Where Have Those Days Gone
April 26, 2011 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Dave Lowery, lead singer and guitarist in Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, has a new side project: he's started blogging at 300songs.com. Recent topics include the bands, the labels (both the good and the bad), and what it's like to make a living as a musician, even if you have to sell out to do it.
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty (33 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
From the "Bizarre facts not directly related to the topic of the post" category: Lowery was also on the board of advisors for the company that eventually became Groupon.
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 4:11 PM on April 26, 2011

This AskMefi post just caused be to do a decades-delayed figurative spit-take as I realized what that long-known name might have come from.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:12 PM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Worth it just for the sub-title of the sell out link:

“Always have a ground floor meeting with Suge Knight.“
posted by joe lisboa at 4:15 PM on April 26, 2011

(Due diligence: I don’t believe that www.pitchfork.com actually exists. I think it’s a some sort of unexplained atmospheric oddity like the Marfa Lights or it’s actually a parody site created by “The Onion” with the aid of semi-sentient machines).

(Due diligence two: As far as magnet magazine goes, I’m glad they stopped making a print issue because it was starting to freak me out. Each cover was exactly the same: Nick Cave! But they would just have him wear a different shirt. It was like groundhogs day. Nobody else was noticing and it was really really starting to FUCKING FREAK ME OUT. I swear I’m not making this up).

These two things, plus KEY LIME PIE, will always make me look upon David Lowery with considerable affection.
posted by mykescipark at 4:18 PM on April 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

In case you're looking for a particular song: a fan-created index.

(Hard to pick out the best part of the blog, but I really love the David Byrne story!)
posted by xil at 4:34 PM on April 26, 2011

Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart is one of the greatest albums of all time.

I have been listening to it since 1988. In 1989, when I was 14, Camper Van Beethoven played the Ritz in New York City, and I got in by calling the club, telling them I was my Dad, and saying it was ok for them to let me in. A bouncer advised me to do this.

I saw David Lowery open for Reverend Horton Heat last year, here in DC at the 9:30 Club. He was in the balcony section after his set. I went up to tell him, while the music was playing, how much his music has meant to me and for so long. And then I realized he must be completely deaf--I had his attention, but he couldn't hear a thing I said.

Rock on, David Lowery. I will go see him until we are both too old to stand.
posted by oneironaut at 5:15 PM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Camper Van is great, but I want to put in a good word for Cracker's Kerosene Hat. It's one of the few albums from my middle school years that have withstood the test of time.
posted by Rangeboy at 5:19 PM on April 26, 2011

In 1989, when I was 14, Camper Van Beethoven played the Ritz in New York City

And Scruffy the Cat was the opening band! I was there, too!

Small world.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:19 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love the story about Henry Rollins. Also Lowery's spot-on descriptions of Richmond.

I was never a Cracker fan, nor a Camper Van Beethoven fan, but his blog made me buy The Palace Guards. It's never going to be my favorite album, but I've enjoyed it quite a bit.

I am also disappointed that he hasn't updated since Jan. 31.
posted by darksong at 5:20 PM on April 26, 2011

Bless you, dvorak_beats_qwerty.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:22 PM on April 26, 2011

Rangeboy, you are so right.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:24 PM on April 26, 2011

I am a huge fan of CVB and Cracker and my heart skipped a beat reading the first line fearing it to be an obit post.
posted by sourwookie at 5:24 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Camper Van is great, but I want to put in a good word for Cracker's Kerosene Hat. It's one of the few albums from my middle school years that have withstood the test of time.

Cracker's eponymous album still makes it back into my rotation now and then.
posted by stp123 at 5:29 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

She Divines Water is one of the few songs that have featured in particularly memorable epic dreams I've had.

"The North Pole is 21 kilometers closer to the center of the earth than a point on the equator. And then it has a lot of bulges here and there. That’s what makes it NOT a Oblate Spheroid. Also it has the teeniest wobble."

This is no mere blog. This is an uber-blog.
posted by MrVisible at 5:30 PM on April 26, 2011


David Lowery is awesome, CVB was awesome, and I'm going to listen to Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart right now because fuck Henry Rollins.
posted by Mikey-San at 5:34 PM on April 26, 2011

[holy SHIT this is good]
posted by infinitewindow at 5:42 PM on April 26, 2011

Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart is one of my favorite albums ever.

Additionally When I Win The Lottery is some of my favorite lyrics ever and Jack Ruby is some of my favorite drumming.
posted by sourwookie at 5:57 PM on April 26, 2011

"Teen Angst" is a song that makes me happy. I appreciate the snarky attitude.
posted by happyroach at 6:10 PM on April 26, 2011

If you are a fan of either bands, this blog is simply amazing. Lowery has always been
an intelligent anomaly is music, and this is eloquent and entertaining as all hell.
posted by gcbv at 6:10 PM on April 26, 2011

"Eurotrash Girl" never fails to bring a smile (and wince) to my face.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:13 PM on April 26, 2011

To read these articles about songs I not only love but have absolutely internalized--some of them for decades--is actually touching me in a way I didn't expect.
posted by sourwookie at 6:14 PM on April 26, 2011

This is an awesome post. Big fan here, for years... and such a timely post too! Earlier today, I just bought tickets to see Cracker/CamperVanBeethoven in Atlanta May 13! =-) Thank you for posting!
posted by DizzyLeaf at 6:19 PM on April 26, 2011

I wrote extensively about both bands about a year or two ago, even going to far as to imagine what New Roman Times would have been like if it were an actual staged musical.

There's a great CVB box set that features, among other things, a live CD called "Greatest Hits Played Faster" or some such. The version of "All Her Favorite Fruit" and the aforementioned "When I Win The Lottery" on that particular CD are fantastic and well worth tracking down.

Three of my favorite Lowery tunes:

"My Life Is Totally Boring Without You" by Cracker

"Big Dipper" by Cracker

"Tania" by Camper Van Beethoven (which works great on the radio preceded immediately by "Babooshka" by Kate Bush)

I realize I could easily make this thirty favorite tunes, so I'll leave it at those three. Anyhow, great bands and Lowery himself is awesome.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:21 PM on April 26, 2011

Key Lime Pie still staggers me.
posted by Zerowensboring at 7:48 PM on April 26, 2011

Swear to god, I met David Lowery in a laundromat back in the early 90's when CVP was touring for Key Lime Pie, they did an after-show thing at the laundromat near my house and hardly anyone was there. I was so surprised that not everyone was as into CVP as I was. I grew up on Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (until Oh Brother Where Art Thou came out, I thought DL wrote "Oh Death"). All Her Favorite Fruit is one of my all-time favorite songs. Now David blogs. He is so freaking AWESOME.
posted by msali at 8:10 PM on April 26, 2011

What the world needs now is another folk singer, like I need a hole in my head.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:26 PM on April 26, 2011

Yes wyoming
Makes me nervous
posted by Sailormom at 8:48 PM on April 26, 2011

Eye of Fatima is the perfect soundtrack for driving an International Harvester pickup across western Wyoming, when it's just you and the antelope. Except it's too short and you have to keep rewinding your walkman (The truck of course just has an AM radio) while keeping your eyes on the road so you don't end up in the ditch miles from everything. God damn I am old.
posted by gamera at 9:21 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

It’s interesting to note that around this time Henry Rollins singled me out at a private club party in LA and proceeded to tell me how he hated Camper Van Beethoven. We were standing near each other and someone introduced pointed me out to him (wouldn’t really call it an introduction). He did not understand why we covered Wasted. He said it was an insult to Black Flag and repeated that he Hated us. Several times. This was not a punk rebel railing against the corporate music business machine or some great injustice. This was a petulant internationally famous punk idol bullying an obscure band’s singer in public for sport and amusement. A bully. Exactly what he looked like.

A weird thing happened next. It was like an out of body experience. I remember I laughed and then was surprised at the eloquence of what i said. something like ” I like your band. Now I don’t like you. But thanks for one thing. For showing me I do have the self confidence to do this. And assholes like you won’t stop me.” I didn’t even walk away. I started chatting to some of the people he was with. Beside he came over to me. I wasn’t moving.

But i really should thank him. Perhaps my eloquence at the time was due to the fact i was getting one of those great life lessons. A moment when everything changes. I suddenly realized there were no wise men. No gentle greybeards to guide me along. There were no grownups in the room. The doors suddenly swung open wide. Now everything was possible. I was really ready to rock. Something inside me said “bring it on.”

Shit be strangely moving, dog.
posted by Sebmojo at 10:04 PM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Hey, yeah. Head over to archive.org for free downloads of a few CVB concerts, including some stuff from the 80s.

posted by Celsius1414 at 8:23 AM on April 27, 2011

In 1989, when I was 14, Camper Van Beethoven played the Ritz in New York City

And Scruffy the Cat was the opening band! I was there, too!

Small world.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:19 PM

Scruffy the Cat...now there was a band that you could kick some dirt with! It's so weird to think you have your own little, private world of music memories, and give up on thinking that anybody else was there for the quick dream it now seems to have been. It's fun to hear that isn't the case. I LIKE hearing that other people like(d) the music I like(d). Back then, it was hard to find each other. You just had to go to the show. And then to the next show.

I saw CVB with The New Duncan Imperials in Louisville (I think in '89). The New Duncan Imperials were notorious for their drunken, bizarre shows. After their show, they offered to take whoever wanted to come along to White Castle before CVB was due to play. Everybody thought it was a joke, but about 20 of us (who also expected it was a joke) followed them out to their bus. We went to White Castle. They waited for everybody to order and then paid for everything. Not everybody ended getting their food though...the band said we had to go...that there was no way they were going to miss any of the CVB show.
posted by nickjadlowe at 8:46 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Back in the early 90's I was waiting tables at The Coffee Exchange in Charlottesville. Now Charlottesville has always had a good music scene and an over-inflated opinion of itself. A lot of the patrons were UVA alumni and conservative so when a guy walked in sporting blue dreads I made it a mission to get his table. I walked up to him and said, "you must be here for the IBM convention" and without missing a beat he replied, "I'm actually presenting on self-actualization but it's at a concert, wanna come?" And Dave Lowery gave me tickets to his show. Funny, humble guy and a great talent.

And, you should check out "Oh Cracker Where Art Thou?" for Leftover Salmon's bluegrass covers of Cracker songs. "Teen Angst" and "Low" on banjos? You betcha and they kick ass!
posted by skepticbill at 12:56 PM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Tusk was a disappointment.

/me runs for cover.
posted by whuppy at 5:53 PM on April 27, 2011

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