In November, members of Vinyl Me, Please Essentials will receive an exclusive deluxe edition of Queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf, a Record of the Month people have been asking about since we started as a company. Made in close collaboration with the Queens of the Stone Age, this new edition comes on colord vinyl, and is pressed at Pallas from new lacquers cut by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Read below for the details of our release. You can sign up to receive it here.
VMP: How long did this record take to secure? It was years, right?
Cameron Schaefer, Head of Brand: I think we started having conversations with the label and Silva Artist Management about three years ago. Silva’s home to Foo Fighters, Beck, Nine Inch Nails, Jenny Lewis, St. Vincent, they have quite a roster. And I really do respect how much they look out for their artists; it’s actually really impressive when you see it in action. Sometimes, they can be tough when you’re on the receiving end, but they love their artists and it feels like it’s coming from the right place. It just took a lotta back-and-forth.
This is Queens’ third studio album, a masterpiece of desert rock, hard rock, whatever you wanna call it. I just think it’s a great rock record. It’s one of those records that got really underpressed, because in 2002, vinyl was like… nothing. It was the dark days of vinyl. I don’t know what quantity the initial run was… it was obviously way too little, because for years after, the value of the used copies on the secondhand market started ticking up into the hundreds of dollars. One thing we always keep an eye on when it comes to reissues is bootlegs: one telltale sign that an album is underpressed, and needs a reissue, is if you start seeing a series of bootlegs pop up. (Because someone is identifying the demand and making it happen!)
What was crazy about Songs for the Deaf, even the bootlegs, there’s over a dozen that were going for hundreds of dollars. It’s been a pretty well-known fact in the vinyl community for the last six years that this is one of those albums that desperately needs a good reissue on vinyl. We knew that three years ago, that’s why we reached out about it. Basically, it was a series of conversations with management on what the band would want a VMP partnership to look like. It was a three-year conversation; there were times when I definitely thought it wasn’t gonna happen, and then the conversation would kick up again, so we finally were able to find something we could all agree on.
What kept the company so persistent - three years - in acquiring this record?
CS: I credit Nate Auerbach for this, on a couple levels: one, he’s the one that helped rekindle the conversation most recently, and really leading to us finally being able to work with them on it. Also, he comes from a management background, and he’s been in the industry for a while… he‘s always instilled this persistence in me, the idea of not taking no for an answer. And it’s not like you gotta be annoying about it, by any means, but oftentimes when it’s a “no,” it’s just finding out why, and trying to come back with a solution that addresses the “why.”
There’s an art to that, but I’ve seen it time and time again where we’ve gotten a “no” initially, and you stay persistent and creative in addressing what their concerns are, and lots of times, you can eventually get to a good place. And we kept getting asked!
Andrew Winistorfer, Editorial Director: This is a record that our members have asked for since before I started working here. We’re persistent because we know our people want it, and we want to do vinyl projects that they’re asking for. There’s a point where we’re doing stuff that we all think rules, but there’s also a point where you have to listen to the members.
CS: And this one is a real convergence of all that: this was a project we wanted to do, not only because we want it on our shelves, but our members just keep asking for it. We just kept trying to come back with different solutions that would get them to a “yes,” and finally got there.
CS: One of the key points: for us to do this, they wanted to be able to have a standard vinyl package that would go out commercially. The standard black edition will be released commercially sometime in November. And our version - kinda filling in as the deluxe version - is multicolored vinyl, so it’s kind of a red-and-black marbled look that’s really nice. Pressed at Pallas… we haven’t pressed there in a while, definitely one of the top pressing plants in the world. We have a heavyweight gatefold jacket with embossing on the front cover, and spot UV on the back, around some of the artist images. For our 12x12 art print this month, we featured the alternate EU cover of the vinyl, which is the sperm cover.
Beautiful package, amazing album, we’re really glad we get to send it out to our members. It’s been one of those ones that’s requested every single month; there’s always the jokers on Instagram that the minute we announce any album, or do a Guess Me Please, they just constantly guess Queens of the Stone Age. It’s nice to finally see it come to fruition.
AW: It’s probably the most-requested Record of the Month since Demon Days, at least.
Alexandra Berenson, Head of A&R: We were okay with a commercial release because we feel that our members care about having a more robust package, but declining a standard edition would’ve been limiting the amount of people that would’ve gotten this music into their hands, and that’s not what we’re about.
AW: Yeah, when they wanted to press black vinyl, we didn’t say no because we want as many people as possible to get this because we know how crazy this is.
AB: And we wanted to give our members the most definitive version as well.