Camper Van Beethoven called it quits just a little soon. As stalwarts of the late 1980s alternative rock scene, the California band once ranked amongst such luminary alt-rockers as REM and The Cure. Sadly the band called it quits before they could capitalize on the 1990s alternative explosion. But fret not, the band is reunited and playing Chop Suey in Seattle on May 29. So skip the bowling excursion and take the skinheads to see Camper Van Beethoven.
Camper Van Beethoven is an American alternative rock group formed in Redlands, California in 1983 and later located in Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Their eclectic and ever-evolving style mixes elements of pop, ska, punk rock, folk, alternative country, and various types of world music. The band initially polarized audiences within the hardcore punk scene of California’s Inland Empire before finding wider acceptance and, eventually, an international audience. Their strong iconoclasm and emphasis on do-it-yourself values proved influential to the burgeoning indie rock movement.
Released within an 18 month period, the band’s first three independent records enjoyed critical success, each placing in The Village Voice’s 1986 Pazz and Jop Top 100 Albums list. Their debut single, “Take the Skinheads Bowling”, remains a college rock radio staple. The group signed to Virgin Records in 1987, released two lauded albums and enjoyed chart success with their 1989 cover of Status Quo’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men”, a number one hit on Billboard Magazine’s Modern Rock Tracks. They disbanded the following year, however, due to internal tensions.
Individual members found greater commercial success thereafter, with lead singer David Lowery forming Cracker, multi-instrumentalist David Immerglück joining the Counting Crows, and several other members playing in Monks of Doom. Beginning in 1999, the former members resumed their collaboration, resulting in a full-fledged reunion and several new releases.
Tickets are $20.97, $23.09 day of show, and available here. And if you hurry, you still have time to make your way to West Seattle to catch Camper Van Beethoven’s in store appearance at Easy Street Records, at 7:30 p.m. May 28.
“Take the Skinheads Bowling” – Camper Van Beethoven