Achtung, Richmond punks! Like the Fear song says, we know you love livin' in the city — but things just got a little better.
Local drummer Brandon Ferrell and his girlfriend, Lauren Amiss, have been running a record label for the past three years called No Way Records, putting out punk and hardcore from bands all over the world. Ferrell used to play drums with popular local thrashers Municipal Waste — recently joining them for an outdoor reunion show — and currently drums for punk groups Government Control and Wasted Time, as well as providing guitar and vocals for Direct Control.
Bucking a national trend, the pair has opened up a small record store, Vinyl Conflict, in a residential area of Oregon Hill at 324 S. Pine St., in place of the former Salvation Tattoo shop. A play on the name of a California punk band, Final Conflict, the mostly vinyl shop carries mainly punk, hardcore, metal and '80s stuff, but Ferrell says it will also offer a small selection of other genres, as well as used CDs and videotapes, T-shirts, patches and stickers.
“The shop is only 400 square foot, so it's up close and personal and that's pretty much all we need,” says Ferrell, 24, who moved from North Carolina to Richmond six years ago. “We spent a whole lot getting more underground stuff that is hard to find, that people can't get at Plan 9, probably.”
Ferrell isn't worried about finding a clientele.
“The local punk scene has gotten a lot bigger in the last few years,” he says. “I'm hoping all kinds of shoppers will check us out — but still, a lot of punks and underground types live in Oregon Hill, so I expect some foot traffic from that.”
Ferrell says that when he goes to most cities, he can usually find at least four record stores or more, so he wanted to add to the tiny Richmond count. People have already been asking if they'll have live shows, but he says there's no way because of the restricted space. They're still shooting to be a center for the scene, though.
The store had its grand opening Sept. 13, and the couple will also continue running their label from the shop.