Waterloo Records

JOHN T KUNZ Marks 50 Years of Selling Records In Austin with a Waterloo Records Fourteen Day Celebration

John T Kunz, owner/president of Waterloo Records & Video - Austin's legendary record store, is commemorating an impressive milestone: 50 years of retail sales serving the Austin music & film community, and beyond. With a career spanning half a century, Kunz has made an indelible mark on Austin record stores, serving customers for decades in their pursuit of musical discoveries, by connecting music lovers with music-makers, and vice versa.

The 50th Anniversary 14 Day Celebration will feature music & video flash sales, a massive crate-digger sale, two ’benefit days’ Thur 7/6 for Sun Radio and Thur 7/13 for KUTX, and of course, Waterloo’s legendary FREE 5pm in-store performances and book signings: Lucinda Williams (Mon 7/3), Blakchyl (Wed 7/5), Jake Andrews (Fri 7/6), Shinyribs (Tue 7/11), Bob Schneider - book signing (Thur 7/13), and Brownout (Fri 7/14).

As a UT student in 1973, Kunz helped pay his way through UT, working part-time at Disc Records in Highland Mall (now ACC). Then after 7 years of management stints at corporate record chains, Kunz partnered with Louis Karp, who had recently opened Waterloo Records, on April Fools Day 1982. With modest resources, yet abundant passion, Karp and Kunz combined their creative endeavors cultivating homegrown support for touring acts from around the world, and Texas acts from around the corner. Waterloo partnered with musicians, radio stations, publications, music venues, recording studios, and record labels, unifying its position as the home-grown institution bringing Austin’s music to the world -  and the world’s music to Austin.

Starting off in a small space on South Lamar, Austinites quickly resonated with the unique shop and its DIY aesthetic. They voted Waterloo "Best Record Store" in the first ever Austin Music Awards poll. That prestigious award continued for an unprecedented 40 consecutive years, including numerous national and global rankings honoring Waterloo as one of the best record stores in America, as well as the world!

In order to grow the modest store profits into inventory, Kunz waited tables during nights at Jeffreys from 1982-91. Karp departed in 1987 and Kunz moved Waterloo in 1989 to its larger, land-mark, 6th and Lamar site - where it has nimbly adapted to the rise and fall of CD sales, digital downloads, streaming, and the revival of vinyl LPs.  

So come discover some new music and/or video at Waterloo, check out an in-store, and help John celebrate his five decades of, as he says, ‘slinging vinyl in Austin TX!’

John T Kunz & Waterloo Records History Timeline

John T Kunz' 50+ Fave LPs from 50 Years Ago (1973)

Former Waterloo Staff - Where Are They Now?

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