Kids of the Black Hole #7: RIP Reptilian Records
by Mike Riley
Kids of the Black Hole #7: RIP Reptilian Records
Reptilian Records closed it doors yesterday for what will be the last time as we know it. Those of us that honed our musical tastes shopping at that Baltimore punk rock establishment will surely feel the loss for a long time to come. It truly is the end of an era. While the store will continue, and broaden, it's online presence, and may one day open it's doors again for limited shopping hours, things will never be the same in Baltimore again.

In 1994, I moved to Baltimore from New Jersey to attend UMBC and was without a car for the first two years I was here. I met one other person on campus that was even remotely into punk or hardcore and he luckily lived down the hall from me in our dorm. We became friends quickly and he took me to my first area shows at Baldwin Hall, the old 9:30 Club, and Crofton Fire Hall. He was on his way out of the punk scene though so I didn't have him to count on for rides to shows for very long. He did, however, introduce me to some bands that to this day are still some of my all-time favorites: Avail, the Pee Tanks, Rubber Soul, Blank, Propagandhi, and Minor Threat, to name a few. He was from the thick of Anne Arundel County though and to my knowledge had never stepped foot inside Reptilian Records, although he took me to Soundgarden a few times.

I lucked out in my sophomore year of college when I met a kid from the Columbia area that was a bit more actively into the current scene and gave me rides to all kinds of shows in the Baltimore/DC/NoVA area and one day asked me if I wanted to head downtown with him after class to hit up Reptilian Records. I was only vaguely familiar with the store at the time and was eager to check it out, as I was getting very tired of having to mailorder all of my new records and CDs. I can still remember the first time I stepped foot inside the store. It was dark and smoky, posters lined every inch of every wall, and they had some of the best current, old, and rare/collectible stock I had ever seen. Chris was a bit slimmer in those days, and a young Tony Pence befriended me quickly when he saw that we had similar tastes in music as I brought my stack of purchases to the counter.

After that first trip I tried to get to the store as often as I could. A year or so later I found my way into the role of show promoter, since no one else was booking my favorite bands in the area, I decided I would just do it myself. I was in that store on a weekly basis, or more, dropping off flyers and buying new releases. To this day, Chris is one of the only people that has ever thanked me for bringing so many shows to the area and keeping up with such thankless work. That really meant a lot to me. I can't think of one person that has done more for the punk/hardcore/underground scene in this city than Chris has, and I guarantee that he has also probably never received his due accolades.

So this is my thank you to Chris X and crew (Tony, Chadd, Noel, Tim, Jesse, Mark, Danny, and everyone I'm forgetting or was before my time) for everything you've done for music in this city. I have quadrupled my record collection and had some great times hanging out thanks to that store. You all have my utmost respect and I hope to see things continue in a positive direction in whatever form you may take in the future.

Reptilian Records. RIP. 1989 - 2009
Posted by: Mike Riley

Features (January 19th, 2009)