REACTORS ~ Meltdown EP (Nuclear Waste 1979)
Additional sources: DRR, band members, Greg McWhorter

Sensing the Social Distortion installment of INE failed to satisfy y'all's insatiable appetite for radioactivity, I decided further exposure was in order. While Three Mile Island may not have delivered on its promise of cheap and easy energy, it sure did wonders for punks with writer's block. Bands calling themselves The Reactors sprung up like bums on a New York City sidewalk, like fistfights at a Texas shitkicker bar, like boredom across the Oklahoma plains. Two thousand five hundred miles away from TMI-2's core, some fallout settled on the Inland Empire and San Bernardino, too, got its own Reactors.


While the 5-song EP has long been scarce, the appearance of "L.A. Sleaze" on 1995's Killed By Death #8½ kicked collector war games into high gear. The record went from seldom seen to virtually vaporized. Luckily, I'd scratched this one off the want list early on and didn't have to face the same heat as my other collecting brethren ... or so I thought.

Band name, song titles, label moniker... radiation sickness indeed!

It wasn't until this summer that I learned my Geiger counter was way off. On a brief stop in Portland, Dr. Abraham King blasted me with a debilitating gamma ray in the form of a rare Reactors picture sleeve variation. While the front of the sleeve was identical, the back had a "cityscape" motif instead of a radiation symbol. Moreover, according to Abe, the "cityscape" sleeve was FIRST. I departed green with my hulkish new burden: find the cityscape sleeve.


A few months later, my nuclear winter thawed thanks to a replacement guitarist. Stored among his records was an expendable Reactors EP complete with the cityscape sleeve. "As for the 2 covers, if I remember correctly what Mike the bassist told me, I think Rob the drummer did one and Dash the singer did one and they printed both up and when one ran out they used the other one. The cover you got was the first one."


And so with the missing Reactors sleeve variation now settled among the stacks so concludes another installment of It Never Ends. Or does it?

— Ryan Richardson
October 4, 2005

Addendum May 2008: OR DOES IT?!

Considering how I ended this installment three years ago, I must've known there'd be more to the story. Sure enough, Greg from Artifix Records drops another bombshell:

"Below is the early (1st) version of the REACTORS picture sleeve. This one was printed on only a handful of covers as the band used it as a test and decided that they wanted goldenrod paper and wanted to fix up the type, photo, etc. a bit more. You have a scan of the 2nd version which was put on the first hundred or so and the city scene was put on the last hundred or two hundred.

Both the drummer Rob and the bass player Mike (both original members during ALL incarnations unlike Tony) say that the radioactive symbol was first and the city was second. All artwork was done by Elizabeth "Dash" Frost and all paste-up was done by Mike, the bass player. All band photos by their friend Armando Castro.

A copy of an old interview in a San Bernardino music paper corroborates their story that they only pressed 300 copies of this 7in."

Note the lighter paper color, different typeface and radiation symbol center...


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