Stubwart’s Music and ReTroPoLiS fill a void in Reno’s underground music industry
Have you hugged your records today? Or have CDs completely insinuated themselves into your world? If you’re a vinylphile and haven’t checked out Stubwart’s Music, you’re missing out.
In an older house just south of downtown, Brooke Walker captains the good ship Stubwart’s from behind his cluttered desk. The walls are wallpapered with fliers from most of Reno’s punk rock shows occurring in the past two decades: Big In Japan, The Briefs, December, Fall Silent, Black Flag, Seven Seconds, G.O.B. and Zoinks! There’s even one for The Dead Kennedys at Pub ‘n’ Sub. Everywhere you look, there are skeletons and pirates and skeleton pirates, making up the ghastly crew of the ship.
Walker opened Stubwart’s in the summer of 2001 at the former location of Resurrection Records, an indie record co-op that traced its roots (though not its ownership) back to another indie shop called Insurrection Records located off Wells Avenue. While Stubwart’s first year was admittedly rough, Walker is optimistic about the future of the store.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m not making much money off of it; eventually I will. Eventually I’ll be able to quit my other job.
“Hopefully,” he adds, smiling.
While we’re talking, a regular customer, Justin Morales, comes in looking for his order. About 40 seconds later, the UPS guy walks in with it. Walker says that he tries to keep the music selection in the bins fresh. Morales adds that the abundance of vinyl keeps him coming back. He says Stubwart’s is the only store in town he knows of that carries underground vinyl.
“People should support it,” he says.
Stubwart’s mainly carries punk rock, as well as garage rock, some metal, political punk and hardcore.
But the punk rock is not the ending point of this store’s stellar collection. You see, this converted three-room house is also the home ReTroPoLiS. ReTroPoLiS sells vinyl of a different sort—hip-hop, DJ and techno. In addition to records, they also sell hand-knit beanies, flashing things and all sorts of raver supplies.
Owner Jenelle Maddox, aka DJ Happy, rented the space last February and feels that ReTroPoLiS has found its niche. She and the rest of the store’s staff, all professional or recreational record-spinners, had had problems finding a good place to get the kind of records they wanted to spin.
“We’re offering a previously non-existent service in Reno,” she says. “Walker wants to put the music you want into your hands, as long as it’s not too mainstream.
“If you’ve been in before and didn’t see much in here, we’ve got a lot of new stuff,” Walker says. “Or just stop on by if you’ve never been here.”
Stubwart’s also has band T-shirts, some videos and a small selection of magazines. Records range from around $8 to $13. There are also bins full of 7-inch records with a sign that reads, “$1 each!”
And, for the more digitally minded listening snob, Stubwart’s does carry CDs.