In the fecund college-rock scene of the 1980s, Camper Van Beethoven from Redlands, California, were the experimenters, unafraid to delve into collisions of ska beats and gypsy fiddling and songs with titles such as The Day That Lassie Went To The Moon.
They were also funny as hell: sarcastic, free-associative and just plain goofy.
They formed in California in 1983 around the core of singer/songwriter David Lowery and bassist Victor Krummenacher. The duo grew to include Chris Molla (guitar), Chris Pedersen (drums), Greg Lisher (guitar) and a key addition with Jonathan Segel (violin/keyboards/mandolin).
By 1985 they had a repertoire of songs drawing on folk, ska, punk, rock and everything in between, which they threw into a melting pot to produce their debut album Telephone Free Landslide Victory, featuring what would be hailed as their signature song, Take The Skinheads Bowling.
Because the band considered their next album to be both their second and third albums they titled it II & III (1987).
Their growing popularity gained them a major-label contract with Virgin Records, and 1988 saw the release of their 4th album – Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart – after which, Chris Molla left the band.
Their next release, Key Lime Pie, saw the departure of Jonathan Segel, who was replaced by Morgan Fichter. The band called it a day soon thereafter with Dave Lowery forming Cracker.
Camper Van Beethoven returned in 2004 with New Roman Times (their first studio album in fifteen years) documenting a parallel-reality America full of civil war, right-wing assholes, suicide bombers and burnouts getting loopy on narcotic flowers.
Violin, keyboards, mandolin