The Punk Vault

The many flavors of: Husker Du – Metal Circus

Another one of my favorite bands of all time, Husker Du, saw a handful of their earlier records get pressed in a variety colors and even sizes. This time out we’ll take a look at their first record for what became a long time home for them, SST Records.

The first pressing was a 12″ EP and was on black vinyl. Early versions had no barcode, years later a barcode would be added to the back of the cover.
Metal Circus first pressing

Around 1989/1990, SST started doing limited colored vinyl editions of their records, not only that but some 12″ EPs were replaced as 10″ vinyl. This was among them. According to a conversation I had with Chuck Dukowski years ago when he was still working at SST, there was 1000 pressed of any color, and if they sold quickly, they’d run a new color, with a maximum of five different colors. This one went to the maximum with five different colored vinyls…

Pink vinyl,
Metal Circus pink

blue vinyl,
Metal Circus blue

greenish/blue vinyl,
Metal Circus blue green

purple vinyl,
Metal Circus purple

and orange vinyl.
Metal Circus orange

After the color vinyl was done, the record was reissued again as a 12″, and also again on a black vinyl 10″. Currently, you can buy either version direct from SST Records. Why they felt the need to keep both formats in print is a mystery to me, and stranger yet, they charge more for the 10″.


  • I saw something listed on Soulseek as the “original” Metal Circus one time. Do you know what the deal with that is?

  • I always figured that SST sold many releases in so many formats to take advantage of collectors. I recall, at one point, records like “Nervous Breakdown” and “Six Pack” being available as a 7″, 10″, 12″, CS & CD single, not to mention being compiled in 2 different collections (“The First Four Years” and “The Seven Inch Wonders Of The World”). Those two were the biggest offenders, but there were a number of singles and EPs that were issued in a variety of different vinyl formats (7″, 10″, and/or 12″) for no real reason. I think the Flex website refers to the 10″ as “10” rip-off vinyl” or something like that.

  • Bill… the “original” Metal Circus was a boot that included 4(?) additional songs from the Metal Circus sessions that weren’t part of the official release. I think the songs were “Today’s The Day”, “You Think I’m Scared”, “Standing By The Sea” and “Won’t Change”. The sound is rough, at least from the soulseek versions I have. Sounds like a nth generation tape rip

  • Patrick, The 10″s didn’t bother me, i thought they were cool, but when they started doing 12″ of those old 7″ records, with no bonus tracks, that was just assinie and a waste of vinyl. Even I being the sick completist that I am refuse to partake in those 12″s of things like TV Party, etc.

    The collections sort of came out of them doing cassette collections, then CDs, etc. There was a hell of a lot of overlap, but I wonder how much was intentional and how much was just bad planning and goofy ideas. I mean if they wanted to milk people out of some more cash, they would remaster all their CDs (since they sound like crap) and then a lot of people, myself included, would likely buy those discs again.

  • I like the 10″ format (I agree that reissuing a 7″ on a 12″ is a waste of space) but it seems like its considered an “oddball”. You don’t see a lot of labels using it, so maybe that’s why it costs more.

    SST used to nuts with issuing a record, then taking some songs and sticking them on comps, or reissuing the record in different formats and different color vinyl. I recall seeing a CD-3 for some Brian Ritchie release! The only reason I remember that is because its the only CD-3 I’ve ever seen. Nowadays, they don’t do anything at all. I’d love to see those classics remastered with liner notes and all that good stuff, but I think Greg’s burned a ton of bridges, especially with many of SST’s old bands, even those still on the label. Plus, it seems like he has no real interest in doing anything with that label aside from living off of the (ever shrinking) back catalog.


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