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Camper Van Beethoven
High Noon Saloon
Madison, WI
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Camper Van Beethoven

At the time of their 1985 debut, ..Camper Van Beethoven..'s merging of punk, folk, ska, and world musics was truly a revelation. Self-described as "surrealist absurdist folk," the band formed in Santa Cruz, CA, after singer/songwriter ..David Lowery.. of Redlands, CA, with his dry humor and valley-boy voice (sometimes confused for a faux English accent), and boyhood friends ..Chris Molla.. and Chris Pedersen disbanded Box o' Laffs. ..Victor Krummenacher.. was added on bass and soon they were joined by ..Greg Lisher.. (guitar) and ..Jonathan Segel.. (violins, keyboards, mandolin). It was Segel's ..violin.. that would prove to be the band's hallmark at a time when alternative rock had yet to be invented, and indie rock was still shy of roots music or traditional elements. .. The 1985 re-release of their debut, ..Telephone Free Landslide Victory.., made the Top Ten in the 1986 Village Voice Pazz and Jop Poll, as did their second album, ..II & III.., and Camper Van Beethoven, both released in 1986. On II & III, they went for a purer indie rock sound with touches of country, as evidenced in their "Sad Lovers Waltz" and their cover of Sonic Youth's "I Love Her All the Time." The band deftly switched modes from punk to ska to rock on alternate takes, but by this time Molla had left the fold. The third album, confusingly titled Camper Van Beethoven, continued the thread, but outstanding tracks like "Joe Stalin's Cadillac" were in the more straight-ahead indie rock vein. However, the band would consistently blow people's minds by tossing around things like a reverent version of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive." For its Virgin Records debut, coinciding with the label's U.S. re-launch in 1988, the band took a more serious tack on Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, and the group that had once been confined to low budgets and small studio facilities stretched out perhaps a little too aggressively... For Key Lime Pie, Camper Van Beethoven's final release in 1989, the band took it as far as it could go. Morgan Fichter had replaced Segel by this time. Krummenacher, Pedersen, and Lisher continued to play together in what began as a side project in 1985, Monks of Doom, which turned into a full-time job for them, with four albums and an EP to their credit. Though no longer working as the Monks, the trio, along with Segel and Camper touring guitarist ..David Immergluck.., continue to play together in various formations. Jonathan Segel has released three albums as ..Hieronymous Firebrain.. from 1990-1994 and two with ..Jack & Jill.. for the ..Magnetic.. label, followed by several rock cds under his own name and several electronic music cds under his own name or as ..Chaos Butterfly... Krummenacher has released several solo records, (Out in the Heat, St. John's Mercy, Bittersweet, Sans Soleil, Nocturne and The Cock Crows At Sunrise, also for Magnetic), worked with members of Tarnation in Lava, and continues to work with ..Bruce Kaphan.. on various projects. Greg Lisher has completed two solo cds, Handed Down the Wire on Magnetic and Trains Change on his new label, Chiseled Out. Immergluck and Fichter continue to tour and play sessions with bands of considerable renown (Counting Crows and Natalie Merchant respectively, among others); Lowery took some time off before forming Cracker, but didn't commingle with his former bandmates until reuniting with Krummenacher and Segel in late 1999 to assemble the bizarre rarities collection Camper Van Beethoven Is Dead: Long Live Camper Van Beethoven... .. In 2002, Camper Van Beethoven reunited for a nationwide tour on what seemed like a whim, occasioned by a closet-cleaning belated issue of a song-by-song cover of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, an album they'd recorded as a joke back in 1987. The tour must have gone really well, because unexpectedly, the full band -- the original lineup of David Lowery on vocals and guitar, violinist Jonathan Segel, guitarist Greg Lisher, bassist Victor Krummenacher, and drummer Chris Pedersen, with alumni Chris Molla and Monks of Doom cohort David Immergluck pitching in -- trooped into the studio to record an all new album that, surprisingly enough, stands with the group's finest work. A loosely connected semi-rock opera telling the story of a Texas teenager who joins the military after a 9/11-like event, becomes disillusioned, and joins an anti-government militia, this is the most explicitly political record of Camper Van Beethoven's career, resurrecting and amplifying the themes that colored the band's last two albums, Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart and Key Lime Pie. While some of Lowery's trademark surrealist jokes and hilarious one-liners factor into these songs, there's an undeniable darkness to the album, both lyrically (the story seems to end with the ex-soldier becoming a suicide bomber) and musically. The band's usual forays into faux-ethnic instrumentals, country, and psychedelia are less lighthearted than before, but their tour-sharpened chops are intact, making this the tightest, best-sounding album of their career. In particular, the sardonically folky "Militia Song," the deep-psych swirl of "I Hate This Part of Texas," and "Come Out," which is built upon Steve Reich's 1966 tape-loop piece of the same title, show the group's effortless eclecticism, and the bitter "Might Makes Right" and the Twin Peaks-quoting "That Gum You Like Is Back in Style" are as good as any songs Camper Van Beethoven did in the '80s. Like their fellow college rock stars Mission of Burma and Antietam did earlier in 2004, Camper Van Beethoven have pulled off the difficult trick of not only reuniting, but picking up exactly where they had left off...





High Noon Saloon (View)
701 E. Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53703
United States



Minimum Age: 21
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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