I’m about to have a nervous breakdown…

BLACK FLAG : Nervous Breakdown
SST Records #SST-001 1978

Side A:
Nervous Breakdown

Side B:
Fix Me
I’ve Had It
Wasted

Test press
Unknown

If anyone out there knows if this even exists please let me know.

1st Press

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A
B: SST 001-B

Recorded in January 1978, 2000 copies were pressed in the beginning of February 1979. This release date has been deduced combining the facts from two sources:
1) Greg Ginn stated in the Outcry Magazine interview on Sep 25, 1980 that Black Flag (then Panic) recorded the EP in January 1978 and that the EP was “released over a year later”… meaning that the record was released after January 1979.
2) Flyer for Black Flag show on Feb 17, 1979 has a mail order advertisement showing the EP was available from SST Records at that time. The flyer was made before the show on Feb 17th and would have been made presumably at least several days before the show. Therefore, The Nervous Breakdown EP would have been released sometime between the end of January 1979 and February 15th, 1979.
All copies of the 1st pressing of Nervous Breakdown distributed prior to the Summer of 1980.

The 1st press is the only version which features the “brick background” around the Raymond Pettibone’s artwork. Covers were printed on a semi-gloss medium weight paper and unlike all the subsequent pressings that were glued into pockets these were folded and packed in the poly bags with a flap that was sealed with a small SST sticker on the back. Unfortunately my copy is missing the seal so I couldn’t scan it but you can see what it looked like here.
The 1st version of the labels is printed on a matt paper. The labels are slightly lighter fuchsia/pink and use the more rounded font aka the “bubble font” that is especially visible when you look at “RECORDS” under the SST logo.

From Hanson’s blog:
Up until now it has often been stated as a “fact” that the 1st pressing of Nervous Breakdown was done in the quantity of 500 copies.
Lending support to the theory that there were only 500 first pressings with the brick wall pattern was when Black Flag bass player, Chuck Dukowski, found a mint, unopened copy of the EP in his desk and listed it on eBay on March 7, 2010. His original auction can be found at Popsike and it states:

My name is Chuck Dukowski. I was the original bassist for Black Flag and an SST Records owner until the end of 1989. I perform on this SUPER RARE and IMPORTANT record. It was recorded in late 1977 at Media Art Studios and came out in 1978 after our name was changed from PANIC to BLACK FLAG and ROBO replaced Brian Migdol on drums. This is an unopened unplayed copy of the first pressing of NERVOUS BREAKDOWN featuring Raymond Pettibon’s pre-bars logo hand lettered Black Flag font. This particular copy of Black Flag’s NERVOUS BREAKDOWN is unopened and still sealed with the little SST logo sticker. It has been stored for all of these years in an envelope in my desk. I stuck it in the envelope back in ’78 after I packed the record in it’s bag with the folded paper insert and sealed it with the SST sticker. I think there were 500 total made. I’ll bet there are no other unopened copies of this record in existence besides it’s mate in my archive.

But the fact is that Chuck wrote the ad over 35 years after the record had originally been pressed and also note that he says “I THINK there were 500 total made”… I need to contact him and ask him directly what he remembers from back then. Until I do, I am more inclined to put more weight on what Greg Ginn said in his interview in 1980 when everything was fresh in his mind.

Greg Ginn’s interview on September 25, 1980 with Outcry Fanzine (Issue #1):

SS (Outcry): …..how many did you sell of your first EP (Nervous Breakdown)?
G (Greg Ginn): Three thousand.
SS (Outcry): How many pressings did you do?
G (Greg Ginn): Two. We’ve sold out the second pressing and we’re going to press some more.”
Some additional quotes from the same interview:
“SS (Outcry): When was your “Nervous Breakdown” EP recorded?
G (Greg Ginn): It was recorded in January ’78 and released over a year later.
SS (Outcry): So how many did you do on the first pressing?
G (Greg Ginn): Two thousand.
SS (Outcry): Did you think you could sell that many?
G: Yeah, we were real cocky. We liked it a lot, you know, and we thought, “Why shouldn’t people like us?” because we would play it and go crazy.

Full interview can be found here.

Because of the haziness of the details surrounding the first pressing I decided to go to the source and met with Greg Ginn on May 18, 2014. I asked him specifically about the first 2,000 copies of the Nervous Breakdown 7″ EP. I asked him if the 1st pressing with the “brick wall pattern” was 2,000 copies and he said that “sounded about right”. When I mentioned that Chuck sold one on eBay in 2010 and he had said in his ad that he believed there were only 500 first pressings, Greg, with a sideways smile, and a nodding of his head said “there wasn’t 500 of that pressing”… and suggested that the number 2,000 was the correct figure. I also spoke directly with Bryan Migdol, the original drummer for Panic/Black Flag and I asked him what he remembered about the release of the record. He told me that he was out of the band around March or April of 1978 and that Robo started soon after so he couldn’t offer me any real insight. Since the 1st pressing sleeve lists “Robo” as the drummer (even though Bryan Migdol actually played on the record), then the record had to have been released after that time. To repeat what was written earlier, Greg Ginn in his Outcry Fanzine interview stated that they recorded the EP in January 1978 and released the record over a year later. A Black Flag flyer for a show on Feb 17, 1979 has a mail order advertisement for the record in the lower right hand corner, meaning that the record was released prior to that time. From my research, there is no documented release date, but these sources reveal strong evidence that prove that the Nervous Breakdown EP was released after January 1979, but prior to February 17th, 1979.

2nd Press

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A
B: SST 001-B

1,000 copies released around the Summer of 1980. Entire pressing was distributed prior to October, 1980.
In most sources the red cover versions are referred to as the 2nd press. SST didn’t keep any records on what, when or how many versions were pressed but a strong case can be made for this light blue version to be the 2nd press.
This version introduces the new cover design. The brick background disappears, the BLACK FLAG logo gets a revamp and the famous “bars” are added. This front cover design will remain pretty much unchanged from now on. The sleeve is cut straight across the top with front and back top edges are just about the same height. Since these were hand folded and glued, the front edge may occasionally be a little lower than the back edge. The artwork on the back of the sleeve is scaled up so that it goes up to the very top. There’s no bar code.
The label design remains the same but the colour is slightly more of a red shade and the paper the labels were printed on is much more shiny/glossy than that of the 1st press.

3rd Press

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A
B: SST 001-B

Unknown quantity pressed after October of 1980, but because its similar rarity to the 2nd Pressing, the quantity is guessed to be 1,000 copies or less. It is thought that all copies were distributed prior to the Summer of 1981.
This release is very similar to the 2nd pressing aside from the fact that the artwork is now red, which is the colour the SST will stick with for close to a decade. The other small difference is the sleeve opening. While in the 2nd press it was cut straight the 3press has it’s openinng curved upwards at the top of the back cover and slightly downwards at the front of the sleeve. There’s no bar code. There have been some copies of the sleeve found that were test presses with other band artwork on them, ie. the front cover is pressed over the Tyme’s “Rock of the 80s” 7” artwork and the back cover has the back cover of the Minutemen’s “Paranoid Time” 7” in green ink.
The labels have the same layout as the previous two pressings but are not as glossy as the ones that came with light blue cover and not as pink as the 1st press. They’re slightly more reddish pink, similar in colour to the 2nd version. My scanner didn’t really pick up on those slight differences but they are apparent.

From this pressing on it is virtually impossible to determine the actual chronology so instead of “pressings” I will rather refer to different “versions”. I base the chronology purely on my poor deduction skills and thorough Hanson’s research from whom I lifed large bits of the pressing information. Cheers mate!

4th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A
B: SST 001-B

Unknown quantity pressed around Summer of 1981.
The vinyl is identical to the previous version. Labels are nearly identical to the 3rd pressing. The cover is printed in red but this time the opening is not curved but square cut in the back. Back cover design is scaled down to fit better. This one and the next, 5th version, are the most common and easiest to find out of all the different red cover versions which leads me to believe that they were pressed in batches of a lot more than a 1000, possibly in the vicinity of 3000 or more. I have watched these on eBay for years and this 4th and the next 5th version pop up rather regularly when compared to any of the earlier versions which are few and far between.

5th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A
B: SST 001-B

Unknown quantity pressed around the year 1982 in quantities probably higher than 2000-3000.
Sleeve is almost exactly the same as that of the previous version aside from the paper it was printed on. It seems to be more yellow-ish but it may be that this particulatr copy aged differently due to the storage conditions. It might be that it is actually different colour paper though. Who knows.
Labels are slightly lighter pink in color than the 3rd and 4th pressings and have about the same matte finish. This is also the first time that the new font appears. Entire label is retyped in what looks like the Arial font. The difference is most noticeable when you look at the word RECORDS under the SST logo.

6th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A
B: SST 001-B

Everything is the same as in the version #5 but this time the paper used for the cover is whiter (again, this could be a different paper or the same paper, differently aged) and the red ink is darker (almost maroon) and kind of sandy. As in you can feel the printed surface under your fingers. This could just as well be the exact same pressing as the 5th with a misprinted cover (more ink got in resulting in the thicker print), or it is an entirely different pressing. The difference is most visible when you look at the floor tiles in the front artwork. the red bits are MUCH darker than in the 5th version.

7th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A L-19417
B: SST 001-B L-19417-X

Unknown quantity pressed in 1984 or 1985 as the matrix runout (L-19417) shows that it was remastered at Greg Lee Processing in the middle or towards the end of 1984. This is the last version with the pink label.
The vinyl / labels look similar to the previous 2 versions but the matrix is now different. The sleeve is very similar to the one used in the 3 press but this time the arching of the top opening is the other was around. It arches up in the front and down in the back of the sleeve.

NOTE FROM CHUCK DUKOWSKI REGARDING COLOURED VINYL VERSIONS

Hanson: Rainbo Records pressed your clear yellow and red vinyl versions of the Nervous Breakdown EP 001. The last time we spoke, you told me that they were pressed in 1990 or 1991. The info in the “Runout” dead wax area of the record has “R-12806 / R-12807” which, per Rainbo Records, would suggest that they were all pressed at the same time in 1989. Yet the Yellow vinyl version has the red sleeve suggesting that it was released before the Red vinyl versions. Was the yellow vinyl version released in 1989 and then the Red vinyl versions were released a year or two later? Or were they ALL released at the same time in 1989 just with different sleeves?
Chuck: Colored Vinyl editions did not happen until 1990, but maybe some of the production work was 1989. It was something we thought would be a good idea to generate traffic between us and our 600 or so direct retail customers and they with their customers. We came out with a series of several colored vinyl editions around that time. We requested random colors from Rainbo so we had no idea what they’d deliver until we got them. They just threw our plates on the machines and ran out the vinyl they had in the press from other people’s runs. The stampers have all of that run out info you are talking about and those only change when they wear out every so often. So any editions of the title in question would have the same information for several years. During that time we also used up odd stock on covers, labels and sleeves. For instance, the red sleeves without the UPC were used for the yellow vinyl version and then the red vinyl versions got the new blue ink sleeve with the UPC. So the colored vinyl editions are real oddballs.

8th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A R-12806 L-19417
B: SST 001-B L-19417-X R-12807

Unknown quantity pressed in 1990. The matrix runout R-12806 shows that it was pressed at Rainbo Records in 1989, but per Chuck Dukowski, the production work was done in 1989, but the actual release didn’t happen until the following year. Because this version has the red sleeve, I have listed it before versions #9 and #10 although technically, they were pressed at the same time.
Sleeve for this one is exactly the same as for the previous version. I would imagine SST had printed extra sleeves during the previous run and used the extra ones for this version.
Labels get a complete overhaul. Color has been changed to blue and the label has been completely redesigned. Sides are now labeled as “Side One” and “Side Two” a sopposed to all the earlier versions being labeled as “Side A” and “Side B”. This is also the first time when the typo showing the song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One as being 2:55 instead of 2:05 appears.
Vinyl is clear yellow and unlike every other pressing up until now it has a small centre hole.

9th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A R-12806 L-19417
B: SST 001-B L-19417-X R-12807

Unknown quantity pressed in 1990. Pressed together with the clear yellow version but because this version has the dark blue ink sleeve, I have listed it after although technically, they were pressed at the same time.
From this version on the sleeve goes back to the blue ink however, unlike in the 2nd pressing, where the ink was lighter blue this one is much darker. Sleeves are printed on white semi-gloss paper. While the front remains unchanges, sans for the colour, the back of the sleeve shows some significant changes. The artwork is smaller, the Bars Logo has been added and the bar code (0 18861-0001-7 6) shows up for the first time. The sleeve is cut, folded and glued in very much the same way as the previous red version.
Labels are the same as in the clear yellow version. Vinyl is pressed on clear red wax. This version comes with the  small centre hole.

10th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A R-12806 L-19417
B: SST 001-B L-19417-X R-12807

Unknown quantity pressed in 1990.  This one as well as the previous two versions was a part of the same batch. Everything, sleeve, labels, colour of the vinyl is identical to the version #9. This one however comes with the large 45 centre hole unlike its twin sister earlier.

11th version

Unknown quantity pressed around the year 1992. Believed to have been pressed at the same time as the 12th version.
Sleeve and labels are identical to the previous 2 versions this time around the vinyl is back to black and it comes with the small centre hole.

12th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A R-12806 L-19417
B: SST 001-B L-19417-X R-12807

Unknown quantity pressed around the year 1992. Highly likely it was pressed at the same time as the 11th version version. Everything is the same aside from the centre hole. This one comes with the large 45 centre hole.

13th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A R-12806 L-19417
B: SST 001-B L-19417-X R-12807

Unknown quantity pressed in 1998. Believed to have been pressed the same time as the 14th version.
Sleeve changes to a thicker matt cardstock with the straight opening and the back edge being slightly higher than the front. Vinyl and labels are the same as in the version #11. This is the small centre hole version.
Interestingly, there is a slight difference in the deadwax runout between this pressing and the previous five versions… in the previous five versions. The R-12806 in the matrix looks like the “0” was actually a very small “6” and then was scratched out in a circular motion giving the appearance of a “0”. In this 12th Version, the small “6” is intact and has not been scratched out.

14th version

Matrix:
A: SST 001-A R-12806 L-19417
B: SST 001-B L-19417-X R-12807

Unknown quantity pressed in 1998. Believed to have been pressed the same time as the 13th version.
It is in every way identical to the previous version aside from the fact that this one, once again, comes with the large 45 centre hole.

15th version

Matrix:
A: 595- SST 001-7 (A) R-12806 DS
B: 595- SST 001-7 (B) R-12807 DS

Unknown quantity pressed in 2007.
Sleeve is exactly the same as the previous several versions. The same goes for the vinyl and labels. It looks like any other small centre hole version a couple of pressings back. There’s a significant change to the matrix though.

16th version

Matrix:
A: 595- SST 001-7 (A) R-12806 DS
B: 595- SST 001-7 (B) R-12807 DS

Unknown quantity pressed in September, 2010.
Sleeve is the same as in the previous pressing. The major change comes with the labels colour changing from blue to white.

17th version

Matrix:
A: 595- SST 001-7 (A) R-12806 DS
B: 595- SST 001-7 (B) R-12807 DS

Unknown quantity pressed in 2011. Believed to be a limited release.
Sleeve is the same as in the several previous versions. Labels are white and vinyl colour this time around is clear blue which nicely matches with the sleeve colour.

10″ VINYL VERSIONS

Test press
Unknown

1st version [TBC]

[  SCAN NEEDED  ]

Matrix:
A: SST 916-A L-38353 Kdisc L S-25413
B: SST 916-B L-38353X Kdisc L S-25414

Unknown quantity pressed around 1991.
Black ink on heavy white card stock sleeve. Raymond Pettibon’s artwork is laid out in the similar fashion to the 90s 7″ pressings. Primary difference is that on reverse the bar logo is missing and names of the band members are listed. The 10″ versions all list the correct drummer as Brian (Bryan) Migdol and not Robo as was incorrectly listed on the reverse of the 1st pressing. Comes with the 0 18861-0916-1 7 barcode.
This one comes with white labels with blue ink. Song length of Nervous Breakdown on Side One is listed as 2:04 and not 2:05 as is found on the original early 7″ releases of this record.
Pressed on black vinyl.

2nd version

Matrix:
A: SST 916-A L-38353 Kdisc L S-25413
B: SST 916-B L-38353X Kdisc L S-25414

Release: 1,000 copies pressed around 1991.
Blue ink on lightweight white card stock sleeve. Layout of the cover and labels is identical to the version #1. Vinyl is pessed on a clear blue wax.

3rd version

Matrix:
A: SST 916-A L-38353 Kdisc L S-25413
B: SST 916-B L-38353X Kdisc L S-25414

Release: Unknown quantity pressed around 1994.
Sleeve is nearly identical to the one that came with the blue vinyl version but it seems a bit whiter and less flimsy. Black vinyl.

4th version

Matrix:
A: SST 916-A L-38353 Kdisc L S-25413
B: SST 916-B L-38353X Kdisc L S-25414

Unknown quantity pressed some time in the 2000s.
Thicker cover printed in black. Same layout as in previous pressings. White / blue labels, seem a lot whiter than in the earlier versions. Black vinyl.

 

Please let me know if you have any version that is not listed here so that I can add it to the list. Thanks again to Hanson for doing all the legwork researching this release.