The Reptilian Records founder looks back at his label and store's 20th anniversary
By Michael Byrne, baltimore City Paper, 11/24/2010
Reptilian Records opened in Fells Point almost exactly 20 years ago. It grew in a few years into Baltimore's cornerstone underground heavy music outlet and record label, putting out sounds from loud luminaries ranging from Oxes to Pig Destroyer, from the Dwarves to Pg. 99. This weekend, the Windup Space hosts a label/store retrospective/party featuring old performance videos from the shop and a roomful of “paraphernalia and propaganda,” according to Reptilian founder and owner Christopher Xavier Donovan, known to most simply as Chris X. City Paper spoke to him last week about the withering of underground music, rock ‘n' roll, and hipsters.
City Paper: What exactly is Reptilian in the year 2010?
Chris X: There is no longer a [physical] store, [but] the label is still going with a few releases in the works. The Sick Weapons album, a limited-edition vinyl LP; the Upper Crust DVD; and the long-awaited Hatebeak discography CD. The web store is still going strong, the label is still going, the publishing is going strong. It's just not a store anymore.
One thing we're working on for the future is a book about Reptilian Records. A thing we're trying to do at this event is kinda pull people aside—we're doing an oral history sort of thing, you know?—and get people's stories. Their first time in the store, shows they saw at the store, if they were there when Danzig threatened my life. Stuff like that.
CP: Do you regret shutting down the brick and mortar store?
CX: I wish that it was still happening. I wish that I still had a store, I wish I was still in Fells Point. I wish it was still the mid-'90s [laughs]. But Fells Point could not support Reptilian anymore. It's changed too much. And the building we were in was falling apart.
Continue reading “Chris X” at the Baltimore City Paper.