Waterloo is an unlikely home for music royalty in Louisville, Colorado
Before he moved to Colorado in the late '90s to help open the Whole Foods store on Pearl Street in Boulder, Louis Karp opened Waterloo Records in Austin, a spot that went on to become one of the most successful independent record stores in the nation. Karp also had a few decades of music-industry experience under his belt, both in management and production, having worked with acts like Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M. and k.d. lang.
Growing up in that musical environment made Karp's son, Josh, the music lover that he is. "We've been going to concerts since we were little babies," Josh says. "We always got backstage and free tickets. I can't complain."
Shortly after his parents moved to Colorado, Josh moved to Louisville, where he stayed. And approximately seven years ago, he and his brother Ryan opened Waterloo Icehouse (now just Waterloo) in downtown Louisville. "When I was opening this place, I didn't know what to call it," Josh recalls, "so I'd thought I'd name it after [the] record store to keep the thing going -- keep it in the family."
While the bar and restaurant's walls are lined with some of Louis's memorabilia from Waterloo Records and the bands he managed, there are also items from bands that have played there. From day one, Josh says, he's had music at the venue, one of the few places in the area where you can find it. "I feel like it's our niche," he says, "but I'm not sure if people love it or don't come because it's too loud. You never really know. You never stop doing it to see if there would really be a difference."