One of the earliest Los Angeles punk singles was the first release for both the Germs, and Chris Ashford’s What Records – The Germs – Forming 7″. It came out way back in 1977 and has enjoyed more than its share of variations over the years that it has been in and out of print on various labels. So let’s get down to business shall we?
The first pressing was on What Records and came in a picture sleeve. The sleeve was the glued variety, and it also had a lyric sheet. Early copies had mono listed on the label and on the back it said you can send one dollar for additional copies of the record, later ones (like mine) didn’t. The b-side has a plain black label on it and features the song, “Sex Boy” recorded live.
The back of the sleeve looks like this.
Eventually there was a second pressing on what records that changed the labels to being yellow, and on both sides with proper song information, and it did not come with a picture sleeve.
After being out of print for nearly a decade, in 1990 Chris Ashford started a new label, Iloki Records, and starting reissuing a few old What releases, along with various new things like the Skull Control EP and a Penelope Houston record. This single was reissued with a brand new picture sleeve that was hand numbered out of 1000 on the back, and came on clear vinyl.
On the back sleeve you can see the numbering, and also the review of the single written by Kickboy Face (Claude Bessey) for Slash Magazine is printed on the sleeve.
At this time, the record was also licensed (along with the first Dils 7″) to Gift of Life Records in Germany. The record was pressed on blue vinyl. It came in a sleeve that looked just like the original pressing except for the band name was stamped on the front of this very thin sleeve…
and on the back there was the new label information.
It then went out of print for many years until Alive/Total Energy Records licensed it and reissued it with the original artwork and on red vinyl. This label is a subsidiary of Bomp Records.
A few years later, Alive/Total Energy reissued it again, this time on pink vinyl and the picture sleeve has a moire pattern in the photograph. Perhaps they lost their original films and reprinted it using an already printed sleeve as the source of their negatives, and didn’t bother trying to de-halftone the photo, resulting in the shitty appearance of this one.
The back of both Alive/Total Energy pressings look like this.
So there you have it, the many flavors of the first Germs single, more than enough to keep a completest busy!