For all the fame and glory associated with Blink-182's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, one of the all-time great pop-punk albums, the record has recently been thrust into a huge amount of infamy within the vinyl-collecting portion of music listeners. A preorder for a licensed repressing of the album on vinyl was launched via Mightier Than Sword Records in July 2011 - a preorder that faced numerous delays before eventually just never coming out. Now, nearly two years after that MTS preorder, the record is finally being pressed (for real) by ShopRadioCast. I spoke with Jenna Miles from the company about the release, why SRC wanted to get involved in it and the failed Mightier Than Sword pressing.
First, a brief timeline of this record's history over the past couple of years:
July 2011: Mightier Than Sword Records launches a preorder for a repressing of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket on vinyl. This is the same label that has recently done reissues of Dude Ranch, Enema of the State and Blink's Untitled record; TOYPAJ was the last frontier. The label had the trust of Blink-182 fans and the vinyl community based on those earlier represses. The record is set for a street date a few months down the road. Preorder options include a triple gatefold jacket with three 7"s held in the jacket.
January 2012: Hot Topic announces it will be repressing the record, too. The packaging isn't as wild as MTS' triple gatefold with three 7"s, but it will be coming out sooner than the MTS release despite being announced way later. The original release date for the MTS release has gone by and label owner RJ Crowder-Schaefer says it's just a delay - fairly common for an independent record label. Mightier Than Sword has offered preorder customers certain incentives for putting up with the delay - a coupon for the label's webstore and an "additional free Blink-182 release" to be delivered in the near future along with the TOYPAJ pressing.
Later January 2012: Crowder-Schaefer issues a video update regarding the pressing. Miraculously, this video has not been taken down from Vimeo yet despite the label folding and Crowder-Schaefer disappearing into the Internet ether. How's this for a pull quote? We've had a number of setbacks, but everything is in production and I can personally assure you that you will receive the records you that you've ordered. We've never tried to take anyone's money or hold anyone's money so as I've said before, if you want a refund, we'll give you a refund right away. We appreciate every single customer and every single order; that's what keeps us going. We would love to keep your order, these records will be incredible and you'll be totally satisfied. The label has obtained a handwritten forward from Mark Hoppus, which will be numbered and included with preorders. Some people have gotten refunds; many people are still waiting for the release. A new release date is set for April-ish.
March 2012: A picture surfaces of liner notes from the record. I wonder how many thousands of these are sitting somewhere.
Mid-April 2012: The new release date passes and nothing has been heard. The MTS Records Facebook page hasn't been updated since March 20 and Crowder-Schaefer has deleted his personal social media pages. Mark Hoppus says he's looking into the situation.
May 2012: An artist claiming to have worked on the artwork for the release with MTS makes a statement. i've worked with R.J. on multiple releases and we've had our disagreements, but the dude's heart is in the right place. this isn't a scam. in my opinion, it merely shouldn't have been announced when it was announced ... unless there is something going on here that i don't know about, you guys will most definitely get your records, and they will be awesome
June 2012: The record turns 11 years old. So much for this being a 10-year anniversary release.
Fast forward to now: Nothing happens. The record never comes out. A lot of people don't get their money back because of PayPal claims rules. Blink-182 becomes an independent band and releases a five-song EP near the end of 2012. Tom Delonge still wants to meet aliens.
February 2013: ShopRadioCast, which originally was a third-party distributor for Mightier Than Sword Records releases and took preorders for the TOYPAJ reissue (before refunding all of their customers), announces it will be pressing the record for real this time, and the original triple gatefold with the three 7"s will be happening.
What made ShopRadioCast want to take over the Take Off Your Pants and Jacket pressing?
Jenna Miles: As you know, we took preorders for it originally [when MTS was doing the release] and we refunded everybody, in like April last year. Once we were aware that is wasn't happening, we told Universal that we'd be interested in doing it if Mightier Than Sword didn't follow through. Eventually it was apparent that the release wasn't happening so we worked something out to put out the record. The reason why we really wanted to get into it was, you know, we did see how the product was going to be laid out and it was really interesting to us. With every release we do, we want to do something good with the sound and something good with the packaging. This had probably the best packaging [with the gatefold vinyl and 7"s inserted in the jacket] we'd seen in a long time, so that was the main attraction.
So you guys were a little closer to the Mightier Than Sword release because you were taking preorders for it and you saw how everyone reacted to it. With the negative connotation and stigma that this release has attached to it now, are you worried about that mindset affecting your own preorders sales-wise?
We were definitely more worried about announcing it. We've been ready to announce it for weeks but we procrastinated because we weren't sure what the reaction would be like. But then again, we have a really good history with what we've done; I know we're actually going to release it so I'm not concerned about that. The concern was announcing it because that was a nerve-racking thing. I think once people actually see the product, they're going to want it. So even if there's some hesitation with the preorders, I'm not worried because I think the product will sell once people see it for real.
Is your license for the record totally separate from the license deal that Mightier Than Sword made?
Definitely. Mightier Than Sword is not involved in any way, this is a deal we made directly with Universal.
You guys are doing a tiered preorder, can you talk about that?
Anyone who ordered from Mightier Than Sword has the chance to do an advance preorder for our release and we're giving them a discount [it's 10%], and that's happening this Thursday [3/7]. ShopRadioCast subscribers can start preordering Sunday night [3/10] and the public preorder will be live next Tuesday [3/12].
What else can you tell me about the release you're doing that might be different from how Mightier Than Sword went about it?
Well, everyone is wondering why we're pricing it differently. Essentially - I don't know what Mightier Than Sword was given as a cost - I don't know how they chose their prices - but if we matched their prices, and we may have been given different costs, but if we matched the prices they did, it would not work. To do an LP and three 7"s through a major label license is very expensive. If I was in charge of the layout, I wouldn't have done it that way because of the price - they're essentially charging you for four separate pieces. I completely see why the layout was chosen this way because of how those 7" songs were released when the CD originally came out, though, so the colored 7"s make sense, it's just very costly. The jacket by itself is a custom jacket; there's a special cut made for this jacket, it's something we had to get made specifically for this release. On top of that, the jacket is actually made in two parts so there are a ton of steps in putting it together because it has to be cut and glued. I think what some people are missing as to why this costs so much, aside from the major label license, is that a lot of this product is made in America. It's not like when you make running shoes in China. It's made in the USA so it costs a little more.
Your price point makes sense to me - it's $50 for a 12" and three 7"s, like you said, kids are getting four pieces so it seems logical. Is ShopRadioCast working closely with the band at all on this release? I know you guys are including a forward from Mark Hoppus.
RJ and Mightier Than Sword worked with Mark Hoppus a little bit to do the packaging layout. We are keeping that same layout. I also know that everyone in the band had to sign off on this, so as far as my knowledge goes, they're all aware that this is happening. The foreword written by Mark is very interesting, I'm excited for fans to get to read that.
I think it's pretty interesting that you guys are offering the 10% off coupon for people who preordered from Mightier Than Sword. I think a lot of people will see it as a way for the company to just look good, but considering SRC and MTS are different totally different companies - it's not like you guys bought out the MTS license agreement - I think it shows a lot of thought. What went into that decision?
A lot of the people who preordered that pressing are our customers. Everyone is upset about it, which I totally understand - I can't remember another time where I preordered something and then just didn't receive it. You know, I actually ordered the 7"s from that MTS pressing, and I never got my money back from it, so I do feel for everyone. A lot of these people are good customers to us, so any way we can help out, we like to.
ShopRadioCast's pressing of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket will hit the Internet for the public on March 12. Will you be preordering?