Unconfirmed Pennyroyal Tea items

7" test pressing / GFS 71 / UK

Geffen UK planned to press a 7" single of Pennyroyal Tea (GFS 71) with Where Did You Sleep Last Night as the B-side, as seen from the printed sleeves. 12" singles (GFST 71) were also planned. [1] The vinyl singles would have been manufactured by EMI [2][3]. Unfortunately, it seems vinyl discs were never pressed [1][2][3], not even test pressings.

There was a competition in the April 1994 special issue of Kerrang!, where ten lucky readers could win all ten white label 7" test pressings which were to be manufactured. However, Kerrang! never received the test pressings from Geffen, and the magazine apologized to the readers in a later issue of the magazine, asking them to understand the exceptional circumstances [4]. The wording in the competition, which you can read in the images 1-3, makes it seem that the test pressings had not been manufactured at the time of printing the magazine, and most likely never were.

Competition page
1. Competition page

Competition close-up 1
2. Competition close-up 1

Competition close-up 2
3. Competition close-up 2

7" test pressing / Germany

A three-track German 7" test pressing has been rumored to exist according to an old source to the no longer maintained Digital Nirvana discography, but a confirmed legit copy has not surfaced. If they were pressed, they were probably recycled. In fact, a German pressing was most likely not planned at all. After the release of Lithium in 1992, Sonopress stopped manufacturing vinyl [5], and Geffen moved their European mainland vinyl production from Germany to Holland, except for the limited, red Heart-Shaped Box 7". A possible 7" single would have been manufactured in Holland, cut and pressed by the Sony Music plant which started all their matrix codes with "08", and it is more likely that it would only contain one B-side, as the planned British 7" single.

GES X

In 2004, four or five three-track Pennyroyal Tea white label 7" singles surfaced on eBay, all but one from the same seller, but all from Germany. Side A contains Pennyroyal Tea and I Hate Myself And Want To Die, while side B contains Where Did You Sleep Last Night. The labels and sleeves have handwritten titles as shown in images 4, 5, and 6. Those two copies were clearly labeled by the same person.

However, this is definitely not a test pressing for a retail single, because of the matrix codes which are simply "GES X" and "GES XX" on side A and B respectively, shown in image 7. An official test pressing would have had proper matrix codes with a proper catalog number. Most of the catalog numbers for various European releases at this stage were already decided, as seen from the British chromalins and the German CD single. The cut would also have had an internal catalog number from the mastering studio, because regardless of what the record would be used for, this was just another regular job for the mastering studio and pressing plant. Finally, the matrix code font is similar, though slightly different to the font which were used at the most likely location where the single would have been cut; by the Dutch pressing plant mentioned above.

It is also unlikely that they would manufacture stampers just to press a handful of early reference copies for record label executives. There is simply no official use for this item. However, the rarity of the record speaks to its defence. It is not very profitable for a bootleg company to just press a handful of records.

GES X copy 1
4. GES X copy 1

GES X copy 2, side A and B labels
5. GES X copy 2, side A and B labels

GES X copy 2, sleeve detail
6. GES X copy 2, sleeve detail

GES X, side A and B matrix codes
7. GES X, side A and B matrix codes

CD maxi promo / UK

According to an old source to the now defunct Digital Nirvana discography, a UK three-track CD promo was made. This was supposedly mentioned in Goldmine magazine. It is unlikely that they would have made a three-track promo in addition to the existing one-track promo. If such a disc ever existed, it must have been an unprinted sample disc from the retail pressing of the CD single, but the retail pressing was most likely never done. Alternatively, it could have been a small batch of CD-Rs for internal use.

References