COME AS YOU ARE - spain 7" test pressing

country spain
type test pressing
media 7"
label made for geffen/rca
code GES 19065 (this code was later used for the commercially released 7")
matrix handwritten side a GES 19065 A1 side b GES 19065 B1
tracks come as you are /drain you (live)
pictures record
notes test pressing for a rejected 7"single.
come as you are was later commercially released with a different b-side (endless, nameless).
plain paper sleeve, white labels, thick vinyl.

info from the seller, opera-mania (march 2006):

This single is from a friend's collection, he worked at the spanish pressing plant at that time, they pressed 10 and sent them to the record label, all copies were returned and marked to be destroyed.
He kept one of this singles for his own collection and the rest were destroyed, so this is the only copy left.
I'm sure about its authenticity, as I saw the item in the Iberofon vaults in 1995. Iberofon (the pressing plant) also made the master plates to press singles and albums in other spanish pressing plants, and he was the responsible of the first steps in production.

I know the spanish pressings of Nirvana used to have a matrix number stamped and not handwritten, I've also had the same experience with testpressings from Epic (from bands like Pearl Jam) and they also had the same kind of matrix handwritten. I asked my friend at Iberofon (Spanish pressing plant), he is (was) the owner of this record, and he said it was because of the Direct Metal Mastering Machine, they cut a mother in metal, and etched the reference manually on the mother, only after the first testpressing singles were accepted they grab the final matrix numbers, (or phrases) that was their way of press the singles here, in fact these testpressings are thicker than the final record. I always check this kind of rarities, although this time was not necessary because of the highly reliable source, and because this testpressing was kept with the original reel tape (only the A-side reel tape) with the same reference numbers. The tape comes with technical information for the engineering, and a sheet with full details for the testpressings and a possible later production.

info from the previous owner:

Q: The matrix is handwritten and not machine printed and you already explained about the reason, but wouldn't it show in the commercial records, or at least show as it have been scratched out? As far as I know the same plates are used for the tests and for the regular pressing

A: The plates used for this single were never used for the final pressing process, when a single is rejected both plates are destroyed, (usually used to make other plates), and there are two kind of testpressings, the ones requested by the record label, wich were never returned to the plant, and the ones the plant used to test the quality. We used DMM machines to cut the metal mother, from each metal mother we had a metal father used to press the vinyl. For quality reasons we only pressed 8000 vinyls with each pair of fathers (EMI pressed 15000, I can say the final 2000 are unusable). The first 5 copies pressed with each father were used to test the quality, and if it was requested, we sent white labels test pressings to the label. If not, these test pressings were pressed with the final labels and distributed to the Iberofon employees for free. If the label requested promo singles with different labels or different songs, or blank b sides, these were pressed as a usual commercial issue...

Q: The record (aspect of the grooves and run-out area) doesn't look at all like the commercial release... looks like it has been pressed with completely different plates

A: This plates were never used for the final press, it was a kind of a listening preview for the label and as all rejected projects, plates were built again

Q: The label hasn't been heat-pressed during the manufacturing, but is adhesive paper attached after the record has been pressed. Also the hole isn't the correct size, so the record can be off center when put on the record player and this is quite strange for a test pressing where the manufacturing quality is essential

A: The Iberofon plant was frequently used as studio, we cut a lot of acetates (I was the Neumann lathe responsible since 1978) just to test the quality of the recordings. For the presentation of the U2's single With Or Without You single they didn't had even the original reels, and a cassette tape was used to cut five 10" acetates, sent to the label.
With all this kind of requests growing every year, we bought a high pressure pressing machine, completely different to the usual medium pressure used for the pressing process.
This machine was a high definition press, to very detailed jobs, and never built to press vinyl at medium temperature, so I had to adjust it, it was better because you get high sound quality, but the process wasn't useful to press thousand of records, just a few. This machine had a metal tube we adjusted to a similar size of a 7", so it was probably not very exact, and as a high definition machine we couldn't add the labels, because they would have been burned in the process. If the record was accepted to a bulk production, the plates fit exactly on the "Toolex Alpha" like machines, and the centre hole was exact, as it was cut in the pressing process of a 7".

this note: "if it was requested, we sent white labels test pressings to the label. If not, these test pressings were pressed with the final labels"
is quite interesting, and would explain why there isn't any surfaced test pressing for most vinyl releases.

many thanks to eugenio (opera-mania) and his friend at iberofon