Ever since that first post here in the physical media blog I've been mulling over what would best suit the inaugural media spotlight. I thought maybe I'd just do some random record in my collection or one of the cool first pressing singles I have, but that didn’t feel like it was cool enough. (I mean it's cool don’t get me wrong but not cool enough to launch this whole media spotlight thingy) Finally though it hit me, I should cover the very special Hella cd I own. Now I don’t want this post to come off as just facts, this cd is very hard to come by and I'd imagine the only people with the legit nitty gritty info would be Spencer and Zach. So going forward unless I'm directly referencing the music or the physical object nothing is concrete.

From what I've been told the cd was a demo disc. The story I was given is as follows, fair warning its been a while since i’ve heard the story and I am not only going only off my own loose memories but the original owners as well. During a trip to Sacramento the original owner paid a visit to a local record shop he had heard about. After spending some time speaking to one of the clerks he was offered a demo disc, the disc featured music from the clerks boyfriend’s band. Obviously intrigued, he accepted the disc. (I have no clue if he had heard it prior to taking it, was just given it, or paid for it. I found a youtube comment where one owner claims he paid for it so maybe the original owner of this one bought it, idk) The disc he received was Leather Diamond. He was not a local to the area, did not personally know either of the main members and following this interaction I have no clue if he ever had another interaction with them. I don’t know much else in regards to how it got to that point, why it was given to the guy or what exactly caused all the physical damage mine has. All I know is he got it from I believe Spencer Seim’s girlfriend at the time. Back in 2020 he seemed to be offloading his personal Hella collection and this was one of the items. He had listed it on ebay for auction alongside 2 Hella Records. This is where I come into the picture.

One day on my regular ebay browsing I decided I’d check if there had been any exmilitary listings. As usual there was nothing, except this time I found a very interesting listing.”HELLA PRE HOLD YOUR HORSE IS LEATHER DIAMOND DEMO CD ZACH HILL DEATH GRIPS RARE” Immediately I grew very excited, I had previously heard of Leather Diamond but I did not know there was an actual CD of this anywhere. From the listing it appeared to be 100% genuine and I just knew I had to have it. I find it silly sometimes to spend so much on one piece of physical media (this disc cost me about $130 which easily could've been like 10-20 cd’s at normal prices) but this one really struck me as special. Not only was there very little information on the piece online but it seemed to be basically impossible to find. I'm not saying Exmilitary CD hard to find, where it obviously exists it's just hard to come by, I'm talking there's only proof of about 3 existing on the entire internet. There are definitely more out there but this was I believe the only one to ever be resold online. I had to have a piece of this band's history. Hella is and probably always will be one of my favorite bands. I knew just being able to hold and play this thing would absolutely overload my little mind. Let me tell you, the hype was definitely delivered. It has been almost 2 years since I bought the CD and I still feel great excitement and happiness just listening to the wonderful thing play. The EP itself is great, I really like the 3rd track and the whole thing is really cool not even just from the archival standpoint but from the musical appreciation pov too. But yeah that is where the cd resides now, in my personal collection and I hope it will stay there for as long as possible haha.

Now that I have cleared up the story of how the original owner got the cd, how I then got it and everything in between I think it's important to talk about the actual CD and its super cool dust cover. The cd is a golden CD-R, the front is completely blank except for the words “HELLA” and the email “HELLADUDES@HOTMAIL.COM” in black sharpie. Its dust cover is a piece of Kodak Ektacolor Portra III folded in half horizontally. The corner of the envelope is then folded again on both the top and bottom to create a diagonal line. On the front of the paper sleeve there are two stickers, they appear to be similar to mailbox number stickers but they oddly enough have a background color. My copy only has two of these stickers (two brown 77’s) but the few pictures I can find of others online seem to feature multiple different colored stickers. The back of the sleeve has yellow circles and blurry strokes. These appear to be paint and I believe the method in which they were applied was by placing a cup or bottle of some sort into the paint then dragging it along the back to create the desired pattern. This paint runs over into the folded corner which suggests that while being made the painting was done prior to the folding. Holding it all together is two staples. One on the very bottom center and one on the right side right below the end of the diagonal fold. My personal copy is a bit dirty and has its fair share of wear here and there so I thought I would give both a general run down of its design and pictures too. You can find the images below.

Not only is my envelope a bit beaten up but so is the cd itself, the writing seems to be pretty decently intact and the cd reads fine in general but there are entire chunks of the gold missing from the disc. Up until recently the disc would produce reading errors halfway through track 3 but as of today I have been able to solve that issue somewhat. The disc still produces read errors at that section but I was able to pull all 3 songs from the disc using Exact Audio Copy. I will have an audio player with all 3 tracks and a download at the bottom. I am very happy to finally have these .wav files as now I can listen to the entire thing through. I can also share the whole album with you!!

I really don’t know the full story on this disc and I doubt I ever will, but I think we can make some general assumptions. There is a Zach Hill archive which lists the cd as being a “self-released CD-R” and I think that's really the most we will know about it. No clue if this was just an early album of the bands they distributed through local channels or if this was in fact some demo disc. From the story I was told it could honestly be either, kinda more fun not knowing exactly. I mean its more than likely just a demo disc based on how these songs were later released in a more "complete" form but its still interesting to not know the exact reasoning behind this release. I hope you can find as much enjoyment in the music as I do and I'm happy I can archive it here.

republic of rough and ready

biblical violence

city folk sitting sitting

front cover back cover

cd itself