Numero Group: By The Numbers

THE DeVOLUTION of the Boddie Recording Co.

Two summers ago, when we first cracked open the tomb of the Boddie Recording Co., among the most curious artifacts to turn up were two acetates by a little Akron, Ohio, group by the name of Devo. No copies of the actual 45 were on the premises, and despite the mountains of surviving paper, no documentation on its pressing existed either. At the time, we found the whole thing curious—but it wasn’t so unlikely that a few weirdos working 30 miles from Cleveland would choose the region’s cheapest pressing plant for the making of their record.

Over the last week, during our clean-up work on the complete Boddie pressing discography—slated for inclusion in our upcoming Pressed At Boddie title—a handful of anomalies have cropped up, including the catalog number that appears on those acetates: P-7818. Boddie assigned three different records this number:

P-7818   Devo “Satisfaction/Jocko Homo ” 1978 Pinhead

B-7818   The Goslel Ensembles [sic] “What You Need/ The Book Of Life” 1978 Bounty

C-7818   Jorge Santaella “De Silucion/ A La Patria Mia” 1978 Caribi

While at the Boddie plant, we stumbled across a red binder that listed, by matrix number, 85% of the records that were pressed either at Boddie, or via the Boddies at Rite in Cincinnati. Listed at 7818, with almost no other supporting info, was the name Tim Gibdiens. So who is Tim Gibdiens? We have no idea, but we can tell you that both the Bounty and Caribi labels were owned by the Boddies. In a document that so carefully recounts the history of Bounty, Caribi, and a host of other Boddie-owned labels, why were records by Devo, The Goslel [sic] Ensembles, and Jorge Santaella left neglected at 7818?

We sent a letter to Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh (reply still pending), and then let the internets do its darndest. One site listed a Devo record on Pinhead under catalog number P-7818. A little more searching led us to Michael Pilmer’s A few clicks in, we found an entry for the Saturday Night Devo 45….:

….which had this fascinating story attached to it:

I came upon your website while trying to find a photo image of the bootleg 45 “Devo Live on Saturday Night Live. I can’t locate you a copy of the record, as I don’t even have a copy myself. But I can give you some background on it – actually, you’ll be the first, besides myself, to know its origins.

Back in ’78 I was working for Bomp! Records in North Hollywood, CA. We were the first, and best known Punk / New Wave record label, distribution company, record store, and rock magazine in the states. We handled distribution for a lot of early unsigned bands who put out their own records (B52s, Romantics, Weirdos, Shoes, 20/20, Devo, etc.).

The scene was still very underground, and a lot of local collectors and fanzine people were putting out unauthorized product. I was dealing in rare records at the Hollywood swap meet, in the Capitol Records parking lot, and could see what kind of money was being made by these guys.

I figured whoever came first with a recording of the Devo SNL performance, stood to make a good profit. I recorded the performance on a home cassette machine, and the next day contacted a record industry friend of mine, who brought my tape to a record mastering plant in LA that his label used. Our goal was to get it pressed in time for the Capitol Records swap meet in November, a mere fourteen days after the SNL broadcast. The information for the labels was sent to the printer, and the record plant made a “mother” for the recording, from which vinyl copies were made. 

A couple days before the swap meet, the pressing plant was able to give us a quick run of one hundred copies. The labels hadn’t arrived there yet, so if memory serves me right, the record has only a blank label on it. I took a promo picture used for Devo’s picture sleeve “Satisfaction” (we had tons of them at the Bomp! offices), and threw the graphics together. It looked cheesy, but then so did everything else in the world of 1977-78 punk / new wave. We ran the artwork off on a xerox machine, and glued the copies to the record sleeves by hand.

I brought them down to the Capitol Records meet, and all 100 copies sold within an hour at $5.00 a pop (in 1978 dollars!). The following week, my buddy told me the pressing plant had contacted him. The labels had arrived at the pressing plant, and somebody there realized they had been pressing Devo bootlegs. The “fan club” reference was used on the labels, and the sleeve, to throw them off, but I guess they saw right through it. They destroyed the mother recording, and refused to press any more records, and we were very fortunate they didn’t get nasty about it, and turn us in. But that’s the kind of dumb stuff we did back then, and that’s the story behind the Devo Live on SNL bootleg.

Of course the record they’re speaking of is the other bootleg of this SNL performance, which looks like this:

Discouraging… until we got to the bottom of the page and discovered one last link, to this image—the label of the original SNL bootleg:

One look at the middle-left portion of the label, and our mystery was solved: P-7818 exists! The only part that remains mysterious is why the Boddies, who seemed to have kept records on almost everything, had ZERO information on this illicit title. Tim Gibdiens, whoever you are—and if you’re out there—we’d love to hear from you.

1 Comment so far
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Glad my site was useful in helping you track down the existence of that DEVO record! If you ever find out more info about it, or copies of it…please let me know! I’m still looking for that elusive record. Thanks…!

Comment by Michael Pilmer/Devo-Obsesso

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