Reeeink Roink: “It’s Ok to mess up!”

by John Reynolds on August 24, 2005

Reeenk Roink
Common Reeenk Roink: Blank CD in Tyvek sleeve, handwritten in marker
Bullshit? Or not?
You can authenticate a Reeenk Roink by the “matrix number” which can be found on the read side (bottom side) of the CD. It should be either DIDP 076200 and DISP 001152
Jeff explains on Scott’s cd:
We all make mistakes.

What makes a Pearl Jam collectible “valuable”? The “Reeenk Roink” promo CD boasts neither unreleased music nor eye catching graphics; but its rarity, odd name, handcrafted manufacturing and place in PJ history have made it one of the handful of “holy grail” collectibles. What is Reeenk Roink? TFT and PJ collector Seth Dolled take a closer look.

Reeenk Roink is a promotional CD that was manufactured some time in spring or summer of 1991. It contains Ten in its entirety, mixed and mastered just like the regular official release. The CD itself resembles a blank CD and there is no “formal” artwork except for sleeves handwritten by Ed and Jeff. Its purpose falls somewhere in between that of a test pressing and a promotional copy [more info]. These cds were given out by band members to journalists, radio station dj’s and record store folks to promote the album before they had real copies of it on hand.

So what do the words “Reeenk Roink” actually mean? Aside from these cds, “Reeenk Roink” is mentioned in the liner notes inside the “Alive” / “Wash” / “I Got A Feeling” promotional single written by Jeff Ament. In describing the transition from the band’s initial name “Mookie Blaylock” to “Pearl Jam”, Jeff writes:

“Once again, the Stone & Jeff Faction opt out 2 do a new thang.
3 new guys. The Kick Ass Faction.”

Because of the “Alive” single’s liner notes, fans have long guessed that “Reeenk Roink” was a potential band name, but now we can say for sure that that’s not true. PJ fan Scott Logsden let us know that he recently lucked out and got his Reeenk Roink signed by Jeff Ament. Scott’s sleeve already contained the standard “Pearl Jam — TEN — REEENK ROINK” writing, but in addition to an autograph, Jeff added an asterisk next to “Reeenk Roink” and wrote “it’s ok to mess up.” When asked, Ament explained that back when PJ were recording Ten, when someone messed up, everyone else in the band would look at the person and make a funny face and say “reeenk roink!” It’s hard to explain in print, but what Jeff means is that “reeenk roink” is a sound spelled out, an onomatopoeia: like the sound on a game show when someone gets something wrong, or the two-tone error noise your computer might make. When they got the test discs from the record company, which lacked the name of their album and didn’t even have the band’s name printed on them, Jeff and Ed decided to write that phrase on there for when they gave them to people.

So then what did the thing in the liner notes to the “Alive” single mean? Well, now that it’s clear that “reeenk roink” is an onomatopoeia roughly meaning “mistake” or “error,” then “MOOKIE BLAYLOCK… REEENK ROINK… Pearl Jam” is a shorthand way to describe how the band was called Mookie Blaylock, and that was an error (they got a nice call from basketball player Mookie Blaylock’s lawyer), so they changed the name to Pearl Jam. Aha!

Is a CD with handwritten packaging and no real artwork “official”? In this case, yes. Any item with a unique identifier (in this case, a “matrix number”) that can be traced back to the record company is considered official. To date, we know of Reeenk Roink CDs with two different matrix numbers: DIDP 076200 and DISP 001152. We don’t know officially how many Reeenk Roinks were made, but between 50 and 200 or more is a safe guess. Many stories of how the Reeenk Roink CDs first passed from Sony’s hands to the public involve distribution to record stores on the East Coast and the Midwest, but it seems unlikely that all of them got Reeenk Roink copies because the packaging was handwritten.

As already mentioned, the packaging was handwritten by Ed and Jeff. The DIDP 076200 versions were not distributed in jewel cases, but instead in Tyvek sleeves with the words “Pearl Jam — Ten — Reeenk Roink — Ten” written in blue or green marker outward from center in a closed circle. The handwriting is the familiar style of Ed and Jeff, but it cannot be said definitively whose is blue or green. Of those known, the CDs themselves do not have any markings on them.

The DISP 001152 are slightly different, and their authenticity was discussed recently in this thread on the Red Mosquito board. Of the two DISP 001152 Reeenk Roinks that we know of, they came in blank sleeves and conversely had writing on the CDs themslves – one is written in a similar way as the DIDP 076200 sleeves but the other has different writing on the CD, presumably by a different writer because “Reeenk” is missing an “e” and is spelled “Reenk” (editor: if a word that doesn’t exist is spelled wrong, is it really “wrong”?). The DISP 001152 cannot be discarded as fake because existing Sony (labels: Epic, Columbia, CBS) test pressing CDs in circulation have one of three prefixes: DIDP, DISP or DI8P. Also, unless these owners are lying, the handoff of these CDs from Sony sales representives to fans can be traced 1991, which jives with the history of the DIDP versions.

Here is a chart comparing the characteristics between the two versions:

Matrix Number DIDP 076200 DISP 001152
Sleeve type Tyvek, with writing Tyvek or paper, with no writing
Sleeve Writing “Pearl Jam — Ten — Reeenk Roink — Ten” or similar in Blue or Green Marker None found with any sleeve writing
CD Writing None found with any CD writing “Pearl Jam — Ten — Reeenk Roink — Ten” in a circle or cascading in Blue marker

Since this collectible has been discussed for so long on so many different PJ discussion forums, here’s a quick FAQ:

“Is Reeenk Roink a demo?”
No. An album goes through many manufacturing stages: demos, rehearsal, recording, mixing (often more than one), mastering, test pressing, promotional copies, mass production. Reeenk Roink falls more into the category of test pressing being used also as promo copies

“What songs are on it?”
After an analysis of the production version of Ten and Reeenk Roink, the music on each is identical. This gives credence to when the CD was pressed, that is after the mixing and mastering stage. [ more info ]

“It looks like someone burned a copy of Ten and wrote ‘Reeenk Roink’ on it. If I find one on Ebay or EIL, how do I know it is real?”
Although a Reeenk Roink looks like it was burned on a blank CD, they were actually manufactured at Sony CD manufacturing facilities. Therefore, they should have one of the two known matrix numbers DIDP 076200 and DISP 001152. If you are interested in purchasing a Reeenk Roink from someone, ask them for this number which can be found on the inside ring of the CD viewable from the underside (bottom surface) of the CD.

“Oh, so you’re saying this is the same as the circulating “Ten – Rough Mixes” cassette?”
No, Reeenk Roink should not be confused with the “Ten – Rough Mixes” promotional-only cassette which was a tape distributed through Sony prior to the final mixing phase. That tape contains, well, “rough mixes” of the Ten sessions and contains most of the tracks on Ten in a more raw, unfinished state.

Below you will find fan-submitted scans of all the Reeenk Roinks we could track down. Without having official information on quantities produced, we rely on submissions by fans to tell the story of its origins. If you have a copy of Reeenk Roink, please feel free to share your info with us using the feedback form below. Please include the following information:

  • Does your Reeenk Roink come in a tyvek sleeve or a jewel case?
  • If a tyvek sleeve, does your Reeenk Roink have writing on the sleeve? If so, what writing?
  • What matrix number is on the CD? Again, check the bottom of the CD near the inner ring.
  • Does the CD itself have writing on it? If so, what writing?
  • Do you have information on its history? (e.g. got it from the WMFC radio station in SomewhereCity, U.S)

Additional Information

What is a “test pressing” and “promotional copy”?A “test pressing” is a small run of an album that is manufactured for review and approval by the record label as a final check for quality before the CD is mass-produced and sold. These CDs often do not include artwork or packaging, are made in very small quantities (~1-10) and are used internally for quality assurance as opposed to being sent out for promotion. A “promotional copy” usually does include the artwork and often contains a sticker or stamp indicating that the CD is “not for sale” and for “promotional use only.” They’re usually sent out to record stores, rock critics, and radio stations for promotion. [ back to article ]

So is Reeenk Roink really the same as Ten? We ripped both the Reeenk Roink CD and the commercial version of Ten to see if the music on these CDs is “the same”. We found that there are really minor differences in track times. We read the track times down to the thousands for each and saw that the difference between the times were all less than 1/2 a second (tracks 2 and 3 are even identical). We then started to see that the differences were multiples of some number – for instance, the “Garden” versions differed by 13ms, the “Deep” versions differed by 26ms difference and the “Porch” versions differed by 40s difference – all multiples of 13ms! CD manufacturing technology dictates that when track marks are put on CDs, that they are placed on “sector boundaries”. A sector 2352 bytes or 588 samples long, or 1/75th of a second – 13.3ms! So, we made that calculation and all the tracks differed right on sector boundaries.

Track Track Length Time Difference Sector Difference
Reeenk Roink Ten
Once 03:51.627 03:51.894 00:00.267 20 sectors
Even Flow 04:53.601 04:53.601 00:00.000 0 sectors
Alive 05:41.201 05:41.201 00:00.000 0 sectors
Why Go 03:19.867 03:19.907 00:00.040 3 sectors
Black 05:43.734 05:43.667 00:00.067 5 sectors
Jeremy 05:19.201 05:19.361 00:00.160 12 sectors
Oceans 02:41.801 02:41.667 00:00.134 10 sectors
Porch 03:30.574 03:30.534 00:00.040 3 sectors
Garden 04:58.961 04:58.974 00:00.013 1 sectors
Deep 04:18.241 04:18.267 00:00.026 2 sectors
Release/Master Slave 09:05.961 09:06.014 00:00.053 4 sectors

Based on this information, it can be said that the music on Reeenk Roink is “the same” as Ten and the only differences between the CDs are the minute differences in the placement of track marks.[ back to article ]

John Reynolds ( Twitter: @jjjrrr )
A New Jersey based programmer, John handles TFT’s programming and technical aspects. He also conceives and writes his share of TFT’s articles and sections. John’s first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 12, 1992.

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