Viper Records was founded in the year 2000 by Jonathan Stuart. The New York based label was originally founded to provide a home for Stuart's album New Prohibition. Murphy soon found a home with Viper and Jon realized the potential for Viper to provide an outlet for socially relevant counter culture material that would otherwise go unreleased.
Stuart has been involved with drug law and prison reform since his arrest in 1964 for possession of 1/4 ounce of marijuana. He served one year out of a two year sentence at Conneticut State Prison.
Stuart began writing plays while in prison and after his release his first play Envelope was produced by The American Conservatory Theatre in San Fransisco. He spent some time as assistant director to Tom Ohorgan for the San Fransisco production of Hair. In 1970 Stuart co-founded The Barbwire Theatre. The theatre company consisted of ex-convicts. They produced The Cage and toured the country promoting prison reform.In 1972 Jonathan wrote and directed The Second Hottest Show in Town, a nude improvisational revue. In 1974 he was the production stage manager for Lincoln Center. In 1976 he produced Barnaby Bye for Atlantic Records, Sky King for Columbia Records, Bugatti & Musker, Street Punk, Urban Blight, John Pousette-Dart, Peppy Castro, Chris Brubeck, Sam Butler, Richard Cox and more.
Jonathan co-authored Mary Jane in 1978 with Zolton Soldgroff, Mary Jane is a musical revue that celebrates marijuana. Mary Jane showed in the Park Royal Theatre in New York. Twenty five humorous songs were performed with the audience often singing along. Costumes were designed by Jonathan's wife Helena Stuart. The couple later opened a successful retail/ wholesale clothing business Only Hearts.New Prohibition is the modern manifestation of Mary Jane. A percentage of profits from the sale of New Prohibition is donated to organizations dedicated to changing current drug laws.