Some Of These Bootleggers, They Make Pretty Good Stuff
& Copulating Blues: an interview with William Stout
Some Of These Bootleggers, They Make Pretty Good Stuff
Originally published in ISIS magazine issue 161 and updated here
by Derek Barker
I have had a huge passion for vinyl boots, especially original Trade Mark of Quality releases, since I first began collecting records in the early 1970s. It was a pleasure therefore to be able to write something about those heady “innocent” times, even though they have long since been consigned to the annals of history.
My introduction to vinyl bootlegs was in 1971 by way of a local second-hand shop in my adopted city of Coventry. I was seventeen. Located in a ratherseedy district of the city, the shop was a ten-minute walk from the town centre. Small and rather tatty, it sold all manner of things including magazines featuring young ladies displaying their ample assets to the world. These magazines were displayed on racks around the walls and I remember their many eyes seeming to follow me as I moved around the shop.
I often visited on Saturdays, not to browse the magazines you understand, but rather the boxes of second-hand records. One day, after the guy who owned the shop got to know me, he asked if I’d be interested in seeing some “other” records that he kept in the back. I answered in the affirmative and he duly produced two boxes of what I soon discovered were bootleg LPs. I excitedly flipped through the boxes of curious-looking records, convinced that all my Christmases had come at once! I’m sure all those who love music enough to collect bootlegs will remember their first fix of illicit vinyl with a great deal of affection. It was certainly a magical moment for me:–
Bob Dylan “Stealin’” with Har-Kub labels, “While The Establishment Burns” with Winkelhofer labels, “John Birch Society Blues” and “Seems Like a Freeze Out” on handsome red translucent vinyl. At this time Dylan wasn’t my main man so other things also caught my eye:– Jethro Tull “My God”, the Stones “LIVEr Than You’ll Ever Be”, and Zeppelin’s “Live On Blueberry Hill”. I bought two albums; just had to have the red one. I can’t remember what the guy charged me but I do remember he was asking £6 for the “Blueberry Hill” double (at the time a regular single album was a couple of quid). My weekly wage was only £7.50, so £6 was a small fortune. I visited the shop almost every weekend but fortunately for my bank balance there was seldom any new stock. The man behind the counter told me the records mostly came from America and that he only got new stuff every month or so at best. Anyway, I kept calling in and was eventually rewarded with a copy of the so-called “Royal Albert Hall” concert. By now I was addicted; I had become a vinyl junkie.
Sadly, my time in Paradise was fleeting. Unknown to me at the time, on February 15, 1972 the USA had implemented the McClellan Bill on anti-bootlegging and it was now a federal offence to deal in these things. The guy in the States, who had been supplying my man in Coventry, decided he was no longer going to take chances on exporting to England. In only a few short months, six at most, my dreams had been built up and dashed. I continued to pick up the odd boot here and there, mostly when in London, but it would be 1975 before I discovered another local shop that sold the stuff of dreams. By this time music was my religion and the pig was a sacred beast.1
It’s All Just Love & Theft
In 2006 Bob Dylan told Jonathan Lethem: “I still don’t like bootleg records. There was a period of time when people were just bootlegging anything on me … All my stuff was being bootlegged high and low, far and wide. They were never intended to be released, but everybody was buying them. So my record company said, ‘Well, everybody … is buying these records, we might as well put them out.’”
Released in the summer of 1985 shortly before “Biograph” – and at the time even mistaken for the official release – the “Ten Of Swords” box-set brought bootlegging sharply back into focus with the record industry. As might be expected, Columbia Records were not too pleased about the album and CBS spokesman Robert Altshuler warned that they would track down the bootleggers and “drag them into court.” Dylan himself, in the liner notes to “Biograph”, said: “The bootleg records, those are outrageous … You’re sitting and strumming in a motel, you don’t think anybody’s there … and then it appears on a bootleg record. With a cover that’s got a picture of you that was taken from underneath your bed and it’s got a strip-tease title and it costs thirty dollars. Amazing. Then you wonder why most artists feel so paranoid.”
In actual fact, many recording artists seem to like bootlegs, though it has to be said that some have double standards towards them. Many are happy to collect old jazz and blues boots but when they themselves are recorded in concert there is often a different reaction. Paul McCartney has shown a distinct dislike of bootlegs while John Lennon loved and collected them, mainly his own. In another interview Dylan voiced an opinion that bootlegs were like going into a supermarket and walking out past the checkout without paying.
Nevertheless, and much to his chagrin, Bob Dylan remains one of the most bootlegged artists of all-time, and in part it was his reluctance to share the music he made in 1967 in the basement of a pink painted house in the shadow of Overlook Mountain that started the whole rock bootleg industry.
Great White Wonder
The original “Great White Wonder” album involved four people; all equal partners. At seventeen, Ken Douglas had joined the Marine Corps. After he got out he took a job with the Gas Company before joining his father at Saturn Records.2 The company was a “one-stop” wholesale record distributor supplying independent stores in and around Los Angeles. Ken began working for his father, Jack Douglas, in early 1968. Jack’s partner in Saturn was a man named Jack Frost (real name!). By 1969 Dub Michael Taylor, who had previously been employed by one of the LA record stores that bought from Saturn, also began working for the distributor.3
Both fans of Dylan’s music, Ken and Dub quickly became friends. Like many other Dylan followers the two youths were far from enthusiastic about Dylan’s new country-soaked release, “Nashville Skyline” (April 1969). Ken later said of the album: “I don’t know if “Nashville Skyline” was a big record for Columbia, but it was a turkey for Saturn.” The two lads begun collecting audiotapes and in the summer of ’69 Dub had come by the December ’61 Minnesota Hotel Tape, which had supposedly been given out to friends by Dylan way back in 1962, prior to the release of his first album.
The appearance in 1968 of fourteen Basement Tapes songs on tape – later copied to acetate – is usually stated as being the impetus for the “Great White Wonder”. Much later, however, when those involved were criticised by some for putting out a “cut-and-paste” double album, instead of a single LP containing just the Basement songs, Ken said that at the time they only had seven of the fourteen available Basement tracks. He also indicated that the Minnesota Hotel Tape was in fact the first real impetus for making a vinyl record. It should also be noted that Ken and Dub were, at the time, more interested in archiving their personal Dylan tape collections on to vinyl than producing a commercially attractive product.4
Nevertheless, at around this time the fourteen songs made available as publishers’ demos by Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman were doing the rounds in select circles. Tracks like ‘This Wheels On Fire’ and ‘Quinn The Eskimo’ were being played on the popular Pasadena “underground” station KPPC-FM5 and reel-to-reel copies of the fourteen-song tape could be bought for $5 at the LA record store Records and Supertape.6 In any event, Ken and Dub began talking about getting a Dylan vinyl LP pressed up and Sam Billis, who would later open Soul City One Stop, said he knew someone who could get the master made. Billis calculated how much the whole project would cost – mastering, mother plates, stamper, records and jackets and he loaned Ken and Dub the money.7
The two lads were fairly confident they could get the records pressed-up but neither of them was willing to show their faces at record stores. Most of the LA stores that might be interested in selling their record regularly bought stock from Saturn distribution and therefore Ken and Dub were well known to them. They were not sure just how illegal this record was but they weren’t about to take any unnecessary chances. Enter the forth member of the team, Jim. A friend of Dub’s, Jim reckoned there were better things in life than being shot at by the Viet Cong and therefore he decided to desert from the US Army. After that, it didn’t take much to persuade him that bootlegs were a better proposition than boot camp. He needed money and wasn’t known in the record business so Jim became the “face” of the operation, visiting and selling to record stores.
Finding a friendly pressing plant was the easy part. In the Los Angeles area there were a number of record plants that were not first in line to press LPs for the major labels; usually only getting work when the larger plants were running at overcapacity. One such plant, a rambling collection of buildings on Hollywood between Melrose and Sunset, was Korelich Engineering & Manufacturing Co. Long before the advent of the rock bootleg, owner Peter Korelich had been indicted for counterfeiting and a mention of this indictment had appeared in the May 15, 1961 edition of Billboard Music Week magazine. Regardless, Korelich willingly accepted the job of pressing up the Dylan vinyl. Ken commented in 2012: “[Getting stuff pressed was] pretty easy … I don’t want to say everybody was a crook … but just about everybody was a crook. We would just walk into a pressing plant and say this is what we have, and they would make it and we would pay them– in cash … They knew we didn’t work for Bob Dylan! … The only plants we didn’t use, obviously, were Capitol and Columbia.
The story of the first “Great White Wonder” pressing is slightly confused with Ken Douglas providing a couple of differing stories, one of which seems wholly implausible.
In an interview with Miles Raymer for Vice magazine (Vol, 8, Number 8, 2010) Ken intimated that the first pressing of “GWW” was just 100 double LPs. This is the only time I’ve seen this figure quoted and 100 would hardly have been a viable number. It was also stated in Vice that they sold 96 of the albums, keeping four back for themselves (one for each of the four partners). Yet in one entry on Ken’s blog he states that all of the first run was mistakenly sold meaning they had to press more if only to get their own copies! Ken went on to tell Vice, “We pressed another 300 copies and sold them, and then another couple … 300.”
However, these figures are at odds with Ken’s own blog in which he says: “…to answer the question for all those collectors that I’ve seen posed at all these bootleg sites I’ve recently discovered on the net. The original, the real original “Great White Wonder”, came in a double fold white jacket with the Rocoulion (sic) labels on them that Pete [Korelich] had lying around his plant, there were four hundred made. The second batch, without the rubber stamp, had white labels. There were a thousand made. From then on all the records we did were stamped with the rubber stamp. How many of those did we do? Who knows, a lot, we weren’t keeping track”.8
The implausible part of Ken’s statement is that the original “Great White Wonder” had “Rocoulion” (sic) labels. For starters, Rocoulion is a typo. There isn’t now and never has been a label of that name (official or otherwise). Ken plainly meant to write “Rocolian Records”, and this can be confirmed by a photograph of the label included with his blog. While a little difficult to read, the photo shows a blue “Rocolian Records” label that included details of a false artist, “DUPRE and his MIRACLE SOUND”, and a fictitious track list containing songs like ‘Don’t’ and ‘Three In a Basket’. Although a version(s) of “Great White Wonder” with this label does exist, it was not the first. Most, if not all versions of the Rocolian release had rubber stamped covers and matrix numbers 22644 / 22642 / 22643 / 22645 (occasional copies have surfaced where disc 22643 has a blank label). It is universally accepted among collectors that the original “Great White Wonder” came in a plain white unstamped sleeve with plain white unremarked record labels. Also, the dead wax either had no matrix numbers or GF 001, GF 002, GF 003 and GF 004. It must be said, however, that the rubber stamp used on the Rocolian release does look the same as the TMQ stamp.
In his Rocolian story, Ken says that he had intended that Pete Korelich should use any labels he had “lying around his plant” and that the labels should have been attached upside down so that they were white side up. He says that Korelich misunderstood and fixed Rocolian labels with the writing uppermost. Although I believe this to be incorrect, I have seen what appears to be an original first pressing of “Great White Wonder” with blank white labels where printed text can be seen bleeding through from the other side. Although this print was faint, the one word in evidence being “stereo”, these labels were not the aforementioned Rocolian / MIRACLE SOUND labels.
In interview with Clinton Heylin, Ken’s partner Dub confirms that “the originals are just a white cover and a white label, there’s nothing on them”. As for the quantity involved, Like Ken, Dub is a little vague. “I’m not sure how many we pressed originally” he told Heylin, “it was either 1,000 or 2,000”.9 In any event, the records were pressed in July 1969 at Korelich and Army deserter Jim was soon out and about on the streets of LA selling them. According to Ken, Bill Bowers, owner of Vogue Records on Hollywood Boulevard, bought the lot, including the copies that should have been held back for Dub and co! Whether this is true, we will never know. Ken also says that the very next day Bill Bowers was in Saturn chatting about how well this record was selling. He had no idea that Ken and Dub were responsible for the record, which he called a “Dylan bootleg.” Ken had never heard the word bootleg associated with a record before. He writes in his blog “We’d invented ’em, Dub and me, rock bootlegs anyway, but we didn’t know what they were called.”10 One of the first stores to sell “GWW” was the LA Free Press bookstore on Fairfax.11
Dub: “…we went to their office and we talked to this woman who was from Brooklyn … and explained that we had this underground Dylan album and [asked] ‘Would you like to carry it in your store?’”12
The woman agreed and said she would put adverts for it in the store’s newspaper. She then thought for a moment and said “You know, we have to call this album something.” She decided on the spot that because of its all white appearance that “Great White Wonder” would be the perfect title.13 Dub and Ken got a rubber stamp made and all subsequent albums were stamped “Great White Wonder”.
Two months and several pressings later, the album had generated a great deal of interest and Dub and Jim foolishly agreed to a meeting with reporter Jerry Hopkins in Platypus Record Store in Hollywood. The September edition of Rolling Stone magazine featured the interview and an article:
“More then 2,300 copies of a ‘bootleg’ Bob Dylan album are now being sold in Los Angeles in what may be the entertainment industry’s first truly hip situation comedy … [The] effect of the album’s ‘release’ on the local record scene has been phenomenal. Five radio stations [in Santa Barbara, Long Beach, Pasadena and two in Los Angeles] immediately began playing the LP thereby creating a demand that often far exceeded a shop’s limited supply. The supply line was ragged at best, largely because the two men behind the scheme … are the ‘exclusive distributors.’
Not only that, ‘We don’t have a car of our own’, they say. ‘We have to borrow cars to take the records around.’ Distribution has been further hampered by the fact that they will not give their names, addresses or a telephone where they might be reached.
As a result, shops are charging whatever they think the traffic will bear. The two producers say they are wholesaling the package at $4.50 each ($4.25 apiece after the first 50), and shops are asking from $6.50 up. One store, The Psychedelic Supermarket in Hollywood … is even asking and getting, $12.50 for the two-record set.
Amused and displeased spokesmen at Colombia [sic] (it depended who you spoke to), were aware copies of the basement tape were in circulation, had even been played on the air, but they did not have any warning that an LP like this would be marketed.
In the meantime [the people involved are] struggling with their little “company’s” first release and protecting their anonymity.
‘What’re your names?’ I asked.
‘Call me Patrick,’ said the one with the longest hair.
‘Call me Vladimir,’ said the one with the bushiest sideburns.
‘How do you spell Vladimir?’
‘I don’t konw, man. Make it Merlin’.”14
At around the same time that the Rolling Stone piece hit the streets, September ’69, two local Los Angeles record store owners, Norton Beckman and Ben Goldman, ripped off Dub and Ken’s “Great White Wonder”. Brothers-in-law Norty and Ben owned Norty’s Records and Ben’s Records respectively. They both had firsthand experience of how well “Great White Wonder” was selling in their stores and wanted a bigger piece of the action. To that end they simply took a copy of the “Great White Wonder” discs and got their own version made. According to Serge Denisoff, Norty and Ben got the record mastered in a home studio “near downtown Los Angeles,” reportedly at a cost of $161.76. The master was taken to James Lee Record Processing in Gardena, CA where three “mothers” and Stampers were made. S&L Record Manufacturers produced the finished item.15
After their one success it was all change at the fledgling TMQ HQ! Money man Sam Billis was, to say the least, ill at ease after the Rolling Stone interview and he quickly disappeared from view. The FBI had paid two visits to Jim’s parents home (about his desertion, not the bootleg) and, although he had passed himself off as his own brother, panic was setting in and he is said to have split for Canada. Saturn distribution developed money problems and Ken’s father had to lay Ken and Dub off. Almost by default they were now full-time bootleggers.
How Columbia Records got the information is a matter for conjecture (possibly through the Rolling Stone interview given at Platypus Records), but a subpoena was put out for Dub. Also, Norty and Ben were served with an injunction by Columbia’s lawyers. Although he got close, the process server never found Dub. Ken says that the process server, Pete, who was hired by Columbia, actually served him with a subpoena but that it had Dub’s name on it which meant it wasn’t valid. When it was falsely put about that Ken and Dub had left the USA to open a gas station in Vancouver, the heat was off.
Later, the FBI got involved with trying to track the bootleggers down but according to Ken they weren’t that good at their job!
Ken: “[Once my] records had full colour covers … the FBI couldn’t tell them from the real deal. How these guys got Dillinger is anybody’s guess. The FBI regularly checked one of the pressing plants where I made my records, but they never caught me, they couldn’t, because they didn’t start work till eight. I made my daily pickup at five-thirty in the AM … Imagine staking out a place form Nine to Five. How dumb. There were only four or five places in L.A. where we could’ve been making the bloody things and we were at three of them. The pressing plants called me at home all the time. How hard would it have been to look at their phone bills, see who they called?”
“Great White Wonder” was followed in October ’69 by the aptly titled Dylan boot “Stealin’”. Before October was out “John Birch Society Blues” was in stores and before the end of the year the superb live Rolling Stones’ boot “Live’R Than You’ll Ever Be” – which was recorded in person by Dub using a Nagra recorder and a Sennhauser shotgun mic – had arrived. This was followed in quick succession by Donovan’s, “The Ready River”; Jethro Tull’s, “My God”; Bob Dylan’s, “While The Establishment Burns”; The Beatles’, “In Atlanta Whiskey Flat” and two more Dylan’s, “Seems Like a Freeze Out” and “Talkin Bear Mountain Massacre Picnic Blues”. A second double album, Led Zeppelin’s, “Live On Blueberry Hill” was also released.
In his interview with Clinton Heylin, Dub said that he was at his bank one day when he began looking through a catalogue containing all the different pictogram images that were available to use to “personalize” cheques. The catalogue had an entire section for farmers and ranchers which included images of livestock, one of which was a pig. Dub ordered up a “lead-cut” of the pig which became the record label’s famous logo.16 After some thought he decided he would call the company Trade Mark of Quality, because it summed up what Dub and Ken were trying to achieve.
Dub had dayglo stickers printed up using the lead-cut pig and these Trade Mark of Quality stickers would now be fixed to the front of all his album covers. He would also now assign a catalogue number to each release. The first new record to be given such a number was the March 1971 release of Frank Zappa’s “200 Motels”. The Zappa album was allocated the catalogue number 71010. Previously released albums (when repressed) would be assigned backdated catalogue numbers from 71001, “Stealin’”, through 71009, “Talkin Bear Mountain Massacre Picnic Blues”. Double albums were given 72000 series numbers. Therefore “Great White Wonder” became 72001 and Zeppelin’s “Live On Blueberry Hill” 72002.
The Bloodhounds Of London (And Leicester)
The UK music press soon began writing about the emergence of bootleg records. The October 3, 1970 issue of Melody Maker reported that “two new Led Zeppelin albums will shortly be in the shops, both unofficial, illegal bootlegs”. Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant was quoted in the Melody Maker article as saying: “As far as I know there can be no Led Zeppelin tapes available. After hearing some time ago that there was going to be an attempt to bootleg some tapes of the band, I flew to America. We’ve managed to retrieve all the tapes and we know nothing in existence that can be issued”
When Grant heard that copies of the TMQ release “Live On Blueberry Hill” were being sold from a shop at 88, Chancery Lane, London, Grant, Zep tour manager Richard Cole, and RAK management partner Mickie Most, paid the proprietor Jeffrey Collins a visit. Grant, an ex London doorman and professional wrestler who stood six-feet-five and weighed in at 300 pounds questioned Collins about the Zeppelin album and with a little not so gentle persuasion made it clear that it was not in his best interests to continue selling this record.
Collins wisely took the Zeppelin title off the shelves which ensured that his kneecaps remained where his maker had intended them to be. He did, however, continue selling the many other boots that were now flooding the UK market place. Although seemingly not connected to Grant, shortly after that visit Collins received another caller at the shop, one which saw him become part a UK test prosecution that would clarify the legal position of bootleg records in the UK.
The trial at Leicester court on March 25, 1971 was reported in the April 10 edition of Billboard magazine. The case involved a British made Hendrix boot entitled “Live Experience 1967-68”. The person responsible for compiling the record and ordering a quantity of 13,944 copies to be pressed was a Leicester man by the name of David Zimmerman (no, not Bob’s brother). In addition, Jeffrey Collins was prosecuted for selling the record. It would later emerge that Collins owned four stores, three in London and one in Leeds. He also ran a wholesale company, “Underground Imports,” which had a printed catalogue containing thirty-three bootleg titles.
Zimmerman was fined the maximum penalty for bootleg manufacturing in Britain, which Billboard magazine reported as being $120. Jeffrey Collins was fined the maximum penalty for selling bootlegs in Britain which was just $24! Both men were ordered to pay court costs of $432 each.
Although the Zimmerman / Collins case set a precedent in British law, it wasn’t the first time a bootlegger had been apprehended in the UK. David Steel, a 20-year old student had previously been caught by the MCPS for releasing a very poor quality single LP rip-off of “Great White Wonder”. Steel had got hold of a tape of “GWW”, selected what he thought were the best tracks, and released them as a single LP in a blank cover with blank white record labels. The tape had been processed for Steel by Regent Sound studio in Denmark Street, London– British Homophone carried out the pressing work. The initial run was just 300 but by the time MCPS arrived on the scene Steel had sold 1,250 copies of the LP. Nevertheless, rather than risking testing the then uncharted legal waters, MCPS let Steel walk after he turned over to them his remaining stocks of albums, his master tape, and most of the $360 that he owed in royalties.
The Finishing End Is At Hand
Ken and Dub continued to work together until the beginning of 1973 when their partnership came to an abrupt end. By this time they had put out more than sixty albums, fifteen of which (not counting re-releases and repackaging) were Dylan albums. Dub insisted to Clinton Heylin that the parting of the ways was down to a “difference of opinion about what to do and where to go with TMQ.”17 However, one of Ken’s later partners told Heylin that Dub’s dad told his son “Get rid of this guy. I’m your new partner.”18 Ken Douglas tells the same story on his 2006 blog “Big Dub, Bad Stamps and a Horny Dog.” According to Ken, he arrived at Dub’s house one day only to be told by “Big Dub” (Dub’s father) that Ken was out and that he was taking over as his son’s partner! According to Ken, Big Dub informed him that “Dub was responsible for the records being as successful as they were, because of all of his state of the art stereo and recording equipment.” He felt that Ken wasn’t “carrying [his] weight [and that] it wasn’t fair to Dub. Dub needed a partner who could move the business forward.” In any event, as Ken says, “Bottom line, I was out, Big Dub was in.”19
The early part of 1973 saw major changes at TMQ. Not only was Ken out, but pig labels were in, as were great looking William Stout cartoon covers. Also, Dub began using coloured vinyl on every release. In the beginning, Ken and Dub had put each boot out with a different label (Har-Kub, Lurch, Athapascan, Winkelhofer, Blimp Records, etc.). This was done to help throw the authorities off the scent and to give the impression that various makers were involved. Later, beginning with Zappa’s “200 Motels”, they introduced a large 1 and 2 as the record labels. This practice continued all the way from March 1971 until January 1973. The first album to feature the pig label was David Bowie’s “In Person”.
The cartoon covers were drawn at $50 a pop by William Stout. Stout, who grew up in Los Angeles and had graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from the Chouinard Art Institute, began his professional career as an illustrator for comic books, but he was also a music lover and an avid collector of bootlegs. His first cover insert for Dub’s TMQ label – a homage to Robert Crumb’s “Cheap Thrills” cover – was for the “Rolling Stones Winter Tour ’73” boot.
In the bottom right-hand corner of the official Big Brother and the Holding Company “Cheap Thrills” cover was a circle which read “Approved by Hell’s Angels Frisco.” Stout featured a similar size circle in the same position on his Stones’ insert– Stout’s circle, however, contained a stylized sunglasses-wearing, cigar-smoking pig’s head. Ken, who had decided to go into competition with Dub, seized on the opportunity and stole the cartoon pig head for his own new label. As with the original TMQ label, Ken’s new smoking pig’s head would be surrounded by the words “Trade Mark of Quality.” According to Ken, it would be wrong to assume that you can tell Dub’s records from Ken’s simply by the Pig Head. Ken: “I did many regular pigs after we split up. Oftentimes I would make the same record with different labels, sometimes a regular pig, sometimes smoking. Sometimes I just used whatever labels I had on hand.”
Even The Swap Meets Around Here Are Getting Pretty Corrupt
At this point Dub went on to greater things and Ken was relegated to living off scraps from Dub’s table. He bought albums from Dub and sold them at drive-in swap meets. He also got access to many of Dub’s stampers, which as he rightly pointed out were really half his anyway, and began pressing up copies of earlier TMQ titles. He even had identical rubber stamps made for the covers. The owner of the pressing plant, Kay at Lewis Records , clearly felt sorry for the situation Ken now found himself in and surreptitiously gave him access to Dub’s new plates! A situation therefore arose that every time Dub released a new album, Ken would put out a copy of the same thing; albeit often on black vinyl and with a cheaper cover. In response, Dub soon modified his logo to read “Accept No Substitutes.”
Ken supposedly shut down his version of TMQ in early 1974. His swansong release was fittingly another Dylan title, “Bridgett’s Album”. The front cover, which carried the statement “Fare Thee Well,” continued with “this record is the last from your friends here at trademark of quality … We are hanging up our cigar and putting our phonograph needles out to pasture.” In reality, however, the truth was far from that. Firstly, Ken would continue to keep existing TMQ records in print (perhaps the subtitle to “Bridgett’s Album”, “Don’t Go Away Now”, was a clue). Ken would also form an alliance with another bootlegger, “Dr Telly Phone.” The label they created, one of the most prolific producers ever, was TAKRL (The Amazing Kornyfone Record Label). To make it more difficult for the authorities to track him down, Ken also created a plethora of other labels including ZAP, SODD, TKRWM, HHCER, Spindizzle/Flat and others too numerous to mention.
Between 1974 and the close of ’76 alone TAKRL put out more than 100 tiles with thirty-two more appearing on TKRWM (The Kornyfone Records for the Working Man). Ken also continued to repress TMQ records on his Somkin’ Pig label. Sixteen releases arrived on Highway High Fi Collector’s Edition Records (HHCER) and there were twelve double-albums on Singers Original Double Discs (SODD). The TAKRL label was active from 1974-1977 during which time they issued 164 titles in total. Even after TAKRL finished Ken continued in bootlegging with more new labels:– Impossible Recordworks and Excitable Recordworks, using black and white printed covers, and Phoenix and Saturated Records, who continued to repress old TMQ and TAKRL boots in deluxe colour covers. At around this time Ken was living in Spain but his labels were still all based in California. After a couple of years in Spain and some nine months in New Zealand Ken bought a sloop, which he named “Great White Wonder,” and went to live in the Caribbean. Eventually though, after many years in exile, he returned to the United States.
By March 1974 US record stores had become flooded with bootleg vinyl. It seemed there were now just too many labels chasing too few enthusiasts. The makers’ margins were constantly being eroded by competition and even Dub, who had majored on quality, was cutting back on costs. For new items, which he didn’t think would be big sellers, he reverted to black vinyl. He also began combining previously released single LPs and releasing them as budget double albums– one example being the coupling of Dylan’s “While The Establishment Burns” with “Isle Of Wight”. The flurry of deluxe colour-covers, which had begun in January ’74 with the Yardbirds “Golden Eggs” were also beginning to come to an end and by the summer of ’74 it was all but over for the original TMQ. The last great Dylan release, which arrived in February 1974, was “Melbourne, Australia”. The album, which came in a super Deluxe colour William Stout “kangaroo” cartoon cover – Stout’s second full colour cover for TMQ – consisted of four songs from Dylan’s Melbourne acoustic set. The great quality recording came from a previously unknown radio station acetate. However, even this potentially good seller was only pressed on black vinyl. Stout had this to say about the cover, which is rightly prized by Dylan collectors– Stout: “Airbrush illustration was all the rage in Los Angeles at the time, but I couldn’t afford one. What looks like airbrush on the Dylan “Melbourne, Australia” cover was actually done with spray cans of enamel paint. Pretty primitive!”
He Wants To Turn Me In To The FBI
April ’74 saw the “partial” release of “Tales From The Who”– a thirteen-track double album with quadraphonic sound no less! The concert – Largo Arena, Washington, D.C – had been recorded for broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio show. Although the print run was 1,000 albums, according to William Stout, only 120 copies made it to record stores.20 The FBI were closing in on Dub and he understandably panicked, drove to the plant and destroyed all of the covers and record labels that were there; mostly belonging to his new release, “Tales From The Who”. Dub’s fathers’ home was visited that same day by the FBI and although the authorities never caught Dub, that was more or less the end of TMQ. Dub appears to have kept his head down for two or three months before his final hurrah; five strangely out of sequence releases that appear to have arrived in July 1974; one of which was Bob Dylan’s “Early 60’s Revisited”. Depending on how you do the maths, the original TMQ released about 115 albums over a five-year period.
Bootleggers came and went, some good, some not so, but the years when Trade Mark of Quality operated were the best of times. Now, so called music collectors just click and download. Where’s the soul in that? Call me a sentimental old fool but for me the real enjoyment, the adrenaline rush, was always in the chase. Searching the record bins of back street shops and a little later poking around Record Fairs for those elusive TMQs. But that was a long time ago, and it was made in the shade.
Sources and Notes:
1 Barker, Derek, “My Life In Stolen Moments”, ISIS 134, October 2007
2 Douglas, Ken, “White Wonder, the Beginning”. Posted online February 2, 2006; re-blogged December 15, 2010
4 Douglas, Ken, “In Our Hearts”, Posted online January 17, 2006; re-blogged December 15, 2010
5 Best known during 1967-1971, KPPC-FM was one of the leading “underground” radio stations in the United States. Hosts included blues specialist Johnny Otis, music historian Dr Demento, and others with names like “The Obscene Steven Clean”, “Outrageous Nevada”, “Bonzo” Gonzer and “Cosmos Topper”. Elliot Mintz, who would later go on to become Bob Dylan’s publicist, hosted a late-night Sunday show.
6 Heylin, Clinton, “The Great White Wonders: A History of Rock Bootlegs”, Viking, 1994
7 Douglas, Ken, “White Wonder, the Beginning”. Posted online February 2, 2006; re-blogged December 15, 2010
8 Douglas, Ken, “There Was Money There”. Posted online February 21, 2006; re-blogged December 15, 2010
9 Heylin, Clinton, “The Great White Wonders: A History of Rock Bootlegs”, Viking, 1994
10 Douglas, Ken, “There Was Money There”. Posted online February 21, 2006; re-blogged December 15, 2010
11 Rolling Stone magazine, September 20, 1969
12 Heylin, Clinton, “The Great White Wonders: A History of Rock Bootlegs”, Viking, 1994
14 Hopkins, Jerry, Rolling Stone, September 20, 1969
15 Denisoff, Serge, “Solid Gold: Popular Record Industry”, Transaction Publishers December 1975
16 Heylin, Clinton, “The Great White Wonders: A History of Rock Bootlegs”, Viking, 1994
19 Douglas, Ken, “Big Dub, Bad Stamps and a Horny Dog”. Posted online March 14, 2006; re-blogged December 15, 2010
20 Heylin, Clinton, “The Great White Wonders: A History of Rock Bootlegs”, Viking, 1994
*The various editions of Billboard magazine (1961 – 1971) consulted in this piece are credited within the text
Note: All names quoted in this article were already in the public domain at the time of publication (most can be found in Ken Douglas’ various Internet blogs). All identities not in the public domain have been withheld.
Thanks to: Mr Jones and Angelina, and for interviews given to the author by those who were in the bootleg trade during the 1970s. Thanks also to Mr Eagle-Eye, Paul Comley.
Trade Mark of Quality Catalogue
Below is a full listing of albums issued by the original Trade Mark of Quality label. Whilst this chronology is probably the most comprehensive and accurate available, amendments and suggestions are most welcome.
72001 (July 1969) – Bob Dylan – “Great White Wonder” (blank labels)
71001 (Sept 1969) – Bob Dylan – “Stealin’” (Har-Kub labels); Also Oct 1969 (pale blue blank label)
71002 (Oct 1969) – Bob Dylan – John Birch Society Blues (GWW Sings John Birch Society Blues labels)
71003 (Dec 1969) – Rolling Stones – “LIVEr Than You’ll Ever Be” (Lurch Records) & (Oakland Records)
71004 (Feb 1970) – Donovan – “The Reedy River” (blank labels), coloured vinyl
71005 (May 1970) – Jethro Tull – “My God” (Athapascan labels), coloured vinyl
71006 (May 1970) – Bob Dylan – “While The Establishment Burns” (Winkelhofer labels), coloured vinyl
71007 (July 1970) – Beatles – “In Atlanta Whiskey Flat” (blank labels), coloured vinyl
72002 (Sept 1970) – Led Zeppelin – “Live On Blueberry Hill” (Blimp Records), coloured vinyl, (first insert cover)
71008 (Jan 1971) – Bob Dylan – “Seems Like a Freeze Out” (blank labels) coloured vinyl
71009 (Jan 1971) – Bob Dylan – “Talkin’ Bear Mountain Massacre Picnic” (blank labels), coloured vinyl
71010 (March 1971) – Frank Zappa – “200 Motels” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71011 (March 1971) – Jefferson Airplane – “Up Against the Wall” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71012 (May 1971) – Beatles – “Last Live Show” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71013 (May 1971) – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – “Ohio Wooden Nickel” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71014 (May 1971) – Paul Simon – “The Paul Simon Solo Album” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl (copy)
71015 (May 1971) – Beatles – “Complete Christmas Collection 1963-1969” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl, (copy)
71001 (May 1971) – Bob Dylan – “Stealin’” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl, BD 505, new plates
71016 (May 1971) – Rod Stewart & the Faces – “Plynth” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71017 (June 1971) – Bob Dylan – “Royal Albert Hall” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl, (copy)
71018 (June 1971) – Jimi Hendrix – “Maui, Hawaii” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl, (copy)
71019 (June 1971) – Jimi Hendrix – “Broadcasts” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl (copy)
72003 (June 1971) – Jimi Hendrix – “Alive” (1 / 2 labels), (copy)
71020 (June 1971) – Rolling Stones – “European Tour 1970” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl (copy)
71021 (June 1971) – Rolling Stones – “Beautiful Delilah” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71022 (June 1971) – Neil Young – “At the Los Angeles Music Center” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl (copy)
71023 (June 1971) – Janis Joplin – “Infinity Blues” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl (copy)
71024 (Sept 1971) – Beatles “Get Back Sessions” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl (copy)
71025 (Sept 1971) – Beatles – Renaissance Minstrels – Renaissance (1 / 2 labels)
71026 (Sept 1971) – Beatles – Renaissance Minstrels 2 – Renaissance (1 / 2 labels)
71027 (Sept 1971) – Bob Dylan – “VD Waltz” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71028 (Sept 1971) – Jimi Hendrix – “Smashing Amps” (Copy)
71029 (Sept 1971) – Rolling Stones – “London Roundhouse” (blank labels), coloured vinyl
71002 (Sept 1971) – Bob Dylan – “John Birch Society Blues” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl – BD 508 new plates
71003 (Sept 1971) – Rolling Stones – “LIVEr Than You’ll Ever Be” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl, new plates
71030 (Sept 1971) – Jethro Tull – “Nothing Is Easy” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71031 (Sept 1971) – Blood, Sweat & Tears – “BS&T 5” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71032 (Jan 1972) – Beatles – “Yellow Matter Custard” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71017 (Jan 1972) – Bob Dylan – “Royal Albert Hall” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl – RAH 115, new plates
71033 (Jan 1972) – “Bob Dylan” – “Burn Some More” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71034 (Jan 1972) – Bob Dylan – “Best Of Great White Wonder” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl – GWW – 117
71035 (Jan 1972) – Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, CSN&Y – “Springfield Roots” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71036 (Jan 1972) – Cat Stevens – “Father and Son” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71037 (April 1972) – Grateful Dead – “Live In Concert” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71038 (April 1972) – Jefferson Airplane – “Winterland 1970 / Tapes From The Mothership” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71039 (April 1972) – The Who – “Closer To the Queen Mary” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71040 (April 1972) – Pink Floyd – “Omayyad” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71041 (April 1972) – Led Zeppelin – “Mudslide” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl (copy)
71042 (April 1972) – Jimi Hendrix – “Good Vibes” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl (copy)
71043 (April 1972) – Bob Dylan – “Let Me Die In My Footsteps” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl, (copy)
71044 (July 1972) – Jethro Tull – “Flute Cake” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71045 (July 1972) – Bob Dylan – “Troubled Troubadour” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71046 (July 1972) – John Lennon – “Telecasts” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71047 (July 1972) – Leon Russell – “Session” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71048 (July 1972) – Beatles – “Outtakes 1” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71049 (July 1972) – Beatles – “Outtakes 2” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71050 (Sept 1972) – Bob Dylan – “Isle Of Wight” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71051 (Sept 1972) – Bob Dylan – “Blind Boy Grunt” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl (copy)
71052 (Sept 1972) – Rod Stewart & the Faces – “Had Me a Real Good Time” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71053 (Sept 1972) – Moody Blues – “Bushbuck” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl
71054 (Jan 1973) – David Bowie – “In Person” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71055 (Jan 1973) – Bob Dylan – “The Demo Tape”s (pig labels), coloured vinyl – BD – 529
71056 (Jan 1973) – Pete Townshend – “The Genius Of Pete Townshend” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71057 (Jan 1973) – Rolling Stones – “Burning At the Hollywood Palladium” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71058 (Jan 1973) – Grateful Dead – “San Francisco 1” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71059 (Jan 1973) – Frank Zappa – “Hot Rats At the Olympic” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71060 (Jan 1973) – Jimi Hendrix – “Good Karma” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
72004 (Feb 1973) – Led Zeppelin – “Going To California” (pig labels), coloured vinyl, wrap-around cover
72005 (Feb 1973) – Crosby & Nash – “A Very Stoney Evening”1973 (pig labels), coloured vinyl, wrap around cover
72006 (March 1973) – Rolling Stones – “Winter Tour ’73” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – First Stout art
71061(April 1973) – Bob Dylan – “Don’t Look Back” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – BD – 524
71062 (April 1973) – David Bowie – “In America” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71063 (April 1973) – Neil Young – “Boulder Colorado” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Stout art insert
71064 (April 1973) – Grateful Dead – “Hollywood Palladium I” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – printed Stout art cover
71065 (April 1973) – Beatles – “Hollywood Bowl 1964” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71066 (April 1973) – Yes – “On Tour” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71067 (April 1973) – Deep Purple – “Purple For a Day” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Stout art
71068 (April 1973) – Beatles – “Get Back Sessions 2” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – printed Stout art cover
71069 (April 1973) – Bob Dylan – “BBC Broadcast” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – BD – 534
71070 (April 1973) – Led Zeppelin – “BBC Broadcast” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71071 (April 1973) – The Who – “Fillmore East” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Stout art insert
71072 (April 1973) – Neil Young – “BBC Broadcast” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Stout art insert
71073 (April 1973) – Santana – “Hot & Alive” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Stout art insert
71074 (July 1973) David Bowie – “The All American Bowie” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71075 (July 1973) – Rolling Stones – “Bright Lights Big City” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Stout art insert
71076 (July 1973) – Beatles – “Mary Jane” (pig labels), coloured vinyl (same album as below)
71076 (July 1973) – The Beatles – “Spicy Beatles Songs” (pig labels), coloured vinyl, printed Stout art cover (ltd 250)
71077 (July 1973) – The Who – “Radio London” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71078 (July 1973) – Rolling Stones – “San Diego ’69 – Stoneaged” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – printed Stout art cover
7501 (July 1973) Bob Dylan – “BBC Broadcasts / Demo Tapes” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Double Budget Release
7502 (July 1973) Jimi Hendrix – “Maui / Broadcasts” (1 / 2 labels), some coloured vinyl – Double Budget Release
7503 (July 1973) – Jethro Tull – “My God / Nothing Is Easy” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl – Double Budget Release
72007 (July 1973) – Led Zeppelin – “Bonzo’s Birthday Party” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – printed Stout art cover
71079 (Sept 1973) Jimi Hendrix – “Good Karma 2” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – printed Stout art cover
71080 (Sept 1973) – Rolling Stones – “Welcome To New York” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – printed Stout art cover
71081 (Sept 1973) Yardbirds – “Rarities” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
71082 (Sept 1973) Derek & the Dominos – “Stormy Monday” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – printed Stout art cover
72008 (Sept 1973) – Grateful Dead – “Out West” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – printed Stout art cover
72009 (Sept 1973) – Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – printed Stout art cover
72010 (Sept 1973) – Jethro Tull – “Forum ’73” (pig labels), coloured insert – printed Stout art cover
72011 (Sept 1973) – Rolling Stones – “Summer Reruns” (pig labels), coloured vinyl, Stout art cover
61001 (Jan 1974) – Yardbirds – “Golden Eggs” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – First colour Stout art cover
61002 (Feb 1974) – Bob Dylan – Melbourne, Australia (pig labels), black vinyl – colour Stout art cover, BD – 552
62001 (Feb 1974) – The Who – “Who’s Zoo” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – colour Stout art cover
7504 (March 1974) Who & Pete Townshend – “Closer To the Queen Mary / The Genius Of Pete Townshend” (1 / 2 labels), coloured vinyl – Double Budget Release
7505 (March 1974) Rolling Stones – “European Tour / Burning At the Hollywood Palladium” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Double Budget release
7506 (March 1974) Frank Zappa – “200 Motels / At the Olympic” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Double Budget release
7507 (March 1974) Bob Dylan – “While the Establishment Burns / Isle Of Wight” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Double Budget release
7508 (March 1974) Beatles – “Outtakes 1 / Outtakes 2” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Double Budget release
7509 (March 1974) Jimi Hendrix – “Alive” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Double Budget re-release
7510 (March 1974) David Crosby & Graham Nash – “A Very Stoney Evening” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Double Budget release
63001 (April 1974) Bob Dylan – “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” (pig labels), black vinyl matrix – BD 553 – 3-LP deluxe colour box set
61003 (April 1974) Yardbirds – “More Golden Eggs” (pig labels), coloured vinyl – Stout art cover
62002 Q (April 1974) The Who – “Tales From the Who” (pig labels), black vinyl – colour Stout art cover
*71083 (July 1974) – Bob Dylan – “Early 60’s Revisited” (pig labels), black vinyl – matrix BD – 554 – deluxe black & white cover – Stout art
*71084 (July 1974) – Kinks – “Long Tall Sally” (pig labels), coloured vinyl,
*71085 (July 1974) – Bad Company – “Boblingen” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
*71086 (July 1974) Rolling Stones – “European Tour 1973” (pig labels), black vinyl
*72012 (July 1974) – Beatles – “Vancouver 1964” (pig labels), coloured vinyl
NOTE: The last five releases marked* are strangely out of sequence and appear to have been issued after what many believe to be TMQ’s final release. It has long been debated between Dylan collectors as to whether “Early 60’s Revisited” was released in late 1973 or 1974. The logical approach would be to simply place these five releases in catalogue number order. This would, however, place the “Boblingen” boot somewhere between September 1973 and supposed final TMQ release (“Tales From The Who”) April 1974. However, the Bad Company concert in Boblingen, Germany did not take place until June 8, 1974.
Copulating Blues: an interview with William Stout
In-person interview and transcription by Joey Rodriguez
Edited by Derek Barker and used here with Joey’s permission. Introduction by Derek Barker
William Stout was born September 1949 in Salt Lake City, Utah on the way to Los Angeles. He grew up in LA and at seventeen won a full California State Scholarship to the Chouinard Art Institute where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree. He began his professional career in art in 1968 and in ’71 began to assist Russ Manning on the Tarzan of the Apes newspaper comic strips and Award-winning graphic novels. In the spring of 1973 he began drawing bootleg inserts for the Trade Mark of Quality label producing more than thirty covers for them. From 1975 to 1977 he worked as art director for the rock magazine Bomp! Stout ultimately worked on the advertising for over 120 films. A full biography can be found at: http://www.williamstout.com/
Joey Rodriguez: You became associated with Trade Mark of Quality while you were still attending CalArts?
William Stout: Sure, well back in 1973, the bootleg scene was fairly verging back then and I was a consumer because I wanted to get all the rare tracks and live tracks of my favourite bands and stuff. And I just been to a Led Zeppelin concert and I was real excited because I saw a lot of people taping it. Back then anyone could bring tape recorders in; you could bring a whole Sony set and tape the whole show. No one said anything.
JR: They still do.
JR: I do.
WS: And da–I couldn’t wait–uh–for the Led Zepplin bootleg to come out. And, uh, I walked into Paradise Records a couple of weeks after the concert and sure enough there it was. And I was so disappointed because the cover sucked. And it was just horrible; really crude graphics … and the crap – muddle photos and uh, the worst hand lettering. It looked like it was lettered by a three-year old. Just pathetic. And just out loud I said, “I wish someone would get me to do these bootleg record album covers. I would love to do these things.” And a guy tapped me on the shoulders and said do you want to do bootleg record albums?” … I said, “the covers, yeah.” He goes, “Do you know where Selma and La Palmas is?” I go, “Yeah, yeah.” It’s a seedy neighbourhood. He goes, “Be there Friday. 8 o’clock. Be alone.”
WS: I said, “Okay”. And he disappears. Mysterious and sinister. Weird.
JR: Yeah, sounds a bit creepy.
WS: So, I thought what the heck? What do I have to lose? And I go to Selma and La Palmas, which was a crummy neighbourhood back then. And, I’m waiting there and it is night time. Suddenly this big coop pulls up with smoked windows and one of the windows rolled down just a crack and a sheet of paper comes out and I look at it. It says Rolling Stones Winter Tour and there was a list of songs.
And I go woo. And a voice from inside the car said, “See you in two weeks. Be alone.” So, I went home and did my first bootleg album cover sort of homage to Robert Crumb’s “Cheap Thrills” cover.
JR: From the Big Brothers Holding Company.
WS: …Because I liked the idea of illustrating each of the songs and caricatures of the band members in some of the panels as well.
So, I did that and changed the whole title to “ALL MEAT MUSIC”, which eventually I learned upset the bootlegs whenever I would change their title.
JR: But why “All Meat Music”?
WS: (smiles) I just wanted to … I have a sense of humour. It’s like ALL MEA … you know, MEAT. FLESH … you associate the Stones with bodies, flesh, and sexuality. It’s all MEAT MUSIC. So, I … two weeks later, Friday night and 8 o’clock, I’m there and the same car pulls up. The window cracks a little bit and I put it into the little crack of the window like I’m mailing an envelope. And, it goes inside and VOOP! Out comes a $50-dollar bill. And, I take it.
WS: Eventually, the bootleggers got so they could trust me and meet met face to face and stuff. And, because their name was Trade Mark of Quality, I kept pushing them to do higher and higher quality stuff.
Initially the covers were printed on a separate coloured piece of paper and sandwiched between the shrink wrap and the cardboard cover holding the record. And then I finally talked them into printing onto the cover itself. And then I did a trick that I have done with a lot of my clients which was sometimes I would get a job and it’s a black & white job and I’d do it in full colour and then I would present it to them. And I would say well you could print it in black & white if you want. And they always print it in colour (smiles).
After they see it in colour they don’t want to see it any way else. And, so I did that with I think Bob Dylan’s “Melbourne, Australia” which was my first colour bootleg cover.
JR: No, that’s not true.
WS: Initially they printed that not black & white but black and orange.
JR: Right. It’s the one with the fox.
WS: Yeah, the one with the fox and the weasel. The golden eggs and the weasel killing the goose.
JR: Yeah, wasn’t that a satire towards Mickie.
WS: Mickie Most. Yeah, the weasel was Mickie Most. For me, he was the guy who killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. He didn’t really, in my opinion, he didn’t really understand the Yardbirds and their appeal. He kept trying to turn them into a Herman’s Hermits type of pop band when if he’d let them have their own head and maybe actually attended any of their concerts he would have seen that their music was completely different and that they should have gone in that direction, the way Led Zeppelin did.
WS: In fact, I think that Led Zeppelin was born out of Jimmy’s frustration with Mickie Most because he was with the Yardbirds when Mickie was producing. Boy, you would hear those records and it just didn’t reflect what they were like live at all.
JR: Have you seen them live?
WS: Yeah, I saw the very last show they ever did. It was here in L.A. at the Shrine Exhibition Hall, 1968. The opening band was Sons of Champion. The act after that was B.B. King and then the Yardbirds. I got to go back stage and meet the Yardbirds. And Jimmy, that’s where he told me that the band was breaking up. That was their last show. I was like devastated because they were my favourite band. And I said, “Well, what’s going to happen?” He said, “Well, me and Chris will form the New Yardbirds. Jim and Keith will form their own group.” The New Yardbirds is what became Led Zeppelin.
JR: …You caricatured yourself as the sexy long haired satyr on “All Meat Music”?
WS: I think I was either a devil or a satyr with the little horns and the goat legs.
JR: Satyr. What made you put yourself in on the cover?
WS: I didn’t think I would be doing any other covers. It was just a one-off thing. I had caricatures of all of the Stones. And I had one more panel to go with the information. You know, when it was recorded and all that stuff. I just put myself in (smiles).
JR: Some of your covers were influenced by other artists and you used some of their style on your covers like with the Rolling Stones “Welcome To New York”.
WS: Oh, absolutely. That was influenced by Robert Steadman who was the artist who illustrated Hunter S. Thompson stories. It was fun for me because I was only being paid $50 bucks a cover they couldn’t dictate what I had to do so it was all up to me.
… I was free to work in whatever style I wanted. I used it as a way to experiment with different kinds of styles to see if they fit me or see if I could pull them off. I thought the Steadman style was pretty good for the Stones because it was sort of a nasty loose gritty style and their music is sort of real urban and gritty. I thought it was ideal. I haven’t seen too many Steadman caricatures …
JR: … The original two partners of TMOQ had split before you came along. Were you aware of the break up before hand?
WS: It was Ken and Dub. I didn’t meet them at that time. Ken had already left and Dub had partnered with another guy. And those were the two guys that I dealt with the entire time for those two or three years I was doing stuff for Trade Mark.
JR: Are you aware that Ken nicked your smoking pig from the “All Meat Music” cover?
WS: He did that? I always thought it was a woman. I remember seeing the Smoking Pig around but I never knew who was behind it.
JR: Well, it’s all in the History of Bootlegs book. Ken used your pig as the logo for his own version of TMOQ-2. Most of the time he would just re-release any new album that Dub would put out because the owner of the record plant they were both using would just use the same mothers to make the albums.
WS: That’s right because by the time I was involved they already had a substantial catalogue of bootleg releases. I don’t even know if I ever met Ken. I always heard him referred to. I may have but I don’t recall.
JR: Were you ever asked by other bootleggers to do any covers for them?
WS: You know, a lot of people asked me to do covers but I never wanted to it for anyone else but for TMOQ.
WS: Because they seemed to be more honest than the other guys. The other guys seemed sleazier when they would approach me.
JR: In what way?
WS: Instead of being upfront and offering me like a regular business deal like a client offers me an illustration job, they were real secretive about it. They didn’t want Dub or his partner to know and stuff. And I said “hey, you know, my life is an open book I’m not going to do stuff behind their backs. They’re friends of mine.”
JR: Who approached you? Rubber Dubber?
WS: There were three guys and one woman who ratted everyone out.
JR: Yeah, Vicky Vinyl.
WS: (laughs) Yeah.
JR: But she got busted herself.
WS: That’s why she ratted on everybody else.
JR: But she had to pay fine.
WS: Yeah but she didn’t have to go to prison or jail.
JR: Yeah, but no one did.
WS: That was the threat…. but they still didn’t pass strong laws that prevented bootlegs from being made and sold.
JR: Bootlegs are still being made even today.
WS: Yeah … Buy them on CD. You don’t have to worry about the record getting scratched.
JR: Well, now people are wanting actual records but they are finding it hard to distinguish between a genuine 1st pressing boot from a counterfeit of a counterfeit. You have to look on the dead wax and see if the numbers are correct.
WS: That’s why I like CDs. The 5th pressing of the CD sounds the same as the first.
JR: Yeah, but you want that historical record in the original 1st pressing; especially if you’re a beginning collector.
WS: I love how now the packaging has gotten more sophisticated … Nice box sets with books and everything. I still got – even though I am not that big of a Dylan fan – I still have that huge record set of “Ten Of Swords”  … I was tipped to that early on. Dub and his partner said man this is really going to be a real collector’s item. And a friend from Seattle called and said if I could get one for him … And, when I saw it, wow! I said, “damn this is incredible I need to take one for myself. So, I did. It was like ten albums.
JR: Gee, what would it be worth now? Certainly not a $1000 dollars for the box set.
WS: Maybe. I see a lot of TMOQ’s going for $200.
JR: (disbelief) No.
WS: The original pressings, yeah. I’ve been offered that for the ones I’ve got.
… I have at least one of everything. I tried to keep multiples … I know that I always had TMQ 1st pressings ’cause they’d bring me a whole box of them.
JR: You still have those boxes?
WS: I sold a lot of them. A guy in England bought a whole bunch.
… This was in ’92 and ’93. This guy, Ross Helfin. He’s the official photographer for Jimmy Page. He’s a gigantic bootleg collector. He was the guy who put together the “How The West Was Won” sets. They all came from his bootlegs.
JR: Oh wow.
WS: And Ross was buying as many of the original covers themselves as he could. He would come visit me, usually on his way back from Japan. I would meet him over at the Sunset Marquee. And he would have two stacks of bootleg CDs that he bought form Japan. He said that there was one shop he’d go into and they’d hand him a catalogue of what they had and it was the size of a phone book. And he would buy hundreds of boots.
… I mean, they did a beautiful duplicated set of everything I did but on CD. Just gorgeous production.
JR: And you never tried suing them?
WS: Well, how am I going sue? They’re in Japan!
JR: So, do you have “Tales From The Who”?
WS: Oh, yeah. That’s the rarest one.
JR: There were only 120 copies that got out.
WS: And they (Dub and his partner) destroyed the rest. Initially, they only gave me twenty when it came out. Oh, this is cool and I immediately gave them away to my family and friends. And I went to go get some more and they said we don’t have anymore. I said, “what do you mean you don’t have any more? You just pressed it. They said, “We had to destroy them all. The FBI– we heard were coming after us.” So, I had to go to Record Paradise and buy them from the shop to get my copies!
JR: So now how much would you sell them for?
WS: Oh, I am not going to sell them.
JR: Well, you know, you can’t take it with you (laughs).
WS: As long as I’m here I got them (laughs).
JR: Yeah but what’s going to happen afterwards?
WS: My kids could sell them.
WS: Yes, except that the animals were all members of The Who. I made each one a different animal. I made Roger Daltrey a lion –
JR: Because of the hair?
WS: Yeah, lion because of the hair. John Entwistle’s nickname was the Ox and so I made him an ox. Keith was a gorilla for his wild personality and drumming. Peter was a camel.
JR: Because he looked like a camel.
WS: (laughs) Yeah, and that was a double album. It contained a lot of Who rarities. Rare B-sides and European stuff.
JR: Some of the titles stemmed from the collection of Greg Shaw.
WS: Yeah, Greg Shaw loaned us some of his collection to make that. And I remember when it came out, I had brought a couple of copies to give to Greg, he just started laughing and jumping up and down. He said, “This is just like a real album! This is great!” He was so excited. And then John Entwistle saw it and realized wow they had so many unreleased songs and so they put out “Odds & Sods” a legitimate version. And he contacted me to ask if they could use one of my Who bootleg cover [“Radio London”] as the picture image of a CD!
JR: Rhino records released “Beatle Songs” but the original cover was withdrawn because of your caricature of Mark David Chaplin.
WS: That’s the one that got me into a lot of trouble. Okay, I did the original Rocky Rhino logo for Rhino Records’ very first single. And so I’ve had a long history with Rhino and when they approached me … and said we are putting out an album called “Beatle Songs” and it’s not songs by the Beatles but about the Beatles … So, they said we would like for you to do the cover and I said great. And I thought okay, what can I do for a cover that would suggest something that’s for fans still Beatles related. I know I’ll draw a cross section of fans at a Beatles Mania convention. And so that’s what I did. (pointing at the record cover) Like the guy who won the Beatle Ringo look-a-contest, the little preteen girl who’s a too young to be a Beatles fan (she’s like a neo-hippie), a real beetle, a dealer selling Beatle babies, and I thought well it wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include the guy who actually collected one of the Beatles – the ultimate Beatles fan, Mark David Chaplin with the Nowhere Man behind him because he’s the ultimate Nowhere Man. And with John’s glasses on the floor, and the Catcher in the Rye down there. So, it was just like black humour. Well, the album came out and there was a gigantic uproar because people were so pissed off that that guy was on the cover. Record stores started to return unopened boxes. Rhino tried to package it in a plain brown wrapper. They got death threats. I got death threats. It ended up on the front of the L.A. Times. People Magazine did a thing on it. My point was to show fan, which is short for fanatic, can get out of hand and it got way out of hand with Mark David Chaplin to the point where he actually took the life of a musician that I truly treasure and revere. And so I see it as a sort of warning to fans, like enjoy the music but don’t take it that seriously. You know, curb your obsessions somewhat. Well, none of that stuff worked and eventually they had to put it out with a different cover entirely. But now it’s a real collector’s item. I’ll sell them for $200 bucks each.
JR: You can sign my copy afterwards. If you want.
WS: Oh, sure. I don’t know if this is true or not but I heard that Yoko Ono saw a copy of it and she started laughing. She said John would have loved this. It’s just his kind of sense of humour.
JR: Well he did have that sort of humour.
WS: Oh, he had a dark sense of humour, yeah.
JR: So, how did you meet the guys from Rhino Records?
WS: I’m friends with the guy who started Rhino, gosh, early ’70s maybe. I met Harold Bronson … He was a student. And he was doing music articles for the student newspaper. And so, back then, whenever there was an album release there was a huge party with tons of food and he would invite me along so I could get fed (laughs). And after a while they started cracking down on the images of the bands and would not allow photography during the interviews and Harold would bring me along and I would draw them while he was interviewing them. They thought that was great. They just loved that. And I would do caricatures of the Rock Stars while they would be interviewed. And Harold would run those with his articles.
…So, Harold and Richard were both working at the Rhino Records store and they thought wouldn’t it be funny if we put out our own 45. And [Larry] Wildman Fisher came into the store and they took him to the back of the room and recorded ‘Welcome To Rhino Records’ and another for the B-side. And Harold called me and asked if I could design a logo for Rhino Records. And that 45 sold out and they released Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ but played on kazoos. It was the Temple City Kazoo Orchestra. Dr. Demento got a hold of that and played it on his show and that sold out. Those were the seeds from which Rhino Records grew.
WS: First I did “Golden Eggs” in colour and they printed it in black & white. Later they did a second pressing in colour. Then on the back, I love those Pete Frame rock family trees… Those are amazing. So, I did a simplified version of that on the back of “Golden Eggs” showing what happened to the Yardbirds after they’d broken up … And when they told me that they were doing a colour version I updated that family tree. So, there are two different back covers of those two editions.
JR: “More Golden Eggs” was a second volume of more B-sides yet Keith Relf wasn’t too fond of the songs selected.
SW: …I call it the first semi-legitimate bootleg because I had found out that Keith Relf was living somewhere in the San Fernando Valley in Burbank. We thought hey let’s go over and meet with Keith if he’s up for it and interview him and get his comments while he’s listening to the bootleg record. And he could tell us what was going on with the band at the time, his feelings and stuff like that. And after the record was over we kept interviewing him. And we ended up with a five-page interview which we used as an insert that came with “More Golden Eggs”. And then we took more photographs of Keith at the time and had him sign stuff. So we have the photographs and his signature on the back and in return we paid his rent for the month– That was the first semi-legitimate bootleg!
With cover art by William Stout, the above “official bootlegs” were released by Shout! Factory. Approved by the artists, these albums were intended to provide fans with the best performances and highest quality recordings that had previously been available on bootlegs. Stout did the covers for Todd Rundgren, The Nice, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Iggy Pop.
The original artwork for the Nice album, featuring Azrael, the Angel of Death, (above) was pulled because of the death of Nice drummer Brian Davison.