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Lost & Found: What’s a Reptile on Amphetamines Like?

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Amphetamine Reptile records is responsible for producing one of the largest collections of the best music you’ve never heard. Formed in 1986 by Tom Hazelmyer, the label quickly became a refuge for amazing bands that couldn’t find a home elsewhere.

After joining the Marines, Hazelmyer found himself in Seattle, where he decided to form Amphetamine Reptile records, or AmRep, as it came to be called. Hazelmyer initially formed the label to release albums by his own band, Halo of Flies. He quickly began signing other artists, though, and AmRep gained a reputation for housing some of the heaviest, noisiest, gnarliest bands ever.

Many of the bands never broke through into the mainstream, though one might argue that never seemed like a goal of the label or the bands anyway. However, a few did gain notoriety, like Jesus Lizard, the Melvins and Helmet. The Melvins still release the occasional 7-inch record through AmRep, but not much else is going on there anymore.

All of this was happening during the boom of MTV and the music video. AmRep’s bands were largely ignored by MTV, though. So they decided to take matters into their own hands. They began producing a series of movies that featured music videos by their artists, as well as short, darkly funny skits. We have two of those here today, and you can find many more of them on YouTube. If you’ve got the time, they’re definitely worth a watch.

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