WARNING: Beware Bootleg Vinyl Copies of Dead Man
by Neil Young
(Click photo to enlarge)
It's been called "the best movie of the end of the 20th century."
A word of warning to Neil Young vinyl fans on the Dead Man film soundtrack ...
My name is Josh and I'm a 19 year old student and Neil Young and vinyl obsessive. Over the last couple of years I have been trying to build up a collection of all of Neil's work available on vinyl although I am still short of some of the more expensive items such as Dead Man, Greendale and of course a copy of The Squires' 7 inch which I feel will always be out of my reach!
Anyway, I recently found a copy of Dead Man on vinyl for a bargain price of £60, still a lot of money for a student like me though. I scraped up enough to buy it and it duly arrived a few days later via Amazon. I opened it up, only one insert, strange I thought, then I pulled out one of the LPs and my heart sank. No matrix number!! I felt physically sick once I realised what had happened.
I went online and found a thread dated a week previously on the Steve Hoffman forums which mentioned there are now bootleg vinyl pressings of Dead Man circulating. Sure enough I went on eBay and these things are going for as much as £150!!! A friend of mine, same age as me and also into vinyl (and Neil Young!) saw a copy on a market stall in his town for £15, needless to say he did not buy it. When I first opened my copy I was over the moon, once I found out about it it became a worthless piece of junk.
I have sent information about these pressings to Vapor Records but they have yet to reply, Amazon don't seem interested in the sale of illegal goods (hence why they themselves market the Live in Chicago and Live in San Francisco LPs) but a warning needs to be issued to other fans, I don't want other people getting tricked like me.
The giveaways are:
No matrix numbers on either of the vinyl discs
Only ONE insert, the picture of the boat, the picture of Johnny Depp is not present. I also believe the original LP had the picture inserts as inner sleeves, whereas this bootleg has plain white polylined inner sleeves and the picture is just an insert.
I have done some further research and it appears there are two original pressings. A US one which has a matte cover with 'aged' brown writing, and a German one with a gloss cover and white writing. The bootleg copies the German sleeve (glossy with white writing). It seems these bootlegs have spread west from Germany from what I have read on the Steve Hoffman forums, and it is where my copy came from.
So if anyone sees a Dead Man that's a 'bargain' then steer clear until matrix numbers are known (due to no contact from Vapor Records I do not know what is meant to be written in the dead wax), or the number of inserts.
Thankfully I was able to get my money back, although once more I have no copy of Dead Man on vinyl, and to be honest I am now so worried about buying a copy for fear of getting another bootleg. One UK based eBay seller has sold three copies recently, all for at least £140.
There are also bootlegs of On The Beach and the Eldorado EP circulating.
I sincerely hope Vapor Records can take legal action, that fans will know how to avoid these bootlegs and that maybe one day I can get a genuine copy.
Keep up the great work at Thrasher's Wheat, it's wonderful having daily updates of NY news sent straight to me!!
Many thanks for taking the time to read this.
Thanks Josh. What a bummer. Bootlegs of unofficial recordings are one thing, but bootlegs of official recordings are really shameful.
Hopefully, your warning will save others the grief.
Thanks for taking the time to share.
ps - Also, see more on "the best movie of the end of the 20th century" at Dead Man Film soundtrack and Film Director Jim Jarmusch & Neil Young.
Also, preview soundtrack clips here.