Issue July 2, 2008

Split Lip

One could argue that punk rock evacuated the premises long ago, but the lessons, and the general ethic, remain with a few believers.

One such disciple is Shawn Severs, a local chain-smoking painter who refuses to call himself an artist, and owns a record label called Louisville Lip, after native son Muhammed Ali.

Louisville Lip is holding a triple-record release show this weekend, at a venue that’s not a venue, and for people who may be low on cash. Local acts Rude Weirdo and Trophy Wives will perform, and give away free copies of their new albums.

Free copies of Boxmaker’s album will also be available, along with other random, free goodies.

The show will have a party atmosphere, and guests are allowed to bring their own drinks, Severs said. All of this is happening for a measly $5 cover, which he quickly adds can barely purchase a gallon of gas these days. 

So why, at a time like this, are Severs and the bands giving albums away? For one thing, Severs is an unconventional record label owner. He is anything but a businessman who will sign anyone he likes. For him, it’s not about the money. “I don’t run this like a business,” he said. “I’m just compelled to do it. You can’t really translate what I do to a bigger scale; it’s all local pride.”

To be signed by Louisville Lip, there are two rules: First off, the band must be from Louisville, and Severs must like them.

Another key philosophy of Louisville Lip is the value of aesthetics, not so much the promotion. Original album art should reflect the artistic style of the band.

“If you boil everything down,” he said, “it’s the same creative impulse. It’s just different mediums.”

Rude Weirdo (above) joins Trophy Wives for the Louisville Lip triple record-release show Saturday.
Rude Weirdo (above) joins Trophy Wives for the Louisville Lip triple record-release show Saturday.

Severs, Trophy Wives’ Billy Bisig and Eric Ronay of Rude Weirdo all agreed that the “punk ethic” means DIY, from the art to the music, and it doesn’t matter how well it sells as long as it’s original. 

“Nobody makes any money doing the stuff we’re doing,” Ronay said. “We’re really just in it for the music.”

Severs especially wants to reach out to those who perhaps can’t afford shows, or who dream of someday being a part of Louisville’s punk/DIY community. “The people who need culture the most are the same people who can’t really afford it,” he said.  

Contact the writer at leo@leoweekly.com

Louisville Lip’s Triple Release Show

Trophy Wives, Rude Weirdo

Saturday, July 5

Sixth & Oak 

$5; 8 p.m.

All ages