Camper Van Beethoven
Originally known as Camper Van Beethoven and the Border Patrol, the Santa Cruz/San Francisco Alternative Rock group shortened their name in '85. Their sound was literally all over the map. Middle Eastern, Indian, Eastern European, Mexican, Ska and even Country styles were present.
Camper Van Beethoven's debut album, "Telephone Free Landslide Victory," was notable for the college radio hit, "Take The Skinheads Bowling." There was also "The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon." The title alone made it a classic.
Two more albums, both released in '86, "II & III" and "Camper Van Beethoven" were issued before the group signed with Virgin Records. With producer Dennis Herring, Camper Van Beethoven's experimental side gave way to a more polished, streamlined sound on 87's "Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart." The single "Eye Of Fatima" was a minor MTV hit.
However, a cover of the Status Quo's "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" on "Key Lime Pie" went to #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart. That was the group's only chart topper.
Internal tension caused Camper Van Beethoven to disband in '90. Frontman David Lowery formed Cracker. Guitarist David Immergluck, who joined in '90, worked with Counting Crows before officially joining the group in '99. That same year Camper Van Beethoven reformed.
They released the double-CD "Tusk," a re-recording of the entire Fleetwood Mac album of the same name in '02. Also, Teenage Fanclub's cover of "Take The Skinheads Bowling" was used as the title track for Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine.
Two years later, Camper Van Beethoven issued the concept album, "New Roman Times," which revolved around disenchantment and terrorism. It was the group's first studio album of original material in 15 years.
'05 saw the launch of the annual three-night "Campout" in Pioneertown, CA with Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven hosting and performing along with other groups and performers.
Another long spell between studio albums ended when "La Costa Perdida" dropped in early '13. The album featured the reunited lineup of Lowery, Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher, Chris Pedersen, Jonathan Segel and former Cracker drummer Michael Urbano.
"The songs have great energy, but we're more relaxed and stately and a lot more confident," claimed Krummenacher. "The songwriting here has elements of vintage Camper along with grown-up Camper."
1985 Telephone Free Landslide Victory
1986 II & III
1986 Camper Van Beethoven
1988 Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
1989 Key Lime Pie
2004 New Roman Times
2013 La Costa Perdida