Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven

Friday, August 18, 2006, 11:46 —by Eddie Phanichkul
This item was posted in General, San Diego Concerts and Music, San Diego Events category and has 4 Comments so far.

When was the last time anyone heard anything about Cracker or Camper Van Beethoven? For those asking themselves who, or what they are, let me simply say they are a band. Two bands to be exact–one born from the love of the sea from La Jolla to Pismo to Santa Cruz, and one that became the poster child for early-to-mid 90s alternarock. Some may remember songs such as “Low,” in which Sandra Bernhardt and the band duke it out. And the kiddy-punk kids will definitely remember “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” a song I, myself, have covered in small venues and coffee shops numerous times. The song was also prominently featured in Michael Moore’s quasi-documentary film Bowling for Columbine, which is great if you want to be utterly depressed at the state of our union.

Cracker and Camper recently played at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. They swing by every year, once or twice, depending on what they feel like. So you may be asking yourself now, why do I refer to both bands together? David Lowery, front man to Camper in the late 80s, eventually formed Cracker in the 90s. While Cracker enjoyed a decade of hits, David Lowery and fellow Camper Van Beethoven members decided to crawl out from under the rocky batcave that kept them in stasis and release new songs and new albums. So now Cracker and Camper tour together sometimes–not as often as President Bush takes vacations, but enough to keep the general population happy.

Camper opened for Cracker last Wednesday night at the Belly Up. I caught some of the new stuff, and relished the old. “Take the Skinheads Bowling” was played, and so was “Pictures of Matchstick Men.” When Cracker came on 30 minutes later, some familiar faces took the stage (again). Cracker and Camper now share a lead singer (Lowery) and a fine percussionist, Frank Funaro. Cracker played all the great songs we’ve come to know and love such as “Euro Trash Girl,” “Another Song About the Rain,” and the ever popular “Low.” Mixed between the old stuff was an array of new songs from the new album Greenland, the first studio album since 2002. I must say, it’s quite rockin’. I highly recommend it for it’s indie/rock/alternative feel. It’s got the classic blues and rock guitar, mixed with the edge of old-school Cracker.

You can see Cracker’s tour dates on, which will contain links for Camper Van Beethoven as well. The big news is that you can see them both at the 2nd Annual Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven Campout, held in Pioneertown. It’s the town that Gene Autry built. The campout will feature amazing indie artists, blues, rock, alternative, and country for two straight days of rocking out. A weekend pass is merely $42.00 and the show is growing every year.

Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven are here to stay.

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4 Responses to “Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven”

  1. Jeff said on Friday, August 18, 2006, 12:28

    If by rocky batcave you mean David Lowery’s ego, then you’d be right. I saw CVB’s next to last show before they called it quits in 1990 and all you heard at the time was that it was all Lowery’s fault. I’ve read interviews in recent years in which he pretty much admits it. But you’re right, a great band that deserves more credit than they get.

  2. Eddie Phanichkul said on Friday, August 18, 2006, 12:47

    David is actually a great guy. I neglected to say I had dinner with Frank, Kenny, and David and we spent the evening talking about model rockets and my new band, so I wouldn’t really know about the man with the ego from 1990.

  3. Jeff said on Friday, August 18, 2006, 13:13

    I’m sure he is a good guy, but I think it’s just one of those things that happens in a band. Think Uncle Tupelo.

  4. JeSais said on Friday, August 18, 2006, 14:03

    wow. bummed I missed that show! I need to get out more. Musta been fun.

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