Camper Van Beethoven has been around for quite a while, especially in rock band years. Of course this was helped by the fact that the band didn’t exist in the 1990s. (Well, it did for the first few months of 1990, but I wasn’t there. And while we all “sat in” with Cracker starting in the end of the 1990s, the band as a whole did our first real “reunion” concert in 2002.)
The band formed in Redlands, CA in the early 1980s, it went through a few other conglomerations of people before it became something at UC Santa Cruz in 1983. I didn’t grow up in the Inland Empire, so I met the other people—David Lowery, Victor Krummenacher and Chris Molla—at UCSC. They were playing with Richie West playing drums, I saw them once and then started playing with them after that, and even after Richie stopped playing with us, David and Chris M switched off on drums! We recorded our first LP in January of 1985 (“Telephone Free Landslide Victory”) at Dave Gill’s studio “Samurai Sound Lab” in Davis, CA (I knew him from High School) and it came out in 1985. By that time Anthony (Kevin) Guess was playing drums, and soon thereafter Chris Pedersen started on drums and Greg Lisher came in on lead guitar, Chris Molla wandered off.
In 1986 we toured across the country for the first time, released our second record (“II & III”), and then later that year our third record (“Camper Van Beethoven”), toured more, recorded more, toured more. In 1987 we released one last indie record (“Vampire Can Mating Oven”, later “Vantiques”), got signed to Virgin and started record our first major label album (“Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart”), toured all through 1988. In 1989, I got the boot, the band continued recording a second record for Virgin (“Key Lime Pie”), it came out and they toured all the way until the band fell apart on tour in April of 1990.
We all made our own albums in the 1990s.
As I mentioned, we did start playing again later… it started with a few test studio sessions, one to remake old recordings and record some new ones (“Camper Van Beethoven is Dead, Long Live Camper Van Beethoven”, another to record an entire cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” album. It wasn’t until 2004 that we recorded a full all-new real album (“New Roman Times”.)
After that, lots of touring mostly with Frank Funaro on drums (as he played in Cracker as well!), making more of our own individual albums, and then finally more recording. In January 2013, we released “La Costa Perdida”, and its companion “El Camino Real” comes out June 2014. And more touring.
I really enjoy playing with this band. It has taught me many things, and made me a better musician.
I love recording, (I mean, I do it quite a lot, you know. just check it out: http://music.jsegel.com ) and I love playing live. And there is nothing like touring to hone your skills as a musician.
I wish I could say that I made a living at it, and indeed continuing to tour my entire adult life has harmed my ability to make a living at all, I would say! But I still do it. And will continue to do so.
So the point of all of this is that this year, you can get nearly every Camper Van Beethoven records in newly made and remastered versions, as well as the newest ones.
“Cigarettes and Carrot Juice: The Santa Cruz years”
This is a box set of our first 4 records, plus a live one. On vinyl or CD!
The two Virgin Releases, “Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart” and “Key Lime Pie” newly remastered, on vinyl and CD, with bonus tracks, B-Sides and some live cuts.
“La Costa Perdida” and “El Camino Real” on 429 Records!
A quick search on, say, Amazon, will get you to a place to buy these or even pre-order them. You could also go to your local record store and ask for them. All of them. Anyway, somewhere, you can find nearly all of the CVB catalog, new, made specially for you. Right Now!
oh, I almost forgot:
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