Open letter to Hans van der Waal

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Gary S. Nabors

Sep 25, 1994, 11:44:36 AM9/25/94

What follows is an open letter to Hans van der Waal, in response to an
article that he wrote for the fanzine _Chronic Town_ regarding my book

September 26, 1994

Hans van der Waal
Campanula straat 12c
3202 BE Spijkenisse

Dear Hans,

I recently read your article entitled "Remnants Update," which I found to
be inflammatory, and often factually incorrect. I think the proper thing
would have been to write me with your comments and allow me to respond
before publishing the article as you did. In doing so, and even inviting
readers to "please write in" if they find any "further omissions," you did
not give me the opportunity to respond to your criticisms before making
them public.

I find your article title, "Remnants Update" offensive, since it indicates
that you wrote the book, and have the authority to update it. Nowhere do
you indicate who wrote the book, which adds to the confusion of the title.

What follows is a point-by-point rebuttal to some of the claims you made
in your article:

1. If an item is listed but not pictured, it is not an "omission." It
would have been impossible to include a photograph of every record and
item of memorabilia listed in the book. Case in point, the Spanish Out Of
Time "contest sleeve." It is listed on page 66. Similarly, the Russian
issue of Green, with different back cover, is listed in the discography on
page 253.

2. The "Ballad of Cat Ballou" is from the March 14, 1988 Rockline
broadcast. I have the tape which I recorded myself. The date will be
corrected in the next edition. It was not from 1986 as you indicate.

3. My friend who supplied the tape for the bootleg Dead Giveaway Office
told me it was recorded at Stitchcraft, not at the Mad Hatter. More on
this later.

4. On the Radio Songs bootleg, the only song that went out live,
evidently was "Losing My Religion." The others may have been broadcast at
a later date.

5. The third edition of Remnants lists the source of the material on the
bootleg Songs From Little America as "unidentified."

6. The third edition corrects comments on the bootleg That Beat in Time.

7. Tanzplagen is as much of a bootleg as any of the other European live
CDs like Songs From a Green World. Just because it is sold openly in
Germany does not mean it is material that can be legally distributed. It
is not a legal record in the U.S.

8. Stitchcraft was almost directly across from the "REM Church" in
Athens. It no longer exists. Just because someone in Athens told you it
never existed, does not make it true. The third edition adds "Sweet Jane"
to the set list on the bootleg 20th Century Boys.

9. The "Tape 1" material on cassette is of limited interest to
collectors. I have a number of them, and consider them in the same
category as a test pressing of a record. Therefore, they were not listed
in the book. Also, "pirate" tapes exist all over the third world, and not
surprisingly, in Cypress. They are not legitimate releases. I mentioned
a few of them in the back of the book just for fun. I'm sure that there
are many more than you or I will ever know about.

10. Under 7" records, you mention that some U.K. test pressings are
"missing." You should have noticed that no test pressings are listed in
the book, except for the ones from the Bucketfull of Brains flexis.
Certainly a test pressing exists for every vinyl record ever made, making
it impossible, in a book such as this, to list the test pressing of every
record separately. Estimates of the values for some of the 7" test
pressings are given on page 53.

11. On page 8 of your article, some of your criticisms are so minor that
I should ignore them, but since you are nit-picking, so will I. First, I
don't feel that the minor difference in type styles on the sleeves of the
US/Dutch/Canadian vs. U.K. "Can't Get There From Here" warrant considering
them as having different "sleeve designs." Certainly the Spanish issue is
different, and that is why it is shown separately. Look through your
collection, and you'll find that every sleeve from every country for a
given single is slightly different, but will have the same basic design.

12. If all copies of the Spanish promo of "Can't Get There" have Stipe's
name misspelled, why is that of interest to collectors? Should I have
mentioned every minor error that the record company forgot to correct?
Just because misspellings like this exist does not mean that I need to
mention them.

13. The 7" of "Driver 8" that you describe in a "black/gold" IRS sleeve
would be considered without a picture sleeve. That is a generic I.R.S.
sleeve issued with some copies of the record (and many other I.R.S.
records in 1985 and 1986), used when the picture sleeves ran out. It
does not warrant a separate listing.

14. My copy of PRO 610 plays "Near Wild Heaven." I put it on the
turntable to check it. On this issue, you are clearly wrong. The record

15. I didn't include a photo of the 1991 Spanish promo of "End of the
World" because I chose not to, since it is so similar to the Best of REM
album cover. Again, it is impossible to show everything. You are being
unreasonable here.

16. The French promo CD with the three live tracks is listed and pictured
on page 129. Although the disc was manufactured in Germany, it was given
away to subscribers of a French magazine, and thus is listed under French

17. As far as the remaining CDs you mention, some had not been released
when the first edition of Remnants was published. Therefore, they could
not possibly have been included.

In summary, I understand that you have the right to dispute the contents
of my book. However, I would have appreciated the opportunity to answer
your criticisms before you published them.


Gary S. Nabors

cc: Chronic Town Fanzine

Dec 27, 2017, 1:40:53 PM12/27/17
Funny this is still circulating on the WWW!!! Just found it when searching for REM bootleg info. Must have the personal letter somewhere in my files. Remnants still is a great source, never overruled. I was a big fan back then. Gave up after Up.
@ Gary: not sure if you'll ever read this but the article was never meant as an offence. As i said, your book was/is great. No one ever did another attempt to do it better in some way. No hard feelings from my side!!

Best wishes

Hans van der Waal
The Neterlands


Mar 27, 2018, 10:42:35 AM3/27/18
Love the fact that you respond 23 years later, Hans! Not sure you will see this response, but anyway...

Greetings from David in Sweden - we used to be in touch quite a bit in the mid-90's, you helped me a lot in getting my live "tape collection" (as it was back then!) going. Probably still have some of the letters you sent back then, and the tapes are in storage in my attic, for some nostalgic reason.
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