cool variants – a green copy with some yellow in it (upper left), and a yellow copy with some black streaks (lower left).

I kept quite a few of the green copies (only 122 pressed originally). I remember being super excited because this was the first LP that I had ever pressed on my own, and to top it off, I always loved the green vinyl of the Judge LP. Finally holding it in my hands was a big moment for me, so I kept a bunch of em! There are some various shades, varying from a lighter mint green to a nice “judge green” marble.

Check out the original “RIVAL” Records logo, before we were forced to change the name to Rivalry.

A quick pre-pressing on black vinyl with blank labels was made for Posi Numbers 2004. We had the jackets finished, but the vinyl was lagging. These were overnighted to me, I stamped and assembled them, and I took them on the airplane with me to Philly! So fucking heavy! This was the fateful Posi Numbers at the “maze” place, where there were all the gnarly fights and everything. I remember sitting there trying to get out of the way, as some dude got smashed on the Allegiance merch table, breaking the table in half!

For the first Verse European Tour, we did a 2nd pressing on black vinyl with yellow labels. The night before they were flying out, Sean decided to stay up all night spray painting covers. He very quickly realized this much spray paint was going to make him high, not to mention that he probably didn’t have enough paint to finish even half of them. He stopped doing the Providence skyline after only a few of them. The rest just have the band name and european tour text… So good luck finding a Providence stencil. There could be anywhere from 10 to 30 of these, but I very rarely see them pop up.

Here’s a poster from that Euro Tour where they sold the Rebuild LP’s.

Sean didn’t have time to finish making jackets for all of the yellow label copies, so the remaining 69 copies were used later for a California weekend cover when Verse flew out for Rivalry Showcase 2006.

Close up of the Cali Weekend cover.

The layout. I always especially really liked the back cover of this LP jacket. Verse always represented their Providence roots, and I really liked that. I think it’s really important for punk to have a regional/local flavor in the band’s aesthetic. John Twentyfive did an awesome job with designing and executing the layout.

I printed extra inserts and used them as promo posters.

The Verse “Schizo” press. I had 41 extra gold vinyl “Rebuild” LP’s and inserts with no jackets. Rather than make a limited cover for the Rivalry Showcase, we threw the Rebuild LP’s inside “From Anger And Rage” LP jackets.

“From Anger And Rage…. Comes Rebuilding”. You see what I did there?

A longsleeve printed for the Summer 2005 tour with Bane.

This was right after we changed our name to Rivalry, and this was the first shirt that had the new Rivalry “R crest” logo. We printed it really big on the back to draw attention. We ended up continuing this big back print on a ton of our merch in the future.

RVL-9¬† The Physical Challenge – “I Quit” LPThe 2nd release from The Physical Challenge, this time a¬†full length album.¬† We had an offer from Punchline Productions in Europe to release the vinyl for us, so we took them up on the offer.¬† There was never an official Rivalry pressing of this LP, however we did get an exclusive color to sell.¬† The pink vinyl was only available from Rivalry, while the grey vinyl was only available from Punchline in Europe.

Again, Linas Garsys put the layout together for us.

Promo poster

RVL-10¬† More To Pride – “This Is Life” 7″I started hearing things about these kids from Lynwood and South Central, Los Angeles playing straight up hardcore… Then I saw them live and could just see so much potential!¬† John Eightclip and I kind of embraced them and kept pumping them up to come up to the Bay Area and record an EP for Rivalry.¬† They wrote some songs and recorded “This Is Life”.¬† Man, this thing smokes!¬† All I could imagine¬†was this band continuing to improve and take Carry On’s place as the fast, angry hardcore kings of the West Coast, something my friends and I were all sorely missing so badly since Carry On broke up.¬† That moment seemed so close at Sink With Cali Fest, when More To Pride played in the middle of the day and that place fucking exploded.¬† It felt like the entire room was moshing, partying, and going crazy.¬† Hell yeah, this is what I was hoping for!¬† Unfortunately, the band couldn’t keep it together for long, and the members¬†lost interest, broke up, and kinda went there separate ways.¬† It’s so unfortunate, because there was so much to love about this band!¬† Rarely do you have a cool hardcore band like this¬†from a truly¬†disadvantaged area.¬† Hardcore can be so suburban and sterile, and I really wanted to see these guys¬†keep it up!

Test pressing

The back of every Rivalry 7″ test pressing follows this same layout.¬† Zach used the same template from day one.

MTP did an N.W.A. rip-off for their Record Release cover! hahaha!  Perfect.  Numbered out of 50 on the back.

Sink With Cali cover.

The back of the Sink With Cali cover, numbered out of 45.¬† R&R Construction is Richard’s dad’s company where he works everyday, hahahaha!¬† They have a song about it: “R&R Construction, I hate you. R&R Construction, you make my day blue!”¬† So ridiculous, I love it!

The cover drawing was done by one of Jesse’s friends in Lynwood, I believe.¬† Then John Twentyfive put the layout together using that drawing and some photos.

Promo poster

RVL-11 Allegiance – “s/t” 7″This 7″ was originally released by Aram Arslanian (Champion) on Anchor Records, which was his first label long before he ever started React Records. I later re-released the CD as Rivalry #11, but I never re-pressed it on vinyl. I know there was also a black vinyl pressing (not pictured above), and maybe I’m missing something else? Not sure.

The back of the rejected test pressing in blue (left), accepted test pressing in white (right). It seems like Aram always had trouble with vinyl pressing plants!! There were also rejected test pressings for the What Feeds The Fire 7″ on Anchor, Champion 7″ and LP on Bridge 9, as well as some rejected tests on React!

The cover is a sweet tri-fold layout. This has always been my favorite way to package a 7″!

RVL-11.5 Allegiance – “Demo 2002″ 7”I pressed the Demo 2002 on vinyl and gave it away free to anyone who pre-ordered the re-issue of the Allegiance “s/t” CD on Rivalry.

Test pressing. For some reason Zach and I had this funny picture of John, and we figured it went well with that weird photo on the 7″ b-side label of Duane in pajamas on tour, holding a toothbrush, haha. All in all, this demo 7″ was something we were doing just for fun to give away for free, so, well…. We had fun with it!

To make pink vinyl, they mix transparent red vinyl with white vinyl. We ended up with 12 solid red marble copies, so we stamped them to denote which we had deemed “solid red”, since there were various shades of darker and lighter pink.

The whole “take your fucking shirts off!” thing was an on-going gag with all of us… The story is something along the lines of Isaac and Duane clowning each other, and eventually Isaac starts busting Duane for always listening to heavy/hard stuff. They stop at a mini mart on tour, and Isaac is either getting out of the van or in the store screaming at Duane “Take your fucking shirts off!” while flexing and posturing, a la “mosh call out” style. I wasn’t there, so I’m sure I’m not getting it exactly right. But this whole thing was always something we’d yell at Duane, so it made the matrix etchings of a few Allegiance releases, as well as this special stamp.

The layout was just a single 7.5″ piece of cardstock, printed front-and-back. There was no fold-over or glue pocket cover.

RVL-12 Allegiance – “Overlooked” LPRivalry #12 was a big deal for us. It came out along with Rivalry #14, Go It Alone’s “The Only Blood Between Us” LP, and it made the Summer of 2005 a really exciting time for Rivalry. Allegiance was a band full of all of my best friends, so this band will always embody the term “family” to me. John Eightclip and I even lived together for many years. He, Ross, Duane, Skones (roadie), and I still hang out on a regular basis, and I think we will always treat each other as brothers. Allegiance and our extended group of friends was always kind of the “home base” for Rivalry Records in the SF Bay Area of California, and we welcomed any Rivalry affiliated band in with open arms and helped them with whatever they needed. Though Zach Harlan and myself were the faces of Rivalry Records, I always saw John, Ross, Duane, Phil Lantz, Skones (Allegiance roadie, Right On vocalist), Naoma Johnston (booking shows at 924 Gilman St.), my roommate Aaron Menesez (Right On bassist), and Ryan Mattos (Ceremony guitarist) as just as much of an integral part of Rivalry Records as anything else. Without this sense of community, I don’t think Rivalry Records would have been able to accomplish even half of the things that we did.

Zach did this cool test pressing cover. The tank isn’t really representative of anything in particular, but it looks awesome! haha.

This was the first time I ever did the whole “a-side/b-side swirl vinyl thing”. I was really psyched on the yellow/black swirl vinyl. It reminded me of a mix of a leopard and tiger spots/stripes. Also – the black and orange nuclear pattern is dope, because it’s SF GIANTS COLORS!! I’m sure Duane didn’t think so… He’s a SD Padres fan, haha.

The “II” on the b-side label of the 2nd pressing.


Someone emailed me this photo of the Rivalry promo posters for the Allegiance and Go It Alone full lengths hanging up in a store in Europe. This was a big deal for us. It blew our minds that our posters were hanging in a record store halfway across the world next to an Elton John poster! Stuff like this always made all of the hard work worth it.

Promo poster for the GIA / Allegiance Euro Tour.

Fliers for a show on the GIA / Allegiance Euro Tour.

GIA / Allegiance crew pic at the end of the Euro Tour.

Something along the lines of Ross paying John a bunch of money to jump off some huge bridge into freezing cold water in Eastern Europe…? Sketch.

RVL-13 Go It Alone – “Vancouver Gold” 7″The 7″ was released on Straight On Records. Later when Rivalry Records was releasing “The Only Blood Between Us” LP, we re-pressed the “Vancouver Gold” CD on Rivalry, but we never re-pressed it on vinyl.

There are only 10 of these test pressings, and it’s basically impossible to find because all of the original people involved have kept their copies. I was lucky enough to get mine in a trade from Donny who helped out with Straight On.

Record release edition.

A closer look.

The back cover of the record release, numbered #19/50.

This limited cover was sold at “JAMuary Fest” in Redondo Beach, CA. I think they only did the “Jamuary” show one time, and it was basically the “Sink With Cali Fest” of the winter time. It was done by the same people, at the same place in Redondo.

The inside of the JAMuary cover is labeled “ebay gold #54/70”. Get it?

Here’s the clear vinyl again, this time with regular cover. There were 150 total on clear – 100 with regular cover, 50 with record release cover. This one is #16/100.

The entire 2nd pressing was red vinyl mixed with white vinyl. This creates mostly pink vinyl, but there are some red marble copies as well. I just noticed that for some reason the label art changed on the 2nd pressing. Not totally sure why they did that.

This layout is flawless. Scott Magrath did an awesome job on it. I love all the photos and the metallic gold ink. I always like it when a band is heavily influenced by their geography, and this layout shows how the various sides of Vancouver have helped shaped the members of GIA.

Such a classic band photo. Love this. Love these dudes.

This was a cool screen printed poster that GIA made during the “Vancouver Gold” era, after they had decided to release their LP with us on Rivalry. You can tell it’s done in the same style as their record release cover (screen printed red lettering).

RVL-13.5 Go It Alone – “Seveninch” 7″This one-sided 7″ was given away free to anyone that pre-ordered the re-release of the “Vancouver Gold” CD on Rivalry. It also served as a 7″ single for “The Only Blood Between Us” LP. It features 2 songs off the LP, as well as a rare GIA track that was only released on the “Lookout Below: A Northwest Hardcore Compilation” on Perfect Victim Records.

Test pressing covers have an alternate colorway of the GIA cobra design. Zach Harlan made all of the Rivalry test pressing covers, including this one. They all have the same format, back-flap, and hand numbering.

The b-side of the clear vinyl is screen printed with a cobra drawing, which was originally done by Linas Garsys for a GIA t-shirt design. This 2 color screenprint was done by my buddy Ryan Mattos (you know him as Toast). I remember going over to his house and seeing all of these damned 7″s laying everywhere while they were drying… They looked awesome.

The layout is just one 7.5″ piece of cardstock, printed front and back. There is no fold-over or glue pocket cover. The band wanted something really stark and simple.

Here’s the GIA cobra design on a t-shirt.

RVL-14 Go It Alone – “The Only Blood Between Us” LPRivalry #14 was a big deal for us. It came out along with Rivalry #12, Allegiance “Overlooked” LP, and it made the Summer of 2005 a really exciting time for Rivalry. To put it simply, Go It Alone is one of my favorite bands of all time. They put painstaking detail into every single release and live performance that they ever did, and it showed. To be able to work with one of my oldest hardcore friends, Lucas McFadden (GIA drummer), on so many releases was a really special thing that made Rivalry Records feel like family. It forever bonded me and my friends in California to that entire group of dudes from Vancouver, BC.

Test Pressing

The record release edition is a cool black-on-black screen printed cover. It comes with an acetate lyric sheet and a funny insert of Graham looking grizzled.

A closer look.

Hook wanted to make an appearance on my blog. For some reason he chose to do it by head butting Graham. Hooky for president.

The back of the record release is numbered out of 78.

The distinct vinyl colors. I dig that black/white/grey colorway.

The 2nd pressing clear vinyl copies have a “II” on the b-side label, along with a bunch of blank white label copies that were stamped for various tours.

The “II” on the b-side label of the 2nd pressing.

The first Euro Tour stamp. They didn’t end up stamping all 300 of them, so there were more white label copies left over to use for other tours…

The U.S. Tour stamp.

The second Euro Tour stamp. This time it also came with a screenprinted cover. GIA waited to label the records until they reached each venue. So each stamp means that the record was bought at that specific show on the tour. This one was my favorite – the “New Casino” in Paris on June 25th, 2006.

Here’s a better look at the Euro Tour 2006 cover.

The layout, featuring stark photography and metallic silver ink. I like that they continued the metallic ink theme (“Vancouver Gold” had metallic gold ink). I also like the fact that this LP looks like a crust record or something, instead of a more typical modern hardcore layout. GIA was always very specific about how they wanted their records to look, and Scott Magrath did an awesome job executing on that.

Promo poster

Someone emailed me this photo of the Rivalry promo posters for the Allegiance and Go It Alone full lengths hanging up in a store in Europe. This was a big deal for us. It blew our minds that our posters were hanging in a record store halfway across the world next to an Elton John poster! Stuff like this always made all of the hard work worth it.

Also a shot of the GIA CD for sale in a European record store as a featured end-cap!

Promo poster for the GIA / Allegiance Euro Tour.

Fliers for a show on the GIA / Allegiance Euro Tour.

GIA / Allegiance crew pic at the end of the Euro Tour.

A ridiculous staged “promo photo” on the GIA / Allegiance Euro Tour. If you know anything about the GIA guys, you know this “tough guy” photo was obviously done tongue-in-cheek. There were all sorts of versions of this photo, some with Lucas and John Eightclip from Allegiance posing hard too. The dudes were obviously screwing around one night after the show…

A random flier/poster for the Warsaw, Poland show on another GIA Euro tour, this time with Blue Monday. “Warsaw Mosh Day!”

Allegiance, Go It Alone, Blue Monday. Somewhere on a U.S. Tour.

RVL-15 Killing The Dream – “In Place Apart” LPAfter they signed to Deathwish, Inc., KTD arranged for Rivalry to license their LP on vinyl, while Deathwish would release the CD. It was cool to be able to work with Deathwish, and Tre and I have been friends ever since. I really dig the pink/black swirl color. You rarely see this color combo together, but I think it turned out awesome.

Test pressing

Apparently KTD was big on little record release inserts. Here’s another one!

Layout by Jacob Bannon (Converge, Deathwish Inc.).

RVL-16 Champion / Betrayed – “Split” 7″Over the next year after the Addiction EP came out in June of 2005, Todd and I would always kick around the idea of me putting out some Betrayed songs on some sort of split release on Rivalry Records. I had been close friends with the guys in Champion forever and it seemed natural to do a Champion / Betrayed split 7″. But the only thing we were worried about was having the release be a little stale by doing a split release with two bands where most of the members of one band played in the other too (Aram and Todd Preboski play in both Champion and Betrayed). Not to mention, a split where both bands are playing somewhat of the same style to the same crowd. We talked it over with Aram and the guys in Champion and in the end we all kinda felt like “fuck it, who cares, let’s do whatever we want”, haha. And isn’t that the way it always should be anyway? This split turned out sweet, and was the first appearance of the Betrayed song “Bring It To Life”. That song is sick! It was the first appearance of Todd’s more “rock influenced” song writing that we’d see more of on the Betrayed “Substance”. For the record release show, each band had a different color to sell, with both versions being out of 135 copies. Not only did the record release show happen to be Rivalry Records Showcase 2006, but it was Champion’s second to last show ever. Champion had announced that they were breaking up, and the only show left after the Rivalry Showcase was their final show in Seattle. So these 3 songs were the last Champion songs ever recorded. At the showcase, Betrayed sold the brown/orange swirl copies out of 135, Champion sold the orange/red split out of 135. There were 13 test pressings. The red vinyl with orange splatter was sold to pre-orders, out of 320. The rest of the 1st pressing was 980 on clear vinyl. We quickly did a 2nd pressing on clear vinyl, out of 1525, but the only difference is a small “II” on the b-side label. The problem was, I ran out of covers while assembling the vinyl, so 1325 of those 2nd press clear vinyl got regular covers, and 200 were just sitting there without covers. So, for Betrayed’s “last shows” I made 200 limited covers (I know, I know, they ended up playing shows again a couple years later).

Speaking of Aram and Todd Preboski being in both bands… When we originally announced the Champion / Betrayed split EP, I had this idea to play a joke on Aram (and everyone really – most people seriously didn’t notice), and put this splash page up on my site. I was able to make this image look pretty damned good actually, because Champion and Betrayed had both played the final Carry On shows at the Showcase Theatre in July of 2005. So the photos of Betrayed and Champion that Chrissie Good took that night had very similar lighting. Splicing these together was pretty easy, and it kinda turned out perfect. This still cracks me up when I look at it. “Aram and the Aram’s”, hahahaha.

Originally, we made a couple passes at some different artwork designs, but we weren’t real happy with what we ended up with. Finally, Todd had some ideas, and he got together with our friend Bo Thompson (Snake Eyes vocalist) who he was playing in a band with and hanging out with a lot during that period. They had an idea for a story via photos, with this dude and a beer bottle and “hope/fear” on his knuckles. So they got the photos taken, and let Scott Magrath work his layout magic. Bo Thompson is the dude you see in the photos. Personally, I really love this layout, and think it turned out spectacular. I don’t know if everyone shares the same sentiment. It seems hardcore kids tend to always prefer basic live photo+logo or hand drawn layouts, but I guess I really couldn’t care less. Rivalry was my label to do what I wanted with it, and I was psyched on how this layout turned out. The reds and oranges are super vibrant, and really fit the mood of the rage in the photos and shit. The tri-fold layout looks sweet as well. Plus, it totally has a “2001 vibe” to it (Carry On LP, Hope Con 7″, AN 2nd 7″, Panic 1st 7″, etc), which was the era that Todd and I were so psyched on with Carry On and the evolution of Bridge Nine Records. So it was kind of a throwback to that era.

I made a special cover for the test pressings, just using the inner photo from the tri-fold layout. Todd wanted to make sure the test pressings were not excessive, so there are only 13 in total. We simply made one for each member of both bands, one for Scott Magrath, and one for Zach and myself. They are all hand numbered on the back, mine is #2/13.

Close-up of the “II” on the b-side label to differentiate the 2nd pressing clear copies.

The limited cover for Betrayed’s “last show” was an “out-take” from the photo session they did for the album cover of the “Substance” LP. It’s all of the dudes in “B-boy stances”. All of them look hilarious, but the Todd Jones’ “puckered-lip-face” has gotta be the best one. Haha, I love this photo, man. This cover was obviously made years after the original split 7″ came out, so at this point I had actually already used this photo on the b-side label of the Substance LP too.

The “last shows” were in October 2006. Each record is stamped with a number on the back, out of 200. Mine is #001/200. The clear vinyl that comes with these covers has the second pressing “II” on the label, as shown in the photo above.

RVL-17 Go It Alone / Blue Monday – “Split” 7″Rivalry #17. This split, featuring exclusive new songs by both bands, came out along with the Champion / Betrayed split 7″ for Rivalry Showcase 2006. All four bands played the show at the Petaluma Theatre in Petaluma, CA. There was also a DVD made with live footage from this show.

Test pressing cover features a photo of both bands’ members, plus Matt Smith (as always).

Record release cover with acetate insert.

The back of the record release cover has the date of the show, April 15th, 2006.

The distinct vinyl colors.

“Rain drop vinyl” to match the rain drops on the cover art. I love how this turned out.

I kept a few copies of the blue/orange swirl because I thought the different variants looked kind of cool. It looks like Mark is exploding out of the center of the top one.

Blue Monday made these for their final West Coast tour.

A close up.

The back cover is numbered out of 20 on the red covers, and 30 on the white covers (50 copies total). I don’t know why they made the 2 different colors.

The “II” on the labels of the 2nd pressing white vinyl.

The layout. I love the photo on the cover of this 7″, depicting GIA and Blue Monday’s hometown of “Rain City”.

This is a cool GIA / Have Heart poster that hangs on the wall in my home.

RVL-18¬† The First Step – “What We Know” LPRivalry #18.¬†The First Step is one of the most energetic bands that I’ve ever seen perform live.¬† In my opinion, they¬†channel the sound, intensity, and essence of Youth Of Today better than any other band has ever done. ¬†I¬†love their message of “peace” and being aware of how your actions can harm others.¬† A little bit of that message can go a long way to making this world just a tad better place.¬† I’ve loved The First Step from day one, and I’m stoked that I was able to maintain a friendship with Stephen after all of these years, eventually helping¬†TFS release records on Rivalry Records.

Full color layout, with big double sided 12×24″ folded poster insert.¬† Love this layout.¬† We went all out with it, and I’m so glad we did.

Promo poster

Hand numbered test pressing labels.  Test pressings come with a regular LP jacket, but no insert.

Pre-covers made for TFS West Coast shows because we had gotten the vinyl in, but not jackets yet.

Though there are other printing variations, these are the unique vinyl colors.

Blue vinyl, 1st pressing vs. 2nd pressing with “II” labels.

Close-up of 2nd pressing “II” labels.

TFS Crew stamps put on the dust jackets of a few of the 2nd pressing blue vinyl copies at the last TFS show.

What We Know was licensed to Not Just Words Records for exclusive vinyl release in Europe.  NJW pressed unique vinyl colors that do not overlap with the Rivalry release.

The layout is the exact same on the Not Just Words and Rivalry release, except for the back of the jacket.

Promo poster for a TFS Euro Tour in 2007.

RVL-19 Another Breath – “Mill City” LPRivalry #19. This LP is so fucking awesome. I’ve never understood why this band didn’t get noticed more. After this LP, I honestly thought they would probably end up on Jade Tree or Equal Vision or something, because I knew they had the potential to evolve and keep making cool music that could cross genres.

Test pressing

Another great layout by John Twentyfive. I dig the pop art vibe and the rays in the background. Very cool looking.

Promo poster

Promo poster for the Euro Tour with Victims.

Poster for Syracuse New Year’s Day show.

RVL-20 Verse – “From Anger And Rage” LPRivalry #20

Test pressings come with regular LP jackets.

Some of the spray painted record release covers came with red/white vinyl, but most came with white vinyl.

Close up of the numbered record release.

These were the distinct colors pressed.

Sean and I purposely picked the ugliest color combination we could think of for the “friends pressing” of this LP. I always liked mint chocolate chip ice cream…

When Zach and I were spray painting the Sound And Fury covers, we were dicking around and spray painted some of them “solid gold”. I didn’t sell any of these, but I kept a couple of them lying around at home. The ones we sold at S&F looked like the one in the top of the photo, not the bottom one.

Sound And Fury 2007 copies have spray painted covers and stamped labels.

Gatefold layout.

Long after this album was originally pressed, Prugelprinz Records in Europe repressed it for one of Verse’s European Tours.

Pre-order edition.

Tour edition.

The label’s information on the back cover is the only difference between the layouts of the Rivalry version and euro version. The only other difference: the euro cover is actually red… It doesn’t have that ugly orange-ish tint like the Rivalry version does. The CD version on Rivalry came out appropriately red. I’m not sure why the Rivalry LP jackets came out with that crappy orange tint. That always bummed me out. The photo above really displays the difference in tint.

Promo poster for Verse / Comeback Kid Japan Tour.

I flew to Japan and traveled with Verse, Comeback Kid, and FC Five in a small van. It was an awesome experience. Along the way I grabbed some show posters that were hung up around the cities.

Another show in Japan.

CD-R demos aren’t anything special, but I found this the other day and figured I’d add it here. I became buddies with Scott Wade (the original CBK singer) over AIM (AOL Instant Messenger, haha), and we always talked about how we wished that our bands could play shows together, but we were both “demo only bands”, living thousands of miles apart. Not to mention CBK was isolated way out in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada! A year or two later, they signed to Facedown Records, came out to California, and played shows with my band, The Damage Done. We were stoked! Who knew that 6 years later I would travel with them on a CBK/Verse tour to Japan!

Taken at a show in Japan, with mostly U.S. Marines at the show. It was “interesting”, to say the least.

Sean and I at Nagoya Castle in Japan.

Crew pic at Nagoya Castle. Verse, Comeback Kid, FC Five.

The last show on the Verse / CBK Japan Tour. I obviously missed the memo.

Crew pic just before we left for the airport. This was one of the dude’s in FC Five’s parent’s house. They were so kind as to let all of us stay there for 4 or 5 nights. Unbelievably cool!

Allegiance, Verse, Down To Nothing. Somewhere on a U.S. Tour.

RVL-21 Betrayed – “Substance” LPBetrayed’s “Substance” album was released by Equal Vision Records, but at the request of the band, EVR allowed me to to license the rights to press the vinyl on Rivalry. There were only 10 test pressings. For the 1st pressing, we did 218 on pink vinyl, 328 on blue vinyl, and 622 on white vinyl. The pink vinyl were sold as a record release at Sound And Fury Festival 2006. The 2nd pressing was also white vinyl, out of 1030, but the “II” appears on the b-side label again to denote the difference.

As always, Scott Magrath came through with a great looking layout. I actually love the layout and cover art for this album, but I know a lot of people had a bunch of shitty things to say about them posing for their own album cover, etc etc. I think the stark contrast black and white photography and the typesets used looks really awesome. The still band photos remind me of those Minor Threat photos of the dudes sitting on the front steps or something like that. The Betrayed logo used on this LP was new at the time, and it looks good here. I liked that it looks kinda scratchy and on the crusty punk side of things, despite them being a very clean-cut band. I also like the fact that it’s a big gatefold layout with lots of whitespace. All in all, I think this is a great layout – but I’m the kind of guy that’s always partial to really nice clean layouts.

There are only 10 test pressings of this album, I kept #1/10. Test pressings are numbered on the a-side, have a Rivalry stamp on the b-side, and have the regular gatefold LP jacket.

The b-side label of the Substance LP was actually the first time we used that funny “B-boy” out-take photo. As shown earlier, it was later used on the limited cover of the Champion / Betrayed split 7″. This happens to be a 1st pressing white vinyl copy, so it does not have the “II” on the b-side. The photo below shows the “II” 2nd pressing copy.

Close-up of the “II” used on the b-side label of the 2nd pressing.

RVL-22¬† Red Handed – “s/t 7”Red Handed was a group of high school kids out in the suburbs that John Eightclip and I were turned onto by Max Montez.¬† I could see a mix of Ceremony and Nerve Agents in their style, and thought that with some time and support, they could be a really powerful Bay Area hardcore punk band.¬† So I took a shot!

Test pressing.  That photo of the dudes jumping cracks me up, haha.

We kept the layout low-key and Dustin (vocalist) worked with his girlfriend and some friends to do a drawing and put the layout together.

RVL-23 Go It Alone – “Histories” LPRivalry #23

Test Pressing

The record release had a special stamp on the labels, but no special cover or anything.

Red vinyl was the only real “color”, other than black and white vinyl. It’s also the most limited color, pretty much only given to friends.

The distinct colors pressed.

1st pressing white vinyl.

2nd pressing white vinyl has the usual “II” on the b-side labels like almost all Rivalry releases have. But for this release it was kind of weird, because the layout design already had “I” and “II” to denote A and B side labels. I didn’t want to break the continuity, so I just went ahead and did it on this release too. So the 2nd pressing white vinyl has an extra “II” on the right side.

Labels stamped for Sound And Fury 2007.

We pressed some white vinyl copies with blank labels to be stamped for a European Tour. But I just realized that I never got a copy of the Euro Tour edition for “Histories”, so I can’t take a photo of it!! If you have one, hook me up! haha. Anyway, a couple of years later, I found a few blank label copies in my garage mixed in with some of the regular GIA 2nd pressing. I sold them online and at a couple of shows. These ones have completely blank labels with no stamp.

The full gatefold layout. Fucking epic. This thing is so sick.

The front and back of the insert.

I made extra inserts and used them as promo posters.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a nod here to the “For The Sake Of Dedication” LP compilation, released by Crucial Response Records in the late 90’s, featuring the best of European hardcore of the time (along with Ten Yard Fight and Floorpunch). The GIA guys love the music, aesthetic, and everything that this comp represented in the late 1990’s. Their “Histories” LP layout was definitely done, well, for the sake of dedication to this compilation. In fact, if you look closely at the lyric sheet for the Histories LP, you’ll see this written under the band’s street address: “NOITA CI DEDFOEK ASEHTR OF”. Read it backwards….

RVL-23.5 Go It Alone – “Histories Single” 7″The “Histories Single” 7″ was released a couple of months prior to the “Histories” LP. It featured one song from the “Histories” LP (“Love”), plus 2 exclusive songs that never appeared anywhere else, “Beacon” and “Histories”. I always thought it was weird that the title track “Histories” was on the single only, and not on the actual LP. But either way, I do think it’s awesome that these 2 songs did not appear anywhere else, unlike most 7″ “singles” that you see around today.

Sound And Fury stamped dust sleeve.

“II” on the b-side label of the 2nd pressing.

I’ve always really loved the photo used in this layout. For me it’s a powerful statement of solidarity. It’s also a very fitting image to go along with the song title, “Beacon”. The layout was just the front-and-back of a 7.5″ piece of cardstock, with no fold-over or glue pocket… Very simple.

A hand-numbered, screen-printed poster that was sold at the last GIA show. The numbering is in pencil in the lower right hand corner. This one is #45/200.

This is the flier/poster for the last GIA show that was hung up around Vancouver.

The band put together a zine for their last show, entitled “Closure”. I thought this was the perfect touch for the end of a band that was very important to me and my friends. It is primarily a story told in photos from the beginning to the end of the band, but does have a little bit of written reflection. It’s a thick stapled newsprint zine, with a lot of pages. Very well done.

RVL-24 Allegiance – “Desperation” LPRivalry #24. I really like the way the vinyl colors match the layout for this release. The white/gold swirl looks especially cool.

Test pressing

The distinct vinyl colors.


Promo poster

RVL-24.5 Allegiance – “Out Of My Blood” 7″ SingleThe “Out Of My Blood” one-sided 7″ single was released a couple of months before the “Desperation” LP came out.

Test pressing

John and I had an idea of doing a screen-printed image on the b-side of a limited amount of the one-sided 7″s. We asked Zach Harlan to come up with an image of the Bay Bridge that could be screen printed on the vinyl. Zach came through and Ryan Mattos did an awesome job screen printing on the white vinyl. I think it turned out perfectly, and it’s one of my favorite Rivalry variants.

A close-up of just the screen-printed vinyl.

We used the same stamp from the Allegiance mini-CD demo envelopes on a weekend tour edition.

For the final Allegiance show, John hand-printed the dust sleeves on the few remaining pieces of vinyl that the band had left. He used the same screen on some of the “Demo 2002” 7″s as well, but I only have this one.

The layout is like all the other Rivalry 7″ singles… It’s just one sheet of 7.5″ cardstock, printed front and back.

The full Allegiance crew after the final Allegiance performance at 924 Gilman St. for Rivalry Showcase 2008. This photo features just about every person that ever played in or roadied for Allegiance, minus a few early dudes.

Me and Allegiance outside the Che Cafe in San Diego, CA on the final Allegiance trip to SoCal.

A band from Cali in the snow… This could have been the final Go It Alone show in Vancouver, BC? Just guessing. It snowed like crazy that night. Cool photo, thanks Kim!

Allegiance, Go It Alone, Blue Monday. Somewhere on a U.S. Tour.

Allegiance, Verse, Down To Nothing. Somewhere on a U.S. Tour.

Allegiance and Lights Out. Bay Area hardcore family.

Years later… Ross’s bachelor party in Lake Tahoe, July 2010. Homies 4 Life.

RVL-25 Soul Control – “s/t” 7″Rivalry #25. The layout was obviously patterned after the original demo. Being a part of the extended “Verse family”, Soul Control was a natural addition to Rivalry. Our label was always about creating a sense of community and working together to support each other, so Soul Control was the next step in that progression as it became clear that some of the other Rivalry bands were winding down.

The test pressing covers turned out cooler than the real cover! I threw the cover layout together based on the original demo layout. Then Zach made this test pressing cover, which was a hundred times cooler than anything that I’m capable of doing. I’m an idiot – I should have just waited for him to do a better layout! haha.

I found a couple of copies on green vinyl that had some black swirl.

The “II” on the b-side label of the 2nd pressing.

I put together this cover for Sound And Fury Fest 2007, which was held in Ventura, CA. California vs. Rhode Island, in the same configuration as the regular cover.

The back of the Sound And Fury cover.


RVL-26¬† Red Handed – “Wounds Remain” LPRivalry #26.¬† The cover art was done by the same dude that’s done a lot of the AFI and Nerve Agents art.¬† We were able to get in touch with¬†the artist’s¬†manager and he was down to help out with a small band’s release for a very reasonable fee, as long as we weren’t trying to do some major label shit!¬† Pretty cool.¬† I think the vinyl colors looks super cool with the spooky layout.

Test pressing

The artist only did the front and back cover art, then Zach had to put it together in a layout and find an appropriate font, etc.

Promo poster

RVL-27 Soul Control – “Involution” LPRivalry #27

Test pressing

I dig the way the swirled vinyl matches the paintings used in the layout. The two copies on the bottom are definitely different pressings – yellow/red swirl was the pre-order edition, orange/red swirl was the This Is Hardcore Fest pressing. I wanted to keep the difference subtle and maintain the theme of matching the paintings in the layout.

“II” on the b-side of the 2nd pressing labels.

I love the layout for this album. Jim had his friend do 2 original paintings. One is the “faces” painting on the cover, one is an abstract red-ish colored painting.

Zach did an amazing job working the red-ish painting into the entire layout, mixing live photos and text that looks as if it was an actual canvas texture. This live photo and text faded into the painting on the back looks especially cool.

The promo poster. Another excellent creation by Mr. Zach Harlan, using the original paintings provided by the band.

RVL-28¬† The First Step – “Connection” 7″Rivalry #28


Test pressing

“Creamsicle” orange/white mix.

There are a few copies of the 2nd press, European Tour red vinyl with transitional blue streaks.

TFS Crew stamps were put on a few of the 2nd pressing Euro Tour red vinyl copies for the last TFS show.

The “Connection” EP was licensed to Waking The Dead records for an exclusive vinyl release in South America.

The layout of the Waking The Dead and Rivalry versions are exactly the same, except for the Waking The Dead sticker on the back.

Waking The Dead test pressing.

Back cover of the Waking The Dead test pressing.

Waking The Dead pre-order cover.

The back of the WTD pre-cover.

There are a few Waking The Dead clear/red transition copies.

Aram made a few “TFS Crew” covers out of some left-over Waking The Dead copies for the React Showcase.¬† He gave them away free to the first few people who walked through the door.

Here’s another view of the TFS Crew that also shows the back cover.

RVL-29¬† Paint It Black – “New Lexicon” LPZach met Dan Yemin randomly sitting at a bar in SF before a show on the¬†Lifetime reunion tour. They got to talking, with neither of them knowing who each other was.¬† Eventually they introduced themselves, and Dan was pumped that Zach was involved with Rivalry because he really liked the Go It Alone records that we had released!¬† A year or so later, I got a random email from Dan Yemin, asking me if I would be at all interested in licensing the next¬†Paint It Black LP on vinyl, since Jade Tree was really only doing CD’s at this point.¬†¬†Zach and I were both¬†super excited about this!¬† This release turned out awesome.

Test pressing

The distinct vinyl colors.¬† I especially like that blue/green swirl vinyl.¬† I think it’s a nice touch with all the other colors being super simple and stark, while still matching the layout.

Euro Tour cover

Back of the Euro Tour cover

The layout was handled by a¬†guy¬†in Philly that Andy Nelson knew.¬† I’m not sure if he took the photos, or if Andy supplied those to him.¬† But I do know that they were custom photos taken for this release (i.e. they are not stock photography).¬† The only bad thing about printed dust sleeves is that they tend to rip if you leave the vinyl in them.

RVL-30 Verse – “Aggression” LPRivalry #31. CD on Bridge 9 Records, LP on Rivalry.

Test pressing

Test #1/25

I pressed the black vinyl copies specifically for the record release. When I mailed them out to the band, I didn’t realize they were also going to spray paint the covers. I had already kept a few of the black vinyl copies for me, Zach, and the other homies in Cali. So, there are a few copies that do not have spray painted covers.

There were very few of the clear/black split copies that came out looking orange/black. I’ve only seen 3 or 4 of these around… Not sure how many exist.

A direct comparison of the regular clear/black split vs. the super rare orange/black split.

The distinct colors.

The layout has a cool 24×12″ fold out insert with a sweet live photo.

RVL-31 Devotion – “Bastard Son Of Affluence Blues” LPAfter Go It Alone, Mark put his efforts into writing all the music and vocals for a new rockin’ project called Devotion. He recruited Aaron O’Neil (Lights Out) to play drums on the recording, while Mark handled everything else himself. I liked what he was doing, so we talked and decided to co-release the Devotion LP on Rivalry. Mark self-released the CD, and I released the vinyl on Rivalry. Originally Devotion was just a studio project that couldn’t really play live with only 2 members. But eventually Mark and Aaron recruited other members, and have taken the show on the road!

Test pressing. This photo of Mark with all the amps is so dope – I had to use it for the test pressing cover!

A closer look at the photo.

Test pressing labels.


Rivalry Showcase
Every year we would throw a big show during February or March in the Bay Area of California and invite all of the Rivalry bands plus a few friends’ bands to play. This was our way of getting everyone together at least once a year, since our bands were from every corner of North America. Looking back, these were some of my favorite times while doing Rivalry Records. This is what created the family atmosphere that made Rivalry so special for all of us. John Eightclip donated his talents by filming and editing each show for release on DVD, while Zach Harlan created the layouts for the DVD. During each show, various members of the Rivalry family would help John with filming, conducting interviews, etc. I’m so happy we have these DVD’s to preserve the memories of these special times in all of our lives. John Eightclip is a very talented dude, and all credit for these DVD’s goes to him and his vision.

Rivalry Showcase 2008

Rivalry Showcase 2008 Promo Trailer. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version. We did not release Rivalry Showcase 2008 on DVD because Rivalry wasn’t doing as many releases anymore. John did still edit the footage and put the finished product online for free. The film from each band’s set at Rivalry Showcase 2008 is linked further below.

RVL-V03 Rivalry Showcase 2007 DVD

Rivalry Showcase 2007 DVD Promo Trailer. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

RVL-V02 Rivalry Showcase 2006 DVD

Rivalry Showcase 2006 DVD Promo Trailer. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

RVL-V01 Rivalry Showcase 2005 DVD

Rivalry Showcase 2005 DVD Promo Trailer. Click above to watch, or watch on YouTube for a larger version.

Rivalry Showcase 2004
Rivalry Showcase Class of 2004. This was the first showcase and the only one for which we did not release a DVD.

Hang outs at the very first Rivalry Showcase (2004) in Danville, CA.

Allegiance “So This Is It” Retrospective

John, Duane, and Ross explaining what Allegiance and Rivalry meant to them. Watch this and you’ll understand everything I’ve been saying above about the Rivalry family. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Go It Alone Retrospective

Members of Allegiance discussing the importance of Go It Alone to the Rivalry family. This was included as bonus footage on the Rivalry Showcase 2007 DVD. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.


John Eightclip made this promo video for the Devotion project. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Allegiance @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Allegiance @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Another Breath @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Another Breath @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Betrayed @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Betrayed @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Ceremony @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Ceremony @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

The First Step @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

The First Step @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Get The Most @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Get The Most @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Internal Affairs @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Internal Affairs @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Killing The Dream @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Killing The Dream @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Red Handed @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Red Handed @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Soul Control @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Soul Control @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Trash Talk @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Trash Talk @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

Verse @ Rivalry Showcase 2008

Verse @ Rivalry Showcase 2008. Click above to watch, or watch on Vimeo for a larger version.

The Damage Done – Last Show @ 924 Gilman St. on October 4th, 2003

The Damage Done – Last Show @ 924 Gilman St on October 4th, 2003. Click above to watch, or watch on YouTube.

An original Rival Records hoodie, before we were forced to change our name by “Rival Records from Ohio”, which was a¬†“hip-hop label” that basically wasn’t doing anything, haha.¬† It wasn’t worth the hassle for us to fight for it.¬† (There’s a long, funny story behind all of this, involving the interaction between me and the “president” of Rival Records from Ohio.¬† If you know me, ask me about it sometime, it’s¬†kind of¬†comical).

Another original RIVAL print, this time a crewneck sweatshirt. Cal colors, of course!

Original RIVAL t-shirt in kelly green.

The RIVALRY version of the kelly green design, this time with a half-toned “fade” print.

We printed this “fade” logo design in quite a few different color combos, but I think this was a “1 of 1” type thing.¬† I don’t think that we printed any more of these yellow hoodies.¬†¬†Since¬†the print appears¬†to be so¬†small, it was probably a giant XXL hood¬†that we just had lying¬†around the screen printing shop because it had been ordered by mistake or something.¬†

The Rivalry “Double Logo” design.

Rivalry Band Related Releases

Allegiance – “Demo 2002” cassette tapeWhite cassette tape looks cool!

For a show in Ventura, John made some of these mini CD’s of the demo.

Here’s a closer look. Packaged as a letter to someone at the Ventura show on June 21st, 2002. Notice the stamp in the upper right hand corner? About 6 years later, that same stamp was used for a limited weekend tour edition of their “Out Of My Blood” 7″ single, which came out just before their final “Desperation” LP. Pretty cool how they brought it all back together, from beginning to end.

Another Breath – “The God Complex” LPThis album is sick. It sounds like AB’s past stuff, combined with elements of Southern rock. I had pretty much stopped releasing records on Rivalry, so Another Breath found another home on Panic Records in the U.S., while continuing to work with Jan at Assault Records in Europe. The band sent me some copies of the Assault pressing of this release, so that is what you see here. I think Panic Records also released this album on vinyl, but I don’t own any of those.

I dig the way the vinyl color matches the theme of the layout: blue sky vinyl and “cloud” vinyl (clear with white swirl). They also matched the ink color that is screen printed on the cover with the vinyl colors. Very cool.

“Cloud” vinyl: clear with white swirl.



A cool limited cover with silver ink on black cardstock.

Gnarly drawing

Back cover

Betrayed – “Addiction” 7″One day I was talking with Todd Jones online while I was at work, and he sent me over some mp3s of some melodic riffs that he was working on for a new project. I was super into these things, and I encouraged him to really keep going with this stuff. We both worked 9 to 5 office job type deals, and there was this period where we’d talk throughout the day and he’d often send me little riffs and things he’d been working on. But a lot of times they would get scrapped later, etc. But I’m glad that this stuff stuck around, because eventually he talked with Aram about doing the project together, and a lot of those riffs became the Betrayed “Addiction” EP. I really like the “Addiction” EP most out of everything they’ve done so far. It always reminded me of if you took the experiences of a “Dischord Revolution Summer era” kid, but had him grow up in the 90’s/2000’s era of hardcore, and sped it up a little bit, haha. That probably didn’t make any sense, but it does to me. Anyway, I really like this record, and I was happy to see them keep forging forward with the project, ultimately making it more of a band that actually played shows and everything. The pressing info for the 1st pressing was 90 record release copies with stamped labels, 100 on clear, 250 on red, 250 on white, and 300 on black. The test pressing is limited to 10 copies. I think there was kind of a mis-communication, because I’m pretty sure Todd wanted the clear copies to be more of a “friend’s press” type deal… But instead they went out with pre-orders to everyone. So they pressed 100 more records, this time on blue vinyl. Oddly enough, 4 copies (that they know of) came out as green vinyl, and I own 1 of those 4. Later they did another 900 copies on black vinyl. You can tell it is a 2nd press by the “B9R:64” on the labels. The entire first pressing doesn’t have the catalog number on the labels at all.

Test pressing, out of 10 copies. Todd mailed this to me just after the record release shows.

Close-up of test pressing labels, released in summer of 2005, just before final Carry On shows in July. Betrayed played one of the shows.

Stamped labels, out of 90, sold at the Record Release show. I believe the show was in San Diego at the Che Cafe? Todd saved me one and mailed it up to me with a test pressing shortly after the show.

Here’s the green vs. blue vinyl. 100 copies were pressed, 96 on blue, 4 came out green (that we know of). The green definitely has a lot of blue streaks in it.

A closer look at just the green, out of only 4 copies known to exist. You can see the blue streaks better in this photo.

Layout design was done by Anthony Pappalardo of In My Eyes fame.

There was also a 12″ release of this EP, released by Dead & Gone Records in the UK. 500 copies only, all on black vinyl. I also owned a test pressing of this release, but I sold it to Dobek in Japan last year.

Here is a photo of the 12″ test pressing that I sold to Dobek Ohashi last year. It is #8/10.

Betrayed – “Suffering” 7″This record came out recently, and is the first recorded material since Betrayed came back after their “last shows”. I’ve stopped collecting multiple copies of new releases, so I didn’t go out of my way to pick up every version of this record. These days I’m just buying one copy to listen to and read the lyrics. I somehow ended up with 2 of these, so cool deal. I just checked the React website and it looks like this one is 200 on blue, 400 on white.

Here’s a look at the inside and outside layout.

All React releases come with an original essay written by a friend of the band or the label. This one was written by Joe Hardcore, who puts on the annual This Is Hardcore festival, and has booked shows and done bands in and around Philly and New Jersey for years and years.

The back-side of the essay always has the React Records ‚ÄúAbove The Influence, Against The Grain‚ÄĚ logo. Most of their LP insert mailers are printed with this image too.

Blue Monday – “Rewritten” LPThe Blue Monday LP was a cool record that successfully mixed elements of youth crew, NYHC, and melodic style hardcore into one. If someone told me I should check out a band that sounded like that, I’d laugh and say that sounds awful. “Too much fusion” is the quote that I always throw around when I hear music like that, haha. But in Blue Monday’s case, it totally worked on the “Rewritten” LP. On top of that, the dudes in Blue Monday have always been friends of mine, being part of the greater group of friends that has made up Go It Alone, Blue Monday, Champion, Allegiance, Carry On, and the rest of 2000 era West Coast Hardcore. The 1st pressing was 250 on green vinyl and 650 on purple. There was a record release cover out of 50 copies. Most of the record release copies were on purple vinyl (like the one in the photo), but I actually also owned a copy on green vinyl a while back. So I’m not sure how many they used of each color with the record release cover. There were 50 Sink With Cali covers, 30 of which had purple vinyl, 20 had green vinyl. I sold my Sink With Cali copy a while back, so it didn’t make the photo. The 2nd pressing was a picture disc, out of 500 copies. 50 copies got a Rivalry Showcase 2006 cover, so there are 450 regular picture discs. I also owned a 1st pressing test pressing, out of 20 copies, but I already sold it before taking this photo.

Here’s the test pressing, out of 20 copies.

Here’s the record release cover from the show on September 10th, 2005, out of only 50 copies. The show was also a celebration of Blue Monday vocalist Dave Mac’s 10 Year straightedge anniversary. It was held at Seylynn Hall, which is this cool venue in North Vancouver that the Go It Alone and Blue Monday circle of friends (Matt Smith!) have been throwing shows since the mid to late 90’s. It’s a really cool hall for shows. Check out the bands playing the show – sick lineup, all of my homies!

Here’s the back of the Record Release cover. This one is #27/50.

I also owned a Record Release copy with green vinyl. I think most of them were purple vinyl, but a few record release covers got thrown on green vinyl copies. I got this from a band member, so that’s probably why.

Here’s the Sink With Cali Cover, out of 50 copies. This one is #5/50.

30 of the Sink With Cali covers had purple vinyl, 20 had green vinyl. This one has purple vinyl.

Close-up of the Rivalry Showcase 2006 cover, out of 50 copies.

Here’s the B9 update that came with the Blue Monday pre-order. It announces the signing of Have Heart, and the release of the Schism Records book and Project X 7″ on B9.

Here’s the layout, with a tribute to their friend, Brandie Bailey, who passed away in the years preceding their album release.

The Damage Done – “Demo” 7″The Damage Done demo was re-released on vinyl by Western Front Records.

Test pressing. Scott Magrath saw our god awful logo on our cassette demo and offered to do us a cool new logo. I was stoked on this one that he designed. It kinda reminded me of the Right Brigade logo. I’ll try to dig out a copy of the demo cassette to show that original hideous logo that I used on our demo tape. “The Demos” (plural) on the test pressing cover is somewhat of a mistake by the Western Front dude that made it. We only had one demo – the Demo 2001.

The colored vinyl was a dark blood red vinyl, which is made by mixing transparent red and black vinyl. It can be hard to tell if you have a red vinyl copy vs. a black vinyl copy, until you hold it up to the light.

Western Front put “Whitlow Can Suck It” covers on any “swirl” copies that were found, though the “swirl” is pretty subtle. The “suck it” covers weren’t really a joke… The dudes at Western Front were definitely annoyed with me, haha.

Turning Point rip-off covers were made for an East Coast Tour. Billy Weber at Western Front did an awesome job putting this together. He replicated the original Hi-Impact logo, the hand written font, and the live photo from the original TP 7″ really well.

Billy ran off a few blue covers, given only to the label and band. The rest were white. That’s Zach Harlan and Connor Spencer (Lights Out) singing along in the photo at one of the early Damage Done shows.

12 blue covers, 88 white covers, hand-numbered on the back.

Billy wrote “Prada Tour 2002” on the tour copy that he gave to me. I think they were clowning me for being a pretty boy or a diva or something during the whole process of getting the layout done, haha.

An early sticker, along with a shot of the Turning Point rip-off lyric sheet.


The Damage Done / Day Of The Dead – “Split” 7″My buddy Paolo in Italy hooked us up with his friend Adam at Goodwill Records to do this split in Europe with a Portuguese band called Day Of The Dead.

Test pressing. It’s kind of unique how the test pressings don’t have labels at all.

Pre-cover. There’s a view of that hideous logo that I used on our demo tape! Ouch.

Every copy is hand numbered out of 1,000 or so.

The layout, plus a few Day Of The Dead stickers that they sent me later when they released their full length. The cover for this 7″ was kind of cool, with a little extra flap that folded over.

The First Step – “Demo 2001” cassette tapeHere’s the original demo tape that I ordered off the Revelation Records messageboard by dropping $1 or $2 cash in an envelope solely based off a random new band’s post to check out their new demo. That’s how we used to roll.

In late 2001, TFS came to California, selling a tape with some new songs on it. My band, The Damage Done, played the Ojai, CA show with them. That is how Steve and I became friends. Crazy to think that night would lead to me releasing TFS records on Rivalry Records 6 years later.

The First Step – “Demo 2001″ 7”Livewire Records, “Demo 2001″ 7”.

Back cover of the Posi Numbers “footprint” cover. There are also blue screenprinted copies.

California Tour cover. Layout is blue.

Back of the California Tour cover.

Here’s the regular layout.

100 copies of the blue vinyl were hand-numbered and sold on the East Coast. The rest of the blue vinyl copies do not have the “Ltd Second Press /100”, as shown in the previous photo of the “regular layout”.

The First Step – “Open Hearts And Clear Minds” 7″Livewire Records, “Open Hearts And Clear Minds”.

I’ve always loved tri-fold layouts on 7″s (ala the Chain Of Strength 7″).

Stephen gave me this test pressing when I helped TFS finally release the super-delayed “What We Know” LP. He knew I really wanted to complete my TFS collection. I’ve always really appreciated his kindness… I know he gave me his one-and-only copy. Thanks Steve!

Record Release version. This was the other record that Stephen sent me in the package with the test pressing.

Numbered inside of the Record Release cover. Stephen gave me his original #1/50.

Insert/note that came with the record release covers.

Photocopied pre-cover with a “this is not a limited cover” message. They sold these after the record release show, but before they got the real 7″ covers. There was also another photocopied cover, often called the “CT cover”, that looked exactly like the record release cover. The only difference was the “Record Release July 5, 2002” got pasted over with “Open Hearts And Clear Minds”, so the record title is repeated twice. I traded my copy away a while back, so it did not make any of the photos.

Positive Numbers Festival cover. I was there when these were sold, and I remember it was a frenzy around that table. Sold out in seconds.

The inside of the numbered Posi Fest cover.

The First Step – “Open Hearts And Clear Minds” LPAn LP version of the “Open Hearts” 7″ was released in Europe on Anger Management Records. The LP also includes the “Demo 2001” recording.


Test pressing

The First Step – “What We Know Sessions” 7″Bottled Up Records, “What We Know Sessions”. Alternate recordings from the WWK recording session.


Test pressing with cool acetate cover.

Test pressing labels.

Limited cover with white vinyl.

Black vinyl, numbered labels.

Go It Alone – “Hollywood North” Demo cassetteGo It Alone started out as just a project between two friends, Lucas and Mark. The demo cassette came with different color paper inserts…

Another view.

In Control – “The Nard Curse EP” 7″
Zack Nelson (In Control guitarist) self-released the first IC 7″ on his own label, Camel Clutch Records. Zack was always into WWF wrestling and shit. The Camel Clutch was a submission move by a wrestler when we were growing up… I think it was Sargeant Slaughter? Here’s the blue vinyl. I know there was also black vinyl, but I don’t think there were any other colors.

Here’s the limited “Rat Pack” cover, out of 50. You can get a better look at the sweet Camel Clutch Records logo on the insert, haha. That shit rules.

The back of the “Rat Pack” cover, numbered out of 50.

A close up of the old school paper sticker. “It’s OK to Drink”, haha.

In Control – “Plays The Hits” 7″
In Control playing hardcore cover songs. Black was the rare color, out of 100 I think? There were also green vinyl (out of 400?). Andy Diehard from Diehard Youth released this… I think it was a one-time pressing of 500 copies.

In Control – “Another Year” LP
The first I.C. LP on Indecision Records. The song “Twin Towers” is a total ballad! The only colored vinyl pressed was this transparent blue with black swirl.

In Control – “The Truth Hurts” LP
The second I.C. LP came on grey vinyl, clear vinyl, and black vinyl, I think. I know that I had them all at one point. The CD was officially released by Indecision Records, but Indecision licensed the vinyl pressing to Martyr Records.

Keep It ClearRight after (or near the end?) of Go It Alone, Mark and Lucas teamed up with some friends in Vancouver to put together a demo of straight ahead Floorpunch-esque hardcore. Neither Mark nor Lucas continued in the band for very long, since both moved away from Vancouver. But their imprint is there on the demo tape, as well as the “s/t” 7″, which was self-released by Mark.

The “s/t” 7″, self-released by Mark Palm. The top copy is the record release, the bottom copy is the regular version.

The record release has a cool insert showing Andy’s straight edge jacket.

Close-up of the record release cover.

The layout of the regular cover. It has a stark black and white layout, with a cool slip sleeve with the band name printed on it. I dig the black dust sleeve – a very nice touch to bring everything together. Mark has a way of paying attention to each and every detail, and it shows in all of his work, no matter what.

Close-up of the cover. “Drugs: A great way to get away from it all.” Gnarly.

The insert.

The inside of the 7″ is dope… Printed 100% black.

There was also a European pressing of the Keep It Clear 7″ on Not Just Words Records. Looks like the Euro version didn’t have the slip sleeve on the cover. The first pressing was orange, green, and black vinyl. I’m not sure if there were other colors.

Green vinyl.

Test pressing of the Euro pressing on NJW Records.

Killing The Dream – “Demo 2003” CD-RThe original KTD demo CD-R.

Killing The Dream – “I Rewrote It” 7″Shortly after we released the KTD 7″, Tre at Deathwish came calling. We obviously wished KTD the best, since Deathwish could do a hundred times more for the band than we could. Within a few months, Deathwish released the “I Rewrote It” EP. One day I was pleasantly surprised to find a package in my mailbox from Deathwish with this test pressing in it. Thanks Tre!

Clear vinyl

Gold vinyl

Here’s the red vinyl, along with a view of the full layout, which is printed on translucent acetate paper.

Killing The Dream – “Fractures” LPThe “Fractures” LP was released by Deathwish, Inc. Tre sent me this test pressing, along with a super rare copy on black vinyl with regular labels, out of only 15 copies.

Black vinyl, out of only 15 copies!

Blue vinyl

Splatter vinyl

Here’s a cool tri-color vinyl.

The outside of the gatefold layout. I think it’s kind of cool how the KTD LP layouts seem to follow a theme, featuring the same character of sorts. Notice the circular thing around the face? Almost the same as the “In Place Apart” LP.

The inside of the layout.

Paint It Black – “CVA” LP
Paint It Black’s first LP on Jade Tree Records. Like most Jade Tree releases around this time, they pressed an equal amount of transparent vinyl and opaque vinyl of the same color. This photo shows the opaque (solid) blue.

The back of the layout.

Here’s the transparent blue.

Paint It Black – “Paradise” LP
“Paradise” is the second Paint It Black LP. Here’s the transparent green vinyl.

The back of the layout. The insert was only printed on one side.

Solid green vinyl.

Screen printed cover with “swirl” green vinyl. These are also hand numbered.

Paint It Black – “Goliath” 7″
The band self-released the “Goliath” 7″ as a single for the “New Lexicon” LP on Rivalry. I believe they gave it away free at the “New Lexicon” record release show. Each copy was screen printed and hand numbered, with no cover or insert. Mine is #533/500, so obviously a few extra came back from the pressing plant after they had already made the stamp. I love screen printed 7″s!

Paint It Black – “Amnesia” 7″
After doing their first 3 releases as full length albums, PIB released a series of 7″s of sorts, each on a different label. I thought there were supposed to be more, but I think there were only two 7″s? Anyway, the look and feel of the cover art is very similar on both. This one was released on Bridge 9 Records. This is the most limited color, the “muddy rainbow” color.

The back of the layout.

Grey vinyl.  There were some other colors as well.

Paint It Black – “Surrender” 7″
The “Surrender”¬†7″ was released on Fat Wreck Chords. My copy on red vinyl had some black swirl.

The back of the layout.

My green vinyl copy also had some black swirl.

Black vinyl

Red Handed / Heads Up – “Split” 7″
Max Montez released this split on his label, East Bay Communique.¬† Red Handed and Heads Up were both bands from the tri-valley area out in Dublin/Livermore/Pleasanton/San Ramon. Here’s the green vinyl.

Purple vinyl

Here’s a mix of the two vinyl colors – green vinyl with purple splatter.

Heads Up sold this at their last show. I’m not sure what’s up with the whole goth thing. Go It Alone played this show too, and if I remember correctly, this was the last time Go It Alone ever played the Bay Area.

Reserve 34Reserve 34 is the band that started it all for this group of friends playing music together in Vancouver. In fact, Go It Alone and Blue Monday each covered a Reserve 34 song on their split 7″ on Rivalry Records. Reserve 34 featured members of GIA and Blue Monday, plus Vancouver’s epic roadie/friendie extraordinaire, Matt Smith, on vocals. The photo above shows 2 different Reserve 34 EP’s. I owned a test pressing of the “s/t” 7″ (top), out of only 3 copies in existence, but I sold it a while back. I also used to own a test pressing of the Reserve 34 “Rain City Games” 10″ that was released nearly 10 years later in the late 2000’s, but I already sold it. The 10″ featured every Reserve song ever recorded.

Here’s the test pressing of the “s/t” Reserve 34 7″, out of only 3 copies!

The inside of the “s/t” 7″.

The last show version of the “Game Over” EP.

The back cover of the “Game Over” EP.

A closer look at the back cover, as well as the hand-numbered “band member pressing” labels. You can see that each band member had 20 copies… This is #6/20 of Lucas’s copies.

Here’s the reverse side of the labels. 34rpm instead of 33rpm, get it?

A note written by Lucas about the importance of Reserve 34 to his development…

Right OnEvery member of Right On either played in Allegiance, roadied for Allegiance, helped out at Rivalry Records, or lived at Rivalry HQ at some point. My man Skones sang in SSB and Right On.

“No Joke” was the first Right On 7″, released on Malfunction Records. I think the cover of this 7″ is so fucking rad! Definitely a cool Cali vibe.

Test pressing

There were a couple different combinations of green vinyl with green vs. pink cover, and the same with the pink vinyl.

Straight Ahead rip-off cover for Sink With Cali Fest.

The layout is seriously fucking awesome.

“Reality Vacation” was the second Right On 7″. The CD came out on Malfunction Records, but Rumble Records released the vinyl.

Test pressing

Sound And Fury cover.


Some Still BelieveThe original band from Redding, CA, which featured pretty much all of the Allegiance members, except for John Eightclip, before they moved to San Francisco. Matt McCall (Skones) sang in both SSB and Right On. This is the first demo from 2000.

Demo 2001, I’m pretty sure it was CD only.

The only SSB 7″ came out on Martyr Records. I threw in an After The Fall sticker here too, since that was the other band from Redding when we were all growing up in Northern California.

Test pressing

Limited cover made for “Che Fest” in San Diego.

Side A of the “Che Fest” vinyl.

Side B labels. They wrote different little sayings on each of these. I’m not sure what “erotic cakes” are, hmmmm…

I’ve got a super rare black swirl transition copy. I think there’s 5 or less of these things.

SSB made a limited cover for their last show, and threw in a CD-R recording of their last few songs. It’s too bad these never came out as a “real” release, because it’s good stuff!


Soul Control – “Demo”Original demo

Soul Control / I Rise – “Split” 7″A split with Soul Control’s brothers from the northeast, I Rise. Released by a friend of the band on Eightfold Path Records. Blue vinyl with hand-decorated labels was a friend’s pressing. There was also clear and black vinyl.

Clear vinyl

“Maze” tour pressing. I think most covers were red and black, but the band made a few blue and black covers for friends.