Given the number of labels Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson have called home, it should go without saying that the band has left an enormous amount of collectibles in the wake of its recordings.
One of the world’s leading Porcupine Tree collectors, Ray Badowski, claims to have hundreds of rare and standard-issue releases tied to the Tree.
“I started to keep track of every recording, with all its releases, promos, test pressings, versions, media types, colors, difference between EAN/UPC barcodes, etc,” says Badowski, who was first introduced to Porcupine Tree just after the release of the band’s Lava Records debut, In Absentia. “If you included the sampler-type recordings where there is even one Porcupine Tree track on it, the list is close to 400. I’ve got about 75 percent of that list… and I admit I’ve been losing ground.”
What are some of the rarest Porcupine Tree items in Badowski’s collection?
Badowski explains: “In addition to the mega-rare Lava Records Pre-Cleared Songs For Film Vol. 1, which contains the ‘Meantime’ track, I’d probably cite the following: Fans know the two original … cassettes, Tarquin’s Seaweed Farm and The Nostalgia Factory, but it is not as well known that they were released in two versions. The initial version, obviously the rarer of the two, did not have a label on the cassette itself; rather, it had the title hand-written with a silver pen. Also, the final edit for the band’s first Delerium LP On the Sunday of Life appeared on a cassette titled ‘Porcupine Tree — double album/CD — final edit.’ This was not released per se, but it is one-of-a-kind.
“There are others, but the Lava Records Pre-Cleared Songs For Film Vol. 1 is definitely one of the rarest items I own,” Badowski continues. “I don’t know the going price for that one — I believe I paid $160 when I got it. You should know, however, that recently both the early cassettes, the ones with labels, went for over $1,000 each.”