Tuesday, 18 September 2018

USA Trip, Part 9 - RevHQ

For probably about 23 or 24 years now, I have wanted to visit the home of Revelation Records, RevHQ. I’ve been a big fan of pretty much everything that the label has done over it’s history, and it’s no secret that it has been my favourite record label for many years. But as well as put out records and merch by some great bands, they have also been running a successful distribution service for a long time too. This means that there are literally thousands of records and shirts in their warehouse, and for years I have wanted to go visit to check them out. So it’s safe to say that a visit to RevHQ was at the absolute top of my list of places to visit on my trip to the States, although with my phobia of flying it was something that I thought I would never ever do.

Once the return flights to Boston were booked in, giving us three weeks in the States, the next question was exactly when and how we could get over to the west coast to visit Rev. We knew that RevHQ was closed at weekends, so we knew that any potential visit would have to be during the week. I had also spoken to Geoff about coming with us. He’s a bigger Rev nerd than I am, and when I learnt he hadn’t been to RevHQ himself, I figured it would be cool for us to go and nerd out together.

Well, despite leaving some of the final details of the trip until not too long before we left, everything worked out great, and we scheduled in a trip to RevHQ for Monday 30 July.

Getting up that morning was slightly surreal. We got up and went out for breakfast, but all the while all I could think was ‘holy shit, I’m going to RevHQ today!’. It was probably a similar feeling to that which most kids experience when they wake up on Christmas day. With hindsight, the funniest thing I said all morning was ‘I reckon we’ll be there for a maximum of two hours’. But more on that later…

After a short drive, suddenly we were at The Donuttery. My iphone tells me that we were there at 10:12. This is (as the name suggests) a donut emporium just down the road from RevHQ. We had it on good authority that the Rev staff like donuts from this place, so we made sure to stop by and pick them up some treats on the way over. If nothing else, we were hoping that it would generate a smile from the staff, and make the job of hosting a pair of record nerds on a Monday morning slightly more bearable.

I have never seen a donut selection like this in my life. On any other day, I probably could have spent half an hour choosing 'nuts, and would happily have done so if we didn't have a a warehouse full of records to look through. So we grabbed a decent selection and got back on the road.

The best is that when I went to take this photo, the lady on the counter smiled. She was rad, and clearly proud to be in control of handing out 4000 donuts a day.

Five minutes later we pulled up outside our destination.

After a few minutes of introductions we were thrown straight into the official tour. I was snapping photos at every turn, so I'm just going to throw a few up here...

We started in the mailroom. This desk is where your mailorder gets boxed up.

There was stuff all over the walls. Lots of cool and amusing stuff, and far too much to take in. There were quite a few broken records in various locations. Here's a row that adorned the mailroom - from left to right are records by Shades Apart, Reggie And The Full Effect, Shift, Floorpunch and Judge:

Through the door of the mailroom we found ourselves in the warehouse. This was the view that greeted us:

The warehouse then basically splits into two sections - the Rev records and merch, and the distro.

The Rev releases were really neatly organised, with all the records stored in the boxes as received from the pressing plant. Here's a pic of me checking out the boxes:

And here are some photos of some of the boxes on the shelves, starting with some Sensefield 'Killed For Less' LPs:

This next pic shows a box of Judge LPs, two boxes of Shelter 'Perfection of Desire' on the newly pressed solid orange vinyl, and a box of Into Another LPs:

And on a pallet on the floor, a few boxes of Gorilla Biscuits 'Start Today' LPs:

I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of new colours of a couple of Rev releases, coincidentally both on green vinyl.

Here are some other pics I took of the warehouse...

There was a large section of tapes. I still can't believe that anyone is buying tapes in this day and age.

And the same goes for CDs. Seriously, who is buying these things in 2018?

There was also a small rack of pins / badges:

And I also spotted some rolls of the various color vinyl stickers:

I had intended to pick up a couple of shirts when I was there, but I got swept up in the excitement and completely forgot to even look at them. All I got was this one photo showing how they are stored:

The next couple of pics are of some of the distro items. First, the wall of 7"s:

And one of the shelves of distro LPs:

Believe it or not, in all the time that we were there, I didn't actually have time to look through the distro stock. The only new release I could remember wanting that I knew would be in stock was the brand new Precious LP, 'Sick Rooms'. You can actually see it in the picture above on the far right.

This had only just come out a week or two before I was at Rev, and I have been looking forward to it for a couple of months. Their last record was one of my favourites of last year, so I just had to have this new LP. I was so excited to grab it, in fact, that I just picked up a copy from Rev's warehouse without even checking that it was on the color vinyl. What an amateur. But thankfully I got lucky and it was the limited red vinyl.

Since I got home I have spun this a lot, and it is pretty much everything I hoped it would be. Definitely a contender for record of the year.

The only other thing I grabbed from the distro was the last pressing of the Up Front LP. It probably sounds dumb, but I mainly wanted this because it is pressed on 'test press green'. I don't think I've ever seen any other record pressed on this colour, aside from the obvious three.

And I also picked up a copy of the Freewill demo 7". I met Igby and it reminded me that I was missing this record. Shame there weren't any red copies, but hopefully I'll get one at a later date.

So that was that. We saw the warehouse and we picked up some stuff. But the best bit of the day was the afternoon, when we were allowed to see inside The Vault...

The Vault is a legendary place that most mere mortals can only dream of seeing. When we arranged the trip, we had a vague hope that we may be allowed to see inside the vault. We had a fantasy that we may be allowed to step inside. But we could never had dreamed that we would be allowed to go inside and look through stuff unsupervised. But that's what happened. For some reason, Jordan had decided that he could trust us, opened the vault and left us to look through whatever was inside. I don't really know what we did to deserve such special treatment, but I'll be forever grateful. Here's a photo of me nerding out inside 'The Vault':

I'm not going to post any photos of anything from inside out of respect. But it was mind blowing. I saw records I could only ever dream of owning, and a coupe of things I didn't even know existed. I held things that I have been trying to find for years. I even got to hold the Warzone 7" with lion attacking a horse sleeve, so I can genuinely say that I know what it looks like. So cool. And yet, at the same time, going into the vault somehow put me on a downer for about a month afterwards. I've thought about it a lot and tried to understand why. The only way I can explain it would be to say this:

Imagine you are allowed to go into a magic room containing everything you have ever wanted and could ever want. You're allowed to touch everything, pick it up, pretend it's yours, and take photos of it. But at the end of the day, you have to put it back in a box behind a locked door and leave. You can't take any of it home.

Technically, in such a scenario, you'd be no worse off at the end of the day than you were before you went in. Only, somehow, seeing what is in there makes you realise how much harder it will be to ever find any of the stuff for yourself, and makes you feel that yo'll never get it and you are completely inadequate. And that ultimately, it's all pointless. And that's pretty much exactly how I felt for about a month after the visit.

So with feelings of inadequacy setting in, and after really starting to feel that we were getting in the way, we all went outside for a group photo:

I think we eventually left RevHQ at about 16:30, approximately 6 hours after we had first arrived, which made my comment from breakfast ('I reckon we’ll be there for a maximum of two hours') seem pretty funny. For the rest of the day Geoff and I were repeatedly asking each other 'did you see blah?', to which the answer seemed to be mainly 'no'... which made us realise that nether of us were properly paying attention and that we had both missed a shitload of cool stuff. Oops!

About a month after I got home and eventually recovered from my jet lag (yup, it's a real thing - who knew?), I was able to properly appreciate just how lucky I was to experience such a day. Despite leaving feeling like a record collecting amateur, the day far exceeded my expectations. I just hope that one day I can go back and see some of the stuff that I missed because I was too excited to take it all in...


Nico said...

THE update I was waiting for. Must have been so awesome to have experienced this. Thanks for sharing.

geoff said...

its funny, i was there yet reading this was like i wasnt experiencing it for myself. that was a legendary day in the history of record nerdery. thank you marcus for making that all happen.

still cant believe we held that error pressing of gorilla biscuits 7" on blood red vinyl!

viquesimba said...

loved this! : )

Mike said...

Donuts AND RevHQ!!?? Dude. Please take me on your next vacation.