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CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN BIOGRAPHY

Camper Van Beethoven formed in the trendy seaside college community of Santa Cruz, California in 1983. Founded by vocalist David Lowery -- formerly of the Estonian Gauchos -- and guitarist Chris Molla of the local band Box O'Laffs. They soon added Victor Krummenacher on bass, Greg Lisher on guitar and Anthony Guess on drums. It was the addition of Jonathan Segel on violins, keyboards and mandolin that gave this band its unique sound.

This "non-standard" instrumentation, combined with Lowery's "valley-boy" vocals made them far more adventurous sounding than many of their contemporaries or predescessors (such as The Dickies, Minutemen or Meat Puppets). It also gave them free license to aptly describe themselves as "surrealist absurdist folk."

Camper Van Beethoven
Camper Van Beethoven.

Their debut album, Telephone Free Landslide Victory made the Top 10 in many critic's polls in 1986. Not surprisingly, so did their next two LPs, the confusingly titled II & III and only slightly less confusingly titled Camper Van Beethoven. If the band is remembered for anything, it will probably be their punk ballad, "Take The Skinheads Bowling" off thier debut album (released on their own Pitch-A-Tent label).

In 1988 Camper Van Beethoven signed a major label contract with Virgin Records who were expanding their presence in the US (Virgin releases were previously licensed to US labels for release, such as Orchestral Manouevres In The Dark to A&M). As happened with many bands in the 80s, the critical acclaim and the "big record deal" started taking its toll on the band. Members started to leave the fold, starting with Molla in 1987 and Segel in 1988. Other members started a side project called Monks Of Doom. After only two original LPs for Virgin, and while touring in Europe, Camper Van Beethoven called it quits in 1990. Virgin then had no interest in re-releasing the band's three earlier LPs. But IRS, knowing the value of the cult favorites, licensed and released the first three LPs on CD and Cassette as well a a fourth LP, Camper Vantiquities, comprised of demos, B-Sides, unreleased items and rare mixes.

While there has never been a formal reunion of Camper Van Beethoven, many of the band members have performed and recorded together in various combinations since the break up. Frontman David Lowery formed alternative rock band Cracker and Jonathan Segel did three records in the 90s as Heironymous Firebrain. Other members have played with the likes of Counting Crows and Natalie Merchant, while others continued performing in groups, many of which come close to sounding like Camper Van Beethoven or at least as unusual.

In 2002, a long rumored new album is expected, featuring a cover version of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" (which is the only Mac tune webmeister Mr Bill can tolerate). See the link for Pitch-A-Tent Records below...


CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN I.R.S. DISCOGRAPHY

This discography will cover only CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN's recordings for I.R.S. Records. Recordings for other labels, other recordings, solo recordings and guest appearances, may be mentioned in the biography or discography, but details can be found by visiting some of the cool links for CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN, below...

Albums & EPs

Telephone Free Landlside Victory cover) TELEPHONE FREE LANDSLIDE VICTORY
IRS 13208 (Released 9 March 1993)

(originally released in 1985 on Independent Project/Rough Trade)

CD and Cassette

Produced by Camper Van Beethoven
Engineered by Dave Gill
Photography by Dave Allen



Musicians:
David Lowery lead vocals, guitar and drums
Chris Molla vocals, guitar and drums
Greg Lisher guitar
Victor Krummenacher bass and vocals
Jonathan Segal mandolin, violin, keyboards, vocals and noise
Anthony Guess drums

Track Listing:

  1. Border Ska 2:46
  2. The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon 3:12
  3. Wasted 1:57
  4. Yanqui Go Home 2:38
  5. Oh No 1:50
  6. 9 of Disks 2:35
  7. Payed Vacation: Greece 1:48
  8. Where the Hell Is Bill? 2:02
  9. Vladivostock 2:20
  10. Skinhead Stomp 1:43
  11. Tina 1:34
  12. Take the Skinheads Bowling 2:28
  13. Mao Reminisces About His Days in Southern China 1:55
  14. I Don't See You 2:22
  15. Balalaika Gap 2:08
  16. Opi Rides Again-Club Med Sucks 3:51
  17. Ambiguity Song 2:28

Review Coming Soon!



II & III cover II & III
IRS 13209 (Released 9 March 1993)

(originally released in 1986 on Pitch-A-Tent Records)

CD and Cassette


Produced by Camper Van Beethoven
Other Production Credits Coming Soon!



Musicians:
David Lowery lead vocals
Chris Molla guitar & pedal steel
Greg Lisher guitar
Victor Krummenacher bass and vocals
Jonathan Segal violin
Chris Pederson drums


Track Listing:

  1. Abundance
  2. Cowboys From Hollywood
  3. Sad Lovers Waltz
  4. Turtlehead
  5. I Love Her All the Time
  6. No Flies on Us
  7. Down and Out
  8. No Krugerrands for David
  9. (Don't You Go) Goleta
  10. 4 Year Plan
  11. (We're A) Bad Trip
  12. Circles
  13. Dust Pan
  14. Sometimes
  15. Chain of Circumstance
  16. ZZ Top Goes to Egypt
  17. Cattle [Reversed]
  18. Form Another Stone
  19. No More Bullshit

Review Coming Soon!


Camper Van Beethoven cover CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN
IRS 13210 (Released 9 March 1993)

(originally released in 1986 on Pitch-A-Tent Records)

CD and Cassette


Production Credits Coming Soon!





Musicians:
David Lowery lead vocals
Chris Molla guitar & pedal steel
Greg Lisher guitar
Victor Krummenacher bass and vocals
Jonathan Segal violin
Chris Pederson drums


Track Listing:

  1. Good Guys & Bad Guys
  2. Joe Stalin's Cadillac
  3. Five Sticks
  4. Lulu Land
  5. Une Fois
  6. We Saw Jerry's Daughter
  7. Surprise Truck
  8. Stairway to Heavan (sic)
  9. The History of Utah
  10. Still Wishing to Course
  11. We Love You
  12. Hoe Yourself Down
  13. Peace & Love
  14. Folly
  15. Interstellar Overdrive
  16. Shut Us Down

Review Coming Soon!!!


Camper Vantiquities cover CAMPER VANTIQUITIES
IRS 13211 (Released 23 March 1993)

CD & Cassette


Production Credits Coming Soon!






Musicians:
David Lowery lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Chris Molla guitar, mandolin & pedal steel
Greg Lisher guitar
Victor Krummenacher bass and vocals
Jonathan Segal violin, guitar, keyboards and vocals
Chris Pederson drums, guitar, violin, keyboards and vocals Anthony Guess drums


Track Listing:

  1. Heart
  2. Never Go Back
  3. Seven Languages
  4. Axe Murderer Song
  5. SP37597
  6. Crossing Over
  7. Guardian Angels
  8. I'm Not Like Everybody Else
  9. A.C. Cover
  10. Porpoise Mouth
  11. (We Workers Do Not Understand) Modern Art
  12. We Eat Your Children
  13. Six More Miles To The Graveyard
  14. Ice Cream Everyday
  15. Processional
  16. Photograph
  17. Om Eye

Review coming Soon!


CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN LINKS & OTHER COOL STUFF

There are a number of websites devoted to CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN...



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This Page Last Updated 13 September 2002

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