Foo Fighters / Dave Grohl "Late! Pocketwatch"
FORMAT | LP
Pocketwatch is a cassette album by Dave Grohl, under the pseudonym Late!, released in 1992, on the now-defunct indie label Simple Machines as part of their Tool Cassette Series.
In the summer of 1991, Dave Grohl went into WGNS Studios and recorded four songs, playing all the instruments himself. The recording was combined with six songs from a previous Upland Studios session recorded in late 1990. Both sessions occurred after Grohl had joined Nirvana. A tape of the songs, given to Simple Machines co-founder Jenny Toomey by Grohl, immediately became a candidate for the label's Tool Cassette Series. The 1990 sessions emerged as Grohl, then the drummer of Scream, requested his producer friend Barrett Jones to record songs on his home 8-track tape recorder. Upon accepting Simple Machines' request for a demo tape, Grohl decided to hide his identity under the pseudonym Late!, "because I’m an idiot and I thought it would be funny to say to everybody, 'Sorry, we’re Late!’".
The Tool Cassette Series started around 1991 as an experiment and as a way of keeping music "in print" on an as-needed basis without having to finance vinyl or CD pressings, since Simple Machines dubbed the cassettes as the orders came in. With multiple cassette decks and a lot of volunteer help, this was a manageable project for the label. Shortly after Nirvana released Nevermind in the fall of 1991, its unexpected success was large enough that Pocketwatch eventually became noticed. It gained more attention when the Foo Fighters' early material was released in 1995. Some of the songs appeared on subsequent releases, creating even higher demand for the cassette. Suddenly, Pocketwatch was being mentioned frequently in interviews, and the label became flooded with orders. Grohl claimed that the big number of requests led Toomey to "literally dub them on a double cassette deck in her bedroom."
With minimal help and deteriorating master cassettes, Simple Machines got in touch with Grohl about releasing the Late! album as a CD, to keep up with demand. However, Grohl preferred to keep it as a cassette-only release, which the label honored. The musician explained later that he refused to do a CD release because "it was never intended to be a big thing", but Grohl also joked, regarding Pocketwatch's current status as a highly sought collectible, that he "wanted to drive up the price of cassettes to $3,000". When the two master cassettes for Pocketwatch came to the end of their useful lives, and with some of the other artists' masters in the same condition, Simple Machines decided to discontinue the Tool Cassette Series from their mailorder, putting the over-half-decade experiment to an end.