On the road again: CVB celebrate at Starr Hill
It’s been awhile since last we saw Camper Van Beethoven take their act on the road. The group have paid their dues on the touring circuit. For those who may be unfamiliar, CVB have long been a national act, although in recent years the band has been absent from the road because members have had conflicting projects.
Originally formed in 1983 by vocalist David Lowery, guitarist Chris Molla, and bassist Victor Krummenacher, CVB made their first mark in California when they brought their unique sound to the west coast punk scene. Although not a punk group, they were offered gigs with bands such as The Dead Kennedys and Butthole Surfers. By drawing together elements of ska, country, tex-mex, and folk, they were able to branch out with their sound and appeal to a wider audience.
In 1985 they recorded their first album, following that with two more full-length records the next year. But it was their third album that was their meal ticket. The self-titled project garnered much critical acclaim and led to national tours with bands such as R.E.M. and 10,000 Maniacs.
Virgin Records picked up the group in 1988. CVB released two albums with the major, but their bid was short lived when the band completely dissolved during a European tour in 1990. Lowery went on to form Cracker, while Victor Kummenacher joined forces with Greg Lisher and Chris Pedersen for three albums as Monks of Doom.
1990 was the last anyone really heard of Camper Van Beethoven until the group resurfaced for a few shows in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in 2002 to promote the release of “Tusk,” a note-for-note cover of the Fleetwood Mac record of the same name. Late last year the band elevated themselves to the prestigious ranks of “artists who can release a box set”– November 2002 saw the release of the limited edition Camper Van Beethoven box set, which includes four previously released albums and a live album.
CVB kick off 2003 with their first legit road outing in over 10 years with a show right here in Charlottesville at Starr Hill Music Hall. The tour is in direct support of the box-set release– so expect to hear the group play long-time favorites such as “Take The Skinheads Bowling,” “Sad Lovers Waltz,” and “Joe Stalin’s Cadillac.” It’s been a while but it damn sure will be nice to see if these boys from Redlands, California, still have it in them.