Monthly Archives: September 2016



Watch Datura4’s Trippy New ‘Fools Gold Rush’ Video
Western Australian rock ‘n’ roll purists, Datura4, have just let loose the latest single from their forthcoming new album, Hairy Mountain.

The track, “Fools Gold Rush”, builds in true ’70s psych-rock form, swirling from guitar-led turmoil to shoegaze clearings of reflection. The clip aptly follows that lead, overlapping shadowed performance shots with grainy VHS dream sequences, colour burst from the blurred, memory-thinning snaps.

Hairy Mountain is the follow-up to last year’s acclaimed debut, Demon Blues, and set for release October 28th, with limited edition “hand-mixed starburst” vinyl available for pre-order now.




PREMIERE: James Leg — “Blood on the Keys”

Singer/songwriter James Leg is an artist we’ve loved for a while. The singer with the booming, soulful vocals is releasing a new album this week and we’re premiering the title track,”Blood on the Keys,” from that collection. As you can hear above, Leg is at his bombastic best, allowing his howling vocals to shine over a keyboard.

“‘Blood On The Keys’ is a kinda gutter gospel,” Leg says of the tune. About lookin and not seein… seekin and not findin.”

James Leg’s Blood On The Keys is out on September 30 via Alive Naturalsound Records.




Love Is Lost Apparition In Hoots and Hellmouth’s Beautiful ‘Diction’ Video
By Luke O Neil

There can be a sense of the paranormal to love. Things happen, or appear to you, where you aren’t sure if you actually experienced them as you felt, or if they were ever even there in the first place? And the tools we have to figure that our are inadequate to the task. The video for “Diction” from Philadelphia’s Hoots and Hellmouth turns out that premise, as a woman wanders the forest, looking for data on an apparition from her past.

“‘Diction’ is an old friend that’s been with me for many years at this point,” the band’s Sean Hoots explains. “Its iterations have continued to inspire while the underlying essence remains unchanged: a longing for the loss of something you very well may never have possessed.”

“The video is a masterful rendering of this sentiment by our friend and filmmaker Stavros Stavropoulos,” he goes on. “The cast, which to me includes not only the principal human actors, but the forest setting as well, orbits, collides, and spins out and away from one another. Fittingly, the song ends abruptly, unfinished, leaving us desiring a sense of completion that never comes.”

Hoots and Hellmouth’s In The Trees is out October 28th.




PREMIERE: M. Ross Perkins — “Ever Ever Ever”

M. Ross Perkins may hail from Dayton, but his sound is distinctly influenced and sounds like it could have been crafted in Southern California in the ’60s. Growing up on the same street as The Snake Pit, the basement studio of Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices). His early material was discovered in 2007 by the band MGMT, who offered him a touring support slot when they were on the rise, but Perkins declined the shows due to anxiety. Perkins channels his groovy sound on his new video for “Ever Ever Ever,” which is a hazy clip that takes place in several rooms, and is shot in a specific, lo-fi fashion.

“I wanted to begin the video with a shot of the building’s exterior, so that when the door opened, I would be revealed within a rectangular frame,” the singer/songwriter explains. “I stole the idea from Hitchcock, who used this type of frame-within-frame composition to represent the finite box of the film screen. I’m interested in how this technique creates an often unsettling sense of displacement for the audience by forcing us to perceive ourselves as tertiary spectators, rather than fully immersed participators in the film’s universe. We also included a few shots of me playing guitar as a subtle way of symbolizing that I both own and play a guitar.”

M Ross Perkins’ self-titled debut album will be released on October 14 via SofaBurn Records. Pre-order the vinyl and CD.





According to Rodney Parker…

“For me, this record is a sort of breakthrough. As I get older and also mature as a musician, I realize that the best music is made with an open mind. I think in the past I have been closed. Maybe a lot of us were. Closed to new ideas. Closed to new players. Closed to anything other than what I had already planned out in my head. Over time and especially on this record I have come to see how limiting that mindset is. Who cares what I had thought a song was supposed to be? Nobody. So with Bomber Heights the attitude was the opposite: Let’s all write together. Let’s see where the song takes us, and try every idea. Let’s call up all these badasses we know and get them in the studio and see what they come up with. I think the end result is the best thing we’ve ever done. And I only want to make records this way from now on.”



Album art: Art Chantry



Ohio Knife is a punch you in the gut, unforgiving, rock n’ roll band hailing from the great midwestern city of Cincinnati, USA. Utilizing off-the-beaten-path tunings, Ohio Knife’s Jason Snell brings raspy, two-toned vocals and spooky, soulful, trashy guitars as Joe Suer drops an ass-load of low-end drums and Scotty Wood provides all the thumping low-end bass you could ever wish for in rock.

Ohio Knife’s new album “Scalp Or Be Scalped” will be available October 21st on vinyl, CD and digital formats.


OHIO KNIFE (credit: Matt Dorman)


1. Wish I Knew

2. Day And Night

3. I Found Out

4. Be The Dark

5. Tonight We Ride

6. WWP

7. Struggle And…

8. Creation Museum

9. Special Plan

10. Indian Summer





James Leg Unleashes Reckless, Rock ‘N Roll Fury on “Human Lawn Dart”

In the Black Diamond Heavies, the Immortal Lee County Killers, the Cut In The Hill Gang, he was John Wesley Myers. Now, you can lose the formality and call him- simply- James Leg, a moniker for a sneering, whiskey fueled, son-of-a-preacher, punk rocker of a long gone order. Barely off the heels of his 2015 sophomore release, Below The Belt— for which Elmore dubbed Leg “Part Howlin’ Wolf, part Iggy Pop… the new standard-bearer for the rebels”—Leg is getting ready to release his third solo album, Blood On The Keys, September 30th via Alive Naturalsound Records. Like Below the Belt, he took to Masonic Sounds- located in a Masonic Lodge- in Dayton, KY, then sent the album to SodaCuts in East LA, where it was mixed by Jason Soda, who’s worked with GospelbeacH, Everest and Jakob Dylan.

Today, Elmore is premiering “Human Lawn Dart,” a track from the upcoming release. “When I was younger I used to fly a hang glider off Lookout Mountain in North Georgia fairly often,” Leg says of the track’s inspiration. “They got a club/society down there called Mongo Aviation Human Lawn Darts… initiation if you crash and live. I’m a member.” The cut starts out in a wash of fuzzy, distorted guitars and heavy percussion, steeped in the reckless, devil-may-care attitude that you can imagine fueled Leg to throw himself off a cliff as a kid. Soon Leg’s strained howl chimes in, chewing on the barely discernible words with viscous energy. Somehow the muffled vocals and carefully restrained vision don’t keep the song from rocking with a head-banging, searing fury; rather, the track radiates an almost-unhinged tension, as if it’s always one lick away from flying fully off the rails.

Follow Leg on Facebook, check out his southern tour dates below and give “Human Lawn Dart” a spin.

10/15 – Clarksdale, Mississippi – Deep Blues Festival – Shackup Inn

10/16 – Birmingham, Alabama – TBC

10/17 – Chattanooga, Tennessee – JJ’s – with Mark Holder & MPH and Dirty Deep



Here’s some of the recent media coverage for Flamin’ Groovies’ three shows over Labor Day weekend in San Diego, Los Angeles & Phoenix…

IF I WERE U: Flamin’ Groovies, Lemuria and more San Diego concerts we’re stoked about this week
PLAN A: Flamin’ Groovies, The Pandoras, The Loons, DJs Pat and Lety Beers @ The Casbah. The Flamin’ Groovies became cult power-pop legends in the 1970s, thanks to some pitch-perfect guitar jams like “Shake Some Action.” Don your best mod gear and soak in the jangle.

Awesomefest, TeePee revue, Flamin’ freakin’ Groovies and the best of the rest in San Diego clubs this weekend
By Barnaby Monk
Friday 2
Though Flamin’ Groovies came together as teens in late-’60s San Francisco, it wasn’t to play the psychedelic music of the day but something more rooted in American blues and R&B and polished by British contemporaries like the Beatles, Stones, and Kinks. The Groovies were/are progenitors of power-pop and punk rock. On and off for nearly 50 years, the Groovies have since 2013 been on the road revisiting — and introducing a new school of fans to — the material from their early catalog, especially the one-two punch of Teenage Head (1971) and Shake Some Action (1976). As far as we’re concerned, those records tell the Groovies’ story best. Give ’em a listen and we’ll see you on Friday night at Casbah, where L.A. ladies the Pandoras and our own Loons fill the retro bill….

LISTEN SD (San Diego A&E site)
Friday, September 2 The Flamin’ Groovies, The Pandoras, The Loons – The Casbah
Presented by Ugly Things Magazine and Burger Records!
The bluesy rock band the Flamin’ Groovies got their start in the 60s. What started as a reunion tour in 2013 became a full blown return of the legendary band.

Flamin’ Groovies this Sat. 9/3 @ Bootleg Theater
By Falling James
Flamin’ Groovies’ coolly driving new Burger Records single, “Crazy Macy,” is the latest release in a 50-year career of reviving the spirit of early, straight-ahead rock & roll. The San Francisco band were a power-pop force before the genre even had a name, and they were prescient enough to invite the then-unknown Ramones along on landmark tours of England and California in the mid-’70s. While the current lineup doesn’t include founding guitarist Roy Loney, it does feature longtime members Cyril Jordan, George Alexander and Chris Wilson. Although the late spitfire Paula Pierce was the heart and soul of The Pandoras, this new reunion of surviving members nonetheless works because replacement singer Kim Shattuck (The Muffs) has a similarly feral vocal attack. San Diego’s Loons also are retro-minded yet energetic garage-rock true believers.

GRIMY GOODS (L.A. music site)
September 3 — Flamin’ Groovies at the Bootleg this Sat. Sep 3rd!
’60s/70’s power pop legends Flamin’ Groovies are well known for their rock n’ roll cult classic Shake Some Action and now that action is back in full force! 2016 marks the band’s 50th anniversary and they’re celebrating in a big way, including a forthcoming new album featuring the recently released singles “Crazy Macy” and “Let Me Rock” via Burger Records. FG are also putting the final touches on a documentary but why wait for that to drop, witness these musical legends live and in the flesh! The Pandoras and The Loons support.

Locey’s Picks – Flamin’ Groovies, the Pandoras this Sat. at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles

The Flamin’ Groovies Were A Rock Band That Came A Decade Too Late

The Flamin’ Groovies would prefer to take the oft-bestowed label as one of the “greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands you’ve never heard of” and kick it to the curb.

And yet, 50 years since their humble San Francisco beginnings, this sincere, yet dubious distinction given to them may be be the kind of infamy that rewards them with an equally unlikely rock ‘n’ roll rebirth to once again “bust out at full speed.”

The group has shared the stage with David Bowie, the Ramones, the Yardbirds, the Kinks, Iggy Pop, MC5, the Velvet Underground, and many more. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Paul McCartney are fans.

How does such a band fly under the radar that long with those connections? Better yet, how and why have they persevered without record sales, fat recording contracts, and mass pop appeal?

“If I had known all this shit that I found out about trying to do this trip when I was 14, I probably wouldn’t have done this,” says band founder and leader Cyril Jordan, who just turned 68 and works 12-hour shifts at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre. “It’s a fucking nightmare. It’s too late for me to stop doing it. I’m too good at it. I don’t want to brag, but I got Mick Jagger drooling 40 years ago.”

(Yes, Mick Jagger allegedly said that the Flamin’ Groovies had done a better modern blues than the Stones, when comparing the Stones’ 1971 Sticky Fingers to the Flamin’ Groovies’ Teenage Head albums.)

The story of this band got a video treatment by filmmakers William “Billy” Tyler Smith and Kurt Feldhun. Their documentary, The Incredible Flamin’ Groovies is tracing their comeback.

The doc, which is tentatively slated to hit the film-festival circuit and hopefully cable TV next spring, unfolds via interviews and concert footage from Smith, an award-winning filmmaker, who with the editing expertise of Feldhun recently completed a documentary about Doors’ keyboard player and producer Ray Manzarek.

“I met them and got a good vibe,” Smith recalls when he first set up some test shots in Brooklyn with the band. “It’s really important you don’t make a doc if the people are uncomfortable in front of the camera. If you got people who don’t open up, it’s difficult. Their personalities are so different that it works.”

Feldhun, an award-winning director, producer, editor, and composer who has worked with Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Bad Brains, agrees.

When Feldhun and Smith did some test shots at a local Hoboken New Jersey, show at the fabled Maxwell’s, the two filmmakers knew they were onto something new and original.

“As soon as I saw Cyril’s interview and how outspoken he was — nothing hidden, it’s all out there, and it’s a great story,” admits Feldhun. “It’s lifelong rock-and-rollers. The whole story was like truth is stranger than fiction, and you can’t make this stuff up.”

The band sprouted up during the mid-’60s, energized by the Beatles’ swan-song concert at Candlestick Park in 1966. This was in the face the psychedelic sounds of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Undaunted, young guitarist/songwriters Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney hit the ground rocking, playing with bass/harmonica player George Alexander, guitarist Tim Lynch, and drummer Danny Mihm.

Their unique throwback style of ’50s rhythm and blues and boogie-woogie swagger snagged them a major record deal on Epic for Supersnazz in 1969. This followed their Sneakers EP in 1968.

But it wasn’t until the 1971 release of Teenage Head that the band showed some real swagger. Memorable numbers “High-Flyin’ Baby” and the title track “Teenage Head” got them as much notice in the U.K. as it did in the U.S.

Teenage Head was down-and-dirty unapologetic rock, in contrast to the more soulful Stones’ release. Unfortunately, Sticky Fingers went triple platinum and Teenage Head did not.

While working with British rocker/producer David Edmunds at the famous Wales-area Rockfield Studio, the band found its greatest success with the 1976 album Shake Some Action. The album reached number 142 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.

Follow-up albums Now in 1978 and Jumpin’ in the Night would garner even more international fans, yet the band’s slow disintegration began. Sire Records’ Seymour Stein began pouring money into younger punk bands like The Ramones, whom the Groovies had taken on multiple tours. The writing was on the wall financially, and Wilson split.

“After 10 years of hitting our heads against the wall, and coming out with what we thought were very commercial songs, we were just very frustrated and couldn’t see any end to it,” Wilson recalls.

Jordan and Alexander forged ahead. Several other band members filed in and out. A more punk version of “Shake Some Action” made it onto an MTV rotation by 1992, yet with no supporting label, no money, and a broken band, the group disbanded.

Wilson moved to London and began a longtime stint with surf band the Barracudas. Jordan hung up his guitar, and Alexander put away his bass and went to work for the post office.

“It was incredibly devastating,” shares Jordan, who turned to his affinity for creating Mickey Mouse comic illustrations for Disney. “I couldn’t listen to the Beatles’ records anymore. It was too painful. I couldn’t listen to the Stones. I couldn’t listen to anyone. Something that I thought was going to be forever was this beautiful fuckin’ music. All of a sudden, it just died.”

A series of events would lead them back. The first boost came when a cover of “Shake Some Action” was performed by Cracker for the 1995 movie Clueless. Royalties from this song would help fund the band’s eventual revival.

In 2004, Jordan led a formation of the Groovies to Spain for the Azkena Rock Festival with the likes of the New York Dolls, Violent Femmes, and Urge Overkill. Jordan and Loney reunited in 2008 and were playing with the veteran rockabilly band the A-Bones. In 2012, at a London A-Bones show, he and Wilson would bury the hatchet.

“There is something very, very strange and indefinable about how easy it was,” Jordan says of reuniting. “By the second day of rehearsal it was like 1981, the day after we broke up. Thirty-two years [later], time and space didn’t mean shit.”

“We just know what each other’s thinking musically,” notes Wilson of what makes them click as co-writers and bandmates. “When we are together, we correct each other’s mistakes and give each other inspiration. We feed off of each other.”

Through a series of similar meetups, the band reunited and re-formed. Not only has the band since played to packed houses across the U.S., but they’ve gotten similarly positive receptions in Japan, Spain, Australia, England, France, Sweden, and Belgium. They have also released two singles, “End of the World” in 2014, and “Crazy Macy” this past summer.

The Groovies will head to Annapolis, Maryland, to lay down some of the dozen newer tracks, for their first full-length album together since 1979’s Jumpin’ in the Night.

“It’s mind-boggling really. At our ages,” admits Wilson, who moved to Portland recently after three decades in London. “Victor is the youngest guy at 42, 43. I am 63, Cyril is 68, and George is 70. So we ain’t spring chickens. But we are hardened by seeing all these other bands. The Stones are all in their 60s and 70s.”

For Jordan, the future holds newfound opportunity for the band. His wish is not for fame and fortune though, even now.

“If we could write something and record something that these guys [the Stones and the Beatles] that we love would think is fucking incredible, then we have succeeded in what we had wanted to do in the beginning. Give them something back what they gave us.”

The Flamin’ Groovies come to Phoenix’s Rhythm Room this Sunday, September 4, for their first-ever Arizona show.

The Flamin’ Groovies Sun. Sep. 4th at Rhythm Room in Phoenix
The Flamin’ Groovies are one of the few bands to establish actual classics across several incarnations and generations. Their Teenage Head album is Stones-y rock & roll that should’ve been huge; their variously re-recorded “Slow Death” is an unkillable proto-punk monster; and then in 1976, they regrouped again around founding guitarist Cyril Jordan and singer-guitarist Chris Wilson and put out the ne plus ultra power-pop song, “Shake Some Action,” quite possibly the very definition of the form. In 2011, Jordan and co-founder Roy Loney did their first West Coast shows since 1984, delivering what amounted to a very-best-of set. These days, however, Jordan, Wilson and a highly capable crew will be performing a variety of hits and favorites from the bands ample discography. Don’t think of it as a reunion — it’s more like a revelation. By Chris Ziegler

The Flamin’ Groovies With The Rebel Set Sun 9/4 @ The Rhythm Room
The Flamin’ Groovies got their start in ’60s-era San Francisco under their original name, the Chosen Few. They went through some lineup changes over the years, but continued recording and touring through the 1980’s before finally splitting up in the early ’90s. The group reformed in 2013; original founding member and bassist George Alexander and early members Chris Wilson and Cyril Jordan being joined by new drummer Victor Penalosa, an excellent musician in his own right.

SILVER PLATTER (Phoenix AE site)
Flamin’ Groovies & The Rebel Set this Sun. Sep. 4th. at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix.
Yeah, I can’t believe it either. The Flamin’ Groovies are coming to the Rhythm Room! The story of The Flamin’ Groovies begins back in 1965 when the band began as The Chosen Few in their hometown of San Francisco, California. The band was founded by Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney, both on guitar and vocals. Their first release was the 1968 EP Sneakers, followed by their first full-length album in 1969 by the name of Supersnazz. The Flamin’ Groovies style of music influenced punk rock but may have had an even more profound influence on the power pop genre. This truly became evident on their third album Teenage Head, a disc that was released in 1971 and is listed in the 2006 book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”. Roy Loney left the band after that album was released and the band soldiered on, bringing the power pop more to the forefront. They put out a total of eight albums and five EPs before calling it quits in 1992.

There were two brief reunions in 2004 and 2008, but the big one came five years later in 2013 when the line-up of Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson on guitar and vocals (the member that originally replaced Roy Loney) and George Alexander on bass, harmonica and vocals played for the first time together since 1981. The formula worked and this line-up with the addition of Victor Penalosa on drums has played together ever since. What is even more amazing is to celebrate their FIFTIETH anniversary The Flamin’ Groovies released a 7-inch vinyl single entitled “Crazy Macy” on Record Store Day, April 16, 2016. Yes, that is new material from the band! This is one of those rare chances to see a true legend folks!

To get the evening rolling The Rebel Set from Phoenix will be onstage delivering a rip, roaring set of high octane garage rock. The band meshes together early sixties punk, surf, and psych to create their sound. Check out their 2014 album How To Make A Monster! for now and standy by for a new EP later this year! 21+ show


Here’s some of the amazing regional media love in for Cracker’s recent summer tour dates and annual Campout Music Festival with Camper Van Beethoven…

THE DESERT SUN (Palm Springs daily)
Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven lead Campout at Pappy’s
Bruce Fessier, The Desert Sun
High desert festival: The annual Campout may be the best little rock music festival in the desert. Emphasis on the world little.

Every year for the past 11 years, Redlands native David Lowery brings both of his bands, Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, to Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown for two days and nights of music with their friends. And, since Lowery used to have a cabin near Pioneertown, he and his childhood friend, Johnny Hickman of Cracker, have lots of friends in the area.

The fraternal spirit in the outdoor crowd is like a family reunion — but one in which everybody gets along. Most of the fans know the song lists by Camper and Cracker, including hits like “Take the Skinheads Bowling” and “Euro-Trash Girl,” and then there are offshoot acts from the headline bands, including the Hickman-Dalton Gang and Jonathan Segal from Camper, and local favorite Jessika Von Rabbit. Just as important as the ambiance, you can count on the music being good.

Campout 12, featuring Kolars, Hickman-Dalton Gang and Skylar Gudasz on Thursday, Camper Van Beethoven, Jessika Von Rabbit, Jonathan Segal and more on Friday; Cracker, Ike Reilly, Whiskey Gentry and more on Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m., Pappy & Harriet’s saloon, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown. $75 for three days, $25 for Friday or Saturday only. (760) 365-5956

PALM SPRINGS LIFE (Palm Springs daily)
Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven to host their 12th Annual 3-Day Campout Music Festival in Pioneertown
Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, along with many other great acts, will once again be rolling into the Joshua Tree region of California later next month to co-host their 12th annual CAMPOUT music festival.

THE DESERT SUN (Palm Springs daily)
It’s unofficially the start of the entertainment season
It’s still August, but we might as well officially pronounce this the start of the season.
There’s not one major festival, but two: Comic Con Palm Springs, with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, and Campout 12, featuring Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven.
Aug. 25-27: Campout 12, featuring Kolars, Hickman-Dalton Gang and Skylar Gudasz on Thursday, Camper Van Beethoven, Jessika Von Rabbit, Jonathan Segal and more on Friday; Cracker, Ike Reilly, Whiskey Gentry and more on Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m., Pappy & Harriet’s saloon, 53688 Pioneertown Rd, Pioneertown. $75 for three days, $25 for Friday or Saturday only. (760) 365-5956

Do the Musical Math: After a Quiet Year, Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker Reconvene for the Annual Campout
Written by Brian Blueskye

It’s again that time of year when Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker and fans of both bands take over Pappy and Harriet’s for a weekend known as the “Campout.”

The 12th annual Campout will take place from Thursday, Aug. 25, to Saturday, Aug. 27.

During a recent phone interview, Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery noted that the year since the last Campout has included a lot of downtime—and no new material for either band.

“This is one of the first kind of years off we’ve had,” Lowery said. “The last two years, it’s been something coming out every year.”

However, Lowery pledged that the next year won’t pass without new material: He said a new Camper Van Beethoven album is in the works.

“We haven’t even really started writing songs or anything like that, at least not in a really serious way,” he said. “There are a few things floating around, though. … We wouldn’t want to start the process of that until the late fall or early winter; 2017 is when we’ll start creating new albums. There might be some surprises later this year, but we’ll have to see.”

Even when there are no new albums or recording sessions, all of the members of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker still enjoy getting together for the Campout.

“It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun for us, given we’ve had no shows this year,” Lowery said. “It’s good to have sort of a down year where we just concentrate on the Campout.”

Each night of each Campout has a different theme. For example, in 2014, there was a punk vs. new wave night.

“One year, we had cops vs. hippies. We had cowboys and Indians one year,” Lowery said. “There was also one year where everyone wore white the first night, and black the next night, which produced the best photographs. The fans kind of come up with these themes—and I don’t really know how we ordain it.”

I asked Lowery which theme was the most memorable.

“I think cops vs. hippies was really fun,” he said. “I dressed as a cop. I shaved my beard off and had a mustache. Nobody recognized me, and I was just going around and completely fooling people. It was pretty funny, actually.”

Lowery is also well-known for his academic life; he’s a college teacher, in fact. However, he wanted to make it clear that he’s not a mathematician.

“I don’t really do too much of that anymore,” Lowery said. “I teach at the University of Georgia, and it’s basically economics and finance related to the entertainment industry. That’s what I do. There is math involved in that, but it sort of underpinned my thinking about how I analyze the music business and the entertainment industry. I am interested in mathematics, but I’m not a mathematician.”

Lowery said it’s vital that all people understand the financial side of life.

“The thing is, there’s a difference between mathematics and logical thinking. Most people intuitively understand the logic,” he said. “Even though they may not understand calculus or geometry or anything like that, they have a pretty good grasp of it. I feel like people need some mathematical backing—not really in mathematics, but (in a) mathematical financial understanding of the world. I think people make really poor decisions, like paying money up front and going debt. I think people need financial knowledge. That’s the one place you get hurt if you don’t have it.”

The Campout lineup this year includes the queen of the High Desert, Jesika Von Rabbit, as well as other great bands with which Camper and Cracker fans may already be familiar. Lowery, however, did offer a suggestion for this year’s Campout attendees.

“Some fans are pretty familiar with Ike Reilly. He’s a friend of ours and a similar style songwriter,” Lowery said. “He’s had a similar career and legacy, but maybe not as popular as Camper Van Beethoven or Cracker. He’s been around for a long time, writing straight-up roots kind of rock with clever lyrics. He’s fantastic, and we cover a song of his, and I’ve appeared on his albums. I’m looking forward to bringing him to the desert and having our West Coast fans experience him performing live.”

The 12th Annual Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven Campout takes place Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 25-27, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $25 for one-day passes, or $75 for a three-day pass. For tickets and more information, visit

AXS (music site)
Camper Van Beethoven’s Victor Krummenacher interviews ahead of special music festival

By: Will Engel
It’s a cultural phenomenon. It’s California culture. It transcends any category, even that of rock ’n’ roll.

Here it comes. It’s the annual CAMPOUT music festival, appropriately named CAMPOUT 12, as it’s the twelfth one. California’s legendary Joshua Tree area warmly welcomes Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, and a plethora of other truly fantastic musicians. The excitement is palpable.

This event occurs at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace Aug. 25, 26 and 27, meaning that it’s all happening in the California desert, right near where Cracker famously recorded one of their most iconic albums more than twenty years ago. Relatively recent albums from Cracker as well Camper Van Beethoven showcase a continued creativity as well as their trademark notable fondness for California’s culture.

Fans excitedly wonder what music will be performed at the CAMPOUT. Yes, the recent albums add to the remarkable depth of the prolific artists’ repertoires. Furthermore, each group will also be diving much deeper in pulling out hit songs as well as comparatively obscure songs that still clearly deserve to make the cut. There is a sense that anything magical has the chance of happening in the unique atmosphere that is the CAMPOUT 12 music festival.

Here, Camper Van Beethoven’s Victor Krummenacher graciously and often humorously takes the time to interview ahead of the special CAMPOUT music festival.

AXS: What is the best thing about returning to the Campout music fest at Pappy & Harriet’s?

Victor Krummenacher: After twelve years of this, this very much seems like home and family. I don’t even know how it has happened, how so much time has elapsed. It’s not always easy to pull off all of the playing in the heat, and the logistics are fearsome, but the fact that it has worked for as along as it has is humbling. The best thing about returning to the Campout is simply that we can.

AXS: How will this year’s festival differ from previous year’s festivals?

VK: In general, we’ve realized making it predictable has helped. There are a ton of people we would like to bring in and haven’t always been able to work out, and we feel like this is our fans’ celebration of what we do. That said, there are always some special guests, and Ike Reilly is playing this year, which will be great. We’ve also got a couple of small events surrounding the festival, if people feel like coming early or staying an extra day. I think if you haven’t been to the Pioneertown area, you have to see Joshua Tree, you should maybe visit the Integraton, and in general, explore the desert a bit. It’s a cool place, and I like to support the business around the festival.

AXS: If you could convey one thing about your music to your numerous fans, what would it be?

VK: We are maybe one of the most diverse and incoherent group of musicians on the face of the planet. I’m not sure of the body count of players between Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker over thirty-three odd years, but it’s a LOT. Every one of the players has brought an association to another group of musicians, meaning we have a LOT of reference points musically that go outside the bounds of what a single band would usually give you. So don’t go into it expecting a play down the middle… we thrive on giving you the most unexpected stuff we can muster up in moment. At this point I trust in our abilities – what we’re looking for is a great moment on stage. They can’t be predicted, they can only happen. Our fans are enormously gracious and (usually) on our side. If everything goes right, we’ll find a zone that works for both the band and the audience that creates a unique and special time in space. Unless it all blows up in our face, even then it’ll all be OK – there’s an urgent care facility in town…

It’s rock and roll, it’s not supposed to be perfect, and it doesn’t work on a cell phone.

PALM SPRINGS LIFE (monthly magazine)
Campout XII Friday at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace
August 26 @ 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Campout XII – Friday

Camper Van Beethoven 9:30 – 11:00 pm
Jesika Von Rabbit out side 8:30- 9:10
Jonathan Segel outside 7:30 – 8:00
Lauren & Jason from Whiskey Gentry ( 11:15 – Midnight )
Skylar Gudasz 7:00- 7:45 Inside
Doors 7:00

** Camper Van Beethoven – (Set time: 9:30 PM)
At the time of their 1985 debut, Camper Van Beethoven’s merging of punk, folk, ska, and world musics was truly a revelation. Self-described as “surrealist absurdist folk,” the band formed in Santa Cruz, CA, after singer/songwriter David Lowery of Redlands, CA, with his dry humor and valley-boy voice (sometimes confused for a faux English accent), and boyhood friends Chris Molla and Chris Pedersen disbanded Box o’ Laffs. Victor Krummenacher was added on bass and soon they were joined by Greg Lisher (guitar) and Jonathan Segel (violins, keyboards, mandolin). It was Segel’s violin that would prove to be the band’s hallmark at a time when alternative rock had yet to be invented, and indie rock was still shy of roots music or traditional elements.

The 1985 re-release of their debut, Telephone Free Landslide Victory, made the Top Ten in the 1986 Village Voice Pazz and Jop Poll, as did their second album, II & III, and Camper Van Beethoven, both released in 1986. On II & III, they went for a purer indie rock sound with touches of country, as evidenced in their “Sad Lovers Waltz” and their cover of Sonic Youth’s “I Love Her All the Time.” The band deftly switched modes from punk to ska to rock on alternate takes, but by this time Molla had left the fold. The third album, confusingly titled Camper Van Beethoven, continued the thread, but outstanding tracks like “Joe Stalin’s Cadillac” were in the more straight-ahead indie rock vein. However, the band would consistently blow people’s minds by tossing around things like a reverent version of Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive.” For its Virgin Records debut, coinciding with the label’s U.S. re-launch in 1988, the band took a more serious tack on Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, and the group that had once been confined to low budgets and small studio facilities stretched out perhaps a little too aggressively.

For Key Lime Pie, Camper Van Beethoven’s final release in 1989, the band took it as far as it could go. Morgan Fichter had replaced Segel by this time. Krummenacher, Pedersen, and Lisher continued to play together in what began as a side project in 1985, Monks of Doom, which turned into a full-time job for them, with four albums and an EP to their credit. Though no longer working as the Monks, the trio, along with Segel and Camper touring guitarist David Immergluck, continue to play together in various formations. Jonathan Segel released three albums as Hieronymous Firebrain from 1990-1994 and two with Jack & Jill for the Magnetic label, followed by a a couple rock cds under his own name and several electronic music cds under his own name and as a duo with Dina Emerson called Chaos Butterfly. Krummenacher has released several solo records, (Out in the Heat, St. John’s Mercy, Bittersweet, Sans Soleil and Nocturne), also for Magnetic, worked with members of Tarnation in Lava, and continues to work with Bruce Kaphan on various projects. Immergluck and Fichter continue to tour and play sessions with bands of considerable renown (Counting Crows and Natalie Merchant respectively, among others); Lowery took some time off before forming Cracker, but didn’t commingle with his former bandmates until reuniting with Krummenacher and Segel in late 1999 to assemble the bizarre rarities collection Camper Van Beethoven Is Dead: Long Live Camper Van Beethoven.

In 2002, Camper Van Beethoven reunited for a nationwide tour on what seemed like a whim, occasioned by a closet-cleaning belated issue of a song-by-song cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, an album they’d recorded as a joke back in 1987. The tour must have gone really well, because unexpectedly, the full band — the original lineup of David Lowery on vocals and guitar, violinist Jonathan Segel, guitarist Greg Lisher, bassist Victor Krummenacher, and drummer Chris Pedersen, with alumni Chris Molla and Monks of Doom cohort David Immergl

** Jesika Von Rabbit – (Set time: 8:30 PM)

Dubbed “California’s ultimate postmodern, intergalactic pop provocateur ” by the LA Weekly, Jesika von Rabbit formed the group Gram Rabbit with partner Todd Rutherford sparking a creative force unlike any other at the time. Their debut album “Music to Start a Cult To” was released to rave reviews and the LA Weekly hailed them as LA’s Best New Artist. Momentum grew quickly landing Gram Rabbit a slot on the main stage of the Coachella Music and Art Festival while Gram Rabbit’s fan base grew steadily as they honed their live chops playing or touring with the likes of Le Tigre, Maximo Park, the Raveonettes, Satellite Party, Kinky, Ima Robot, West Indian Girl, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, The Handsome Family, The Lovemakers, Electrolane, The 88, John Doe, The English Beat, and many more. The group produced six albums and and received numerous TV and film licenses. NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CW, FX, BRAVO, STARZ, and MTV have all used the band’s music in shows and movies such as CSI, Life, the Real World, Sons of Anarchy, Crash, Hit & Miss, Crazy Stupid Love and War Inc., just to name a few. Gram Rabbit also landed a commercial spot for Fruit of the Loom that aired during the 2012 Summer Olympics. Their unique hybrid of psychedelic rock and electro-pop redefined and modernized the old- school labels of retro and synth-pop.
As the front woman of Gram Rabbit, and as a solo artist, Jesika von Rabbit commands the stage. With a combination of her self-penned songs, her voice, her musical and programming talents, and compelling stage presence, von Rabbit literally owns the audience during her shows.
Armed with a stockpile of songs celebrating von Rabbit’s love of electronics she has created and released her first solo album, a playful, poppy, and psychedelic ‘adult theme park-pop’ experience titled Journey Mitchell which she is supporting with an entertaining stage show featuring her entourage of ‘prairie gangsters’. After trailblazing high-desert rock as the front woman in her band Gram Rabbit, Jesika now steps out on her own with a solo project, Journey Mitchell. Part pop princess parody, part desert gypsy, Jesika takes us on a strange trip. Journey Mitchell, is laden with new wave influenced synths, keyboard melodics and infectious dance beats. But make no mistake, this is not a collection of pop songs that induce a brief sugar high; Jesika von Rabbit wants to penetrate and disturb you. The undercurrent of Gothic industrial baselines, ghostly echoes and Jesika’s hallowing voice, leaves resin in your system that will bewitch you long after the music fades.–Coachella Magazine

Jonathan Segel – (Set time: 7:30 PM)

Jonathan Segel started playing guitar when he was about 7 years old. At about 10 he had a crush on a girl who played violin, so he thought he’d try that too.

Unfortunately he sucked at it.

That did not stop him, however, from later playing the violin in rock bands when everybody else played guitar. Sometime around 1983 while carrying a violin across the quad at Porter College at UC Santa Cruz, he was approached by some kids who had moved their band up from Redlands, CA. This turned out to be Camper Van Beethoven and the Border Patrol.

Well, what we didn’t know is that this association was apparently for life, as Camper Van Beethoven has now made records/CDs for the past 23 or so years, and is still playing (recently touring with Built to Spill).

Through all the ups and downs of that band,Jonathan has continued to make his own records (../CDs/tapes/whatever… seems like a billion of them so far!) in a variety of genres ranging from guitar-based rock music to way-avant-garde electronic music and many places in between. In 2008 he finished a very guitar-based CD, “Honey” which is available in a limited edition of 400 hand-screened covers, then in 2012 came a limited release of “All Attractions”, which came with a bonus disc “Apricot Jam”. Both of these recent collections are very electric-guitar heavy rock music albums!

** Skylar Gudasz – (Set time: 7:00 PM)

“Sometimes a whisper can say more than all the shouting in the world.

Skylar Gudasz writes subtly evocative, quietly powerful songs, and she performs them with an understated authority that resonates deeply in the listener’s soul. The 26-year-old Durham, NC-based artist’s sublimely expressive voice and effortlessly enchanting compositions disarm cynicism and defy easy categorization, embodying a timeless blend of worldly insight and open-hearted innocence.

Although she’s yet to release a solo record, Skylar has already won considerable international acclaim, thanks in part to her spellbinding performances as part of the all-star touring Big Star Third tribute concerts, with which she’s appeared in such far-flung locales as New York, Chicago, London, Sydney and Barcelona, as well as at the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX. As an unsigned unknown sharing the stage with such notable artists as Ray Davies, Robyn Hitchcock, Sharon Van Etten and members of R.E.M. and Wilco, she commanded the attention of fans and critics, as well as her fellow performers. The Sydney Morning Herald called her “the most impressive figure of the night,” while the shows’ musical director Chris Stamey noted, “She’d sing ‘Thirteen’ or ‘Dream Lover,’ and time would stop.” Indeed, the response she received from live crowds was so profound that it soon became known among her tourmates as “the Skylar effect.”

Her breakout performances in the Big Star concerts convinced Stamey (known for his work as a solo artist and with the dB’s, as well as his production for the likes of Ryan Adams and Alejandro Escovedo) to take Skylar into the recording studio, tapping the talents of noted avant-garde clarinetist Ken Vandermark, southern pop godfather Mitch Easter, Brad Cook of Megafaun, Michael Blair (Elvis Costello, Tom Waits), Casey Toll (Mt. Moriah), and several talented young musicians from the fertile Chapel Hill alt-pop scene. The resulting recordings mark Skylar Gudasz as both a unique talent and a major artist in the making.” – Scott Schinder

** Lauren & Jason from Whiskey Gentry – (Set time: 11:15 PM)
Amongst many attempts to describe The Whiskey Gentry, perhaps the best take was from Paste Magazine, who called them a “toe-tapping, steamrolling kind of band, its fingers picking deep into fields of bluegrass…with a punk-inspired kick drum.”

The Whiskey Gentry’s catchy tunes reel in listeners ranging from young music novices to wider mainstream audiences, while their musical chops earn the professional praise and respect of those with the most sophisticated of musical palates.

Initially a quintet formed by husband and wife duo Lauren Staley and Jason Morrow, the band’s 2011 debut album, Please Make Welcome, became a critically-acclaimed success, garnering official recognition as a finalist in the Chris Austin Songwriting Competition held at MerleFest. While touring in support of the record, the full lineup was solidified, with Michael Smith on mandolin and Rurik Nunan on fiddle/vocals joining Chesley Lowe on banjo, and Sammy Griffin on bass.

For their 2013 sophomore effort, Holly Grove, the band once again sought the talents of engineer and co-producer John Keane (R.E.M., Uncle Tupelo). In early 2013, the band successfully rallied fans to help fund the studio sessions through a Kickstarter campaign. Local artists and established pros alike pitched in as well, creating a true ensemble effort on songs such as a duet with Butch Walker on “One Night in New York,” and cameos throughout the album by Les Hall, the Dappled Grays, and Radiolucent. Mastered by Glenn Schick (Indigo Girls, Drive-By Truckers), Holly Grove infuses elements of country, bluegrass, folk, rock, and punk with a mix of poppy and poignant lyrics, fiery and heartfelt vocals, traditional and progressive sounds, honesty, edginess, and entertainment all around.

With two studio albums under their belt, April 2014 saw the release of Live From Georgia on Goose Creek Music, which captures the raw energy and powerful stage presence fans have come to expect at live shows. Indeed The Whiskey Gentry is riding a wave of momentum. Holly Grove peaked at #16 on the Americana Radio Chart, they continue touring extensively up and down the East coast from Tampa to Boston, through Texas and Louisiana, the Midwest, and many points in between, including Europe. Luring listeners in, capturing their ears, hearts, and minds, and blazing new trails in Americana music and beyond, The Whiskey Gentry is only just warming its heels.

Hunter S. Thompson wrote that “the whiskey gentry” was “a pretentious mix of booze, failed dreams, and a terminal identity crisis.” Though they are never lacking offers from fans for a shot of whiskey, their dreams are becoming reality, their identity is distinct, their future on a steady crescendo.

THE RED & BLACK (Athens college weekly)
Music Notes:
Saturday, Aug. 20
In honor of its first anniversary, the Southern Brewing Company will be hosting a party featuring long-standing rockers Cracker. The band, fronted by MBUS professor David Lowery, features a genre-bending guitar led sound. The first anniversary party at the Southern Brewing Company starts at 4 p.m. and tickets are $35.

FLAGPOLE (Athens weekly)
Saturday, August 20
Southern Brewing Company
First Anniversary Party. 4 p.m. $35.
CRACKER Acclaimed rock group fronted by David Lowery that has explored many genres and sounds over its two-decade career.

LIVE MUSIC ATHENS, GEORGIA (Athens A&E listings site) Brief show preview
Southern Brewing Company First Anniversary Party. 4 p.m. $35.
CRACKER Acclaimed rock group fronted by David Lowery that has explored many genres and sounds over its two-decade career.
THE BIG SMOOTH Bluesy acoustic tunes with soulful vocals.
SOMETHING ONCE SACRED Local heavy alternative rock trio.

QRO MAGAZINE (NYC music site)
By Ted Chase

Before their show even started, Cracker’s David Lowery (QRO interview) joked that he was happy that his band’s fans, despite being in their forties by now, still go in the alley behind the venue to smoke weed. The fans were indeed in their forties, and the venue in front of the alley was New York’s classy City Winery (QRO venue review) on Friday, August 12th. Years removed from Cracker’s nineties heyday, the show instead was an intimate one between artists & fans.

David LoweryIntimate indeed, as it started with just Lowery on the stage. He joked that those adult Cracker fans who were smoking weed in the alley should ask their kids about fake vape pens, and their ability to hide the marijuana smoking. Lowery started the evening with “Torches and Pitchforks”, off of 2014’s Berkeley to Bakersfield (QRO review), noting that, though he had written it a few years ago (explaining that it takes awhile to go from writing a song to recording to releasing), it could be the soundtrack for today’s political scene.

This was billed as an acoustic set by Cracker, and after “Torches” on stage were just Lowery, Cracker guitarist & co-founder Johnny Hickman (QRO interview – “The nice one in the band,” as Lowery joked that people refer to Hickman), and pedal steel guitarist Pistol Stoessel (real first name: Rainbow, as Lowery still finds funny, Stoessel would occasionally leave the stage for a few songs, “to get on his vape pen…”). The early part of the set was mostly devoted to the group’s latest, Bakersfield, including “Torches”, “Almond Grove”, and “California County Boy”. With decades of existence, and their biggest hits way back when, it’s always tricky for Cracker to come up with a set list; they clearly want to play the new songs, they know crowd wants to hear the original hits, and each fan has his or her own pieces that they specifically hope to hear.

Johnny HickmanOther than the trio from Bakersfield early on, the first half of the set was largely ‘the hits’, such as “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)”, their first hit single off of their 1992 self-titled debut, and 1993 follow-up Kerosene Hat hit single “Low”. Both were given a different spin in the semi-acoustic, seated setting, less rocking, more emotional and evocative. “Dr. Bernice”, on the other hand, was just as creepy at City Winery as it was on Cracker. The setting particularly lent itself to sad, even tragic alt-country, such as Kerosene Hat Jerry Garcia cover “Loser”, or two from 1998’s Gentlemen’s Blues (a particularly tragic alt-country record), “Been Around the World” and “Wedding Day”, the latter sung by Hickman. While not Cracker’s frontman, being “the nice one in the band” has its benefits, as he got his usual many cheers of “Johnny!” from the crowd.

Of course, that when the fans weren’t singing along to all the songs that they already knew. A seated show at a winery/restaurant can naturally get a less engaged audience, more interested in their Merlot than music. But for a certain age-group, this was kind of the perfect show, where they could see an act that they’ve loved since when they would go to standing room all-ages rock shows, but now could sit down and have a fine glass of wine with their Cracker.

Pistol StoesselThe trio managed to hit up a song from every record but 2006’s Greenland, but naturally the most played were the most recent, Bakersfield, and their original ‘big hit’, Kerosene Hat, like “Low” and “I Want Everything”, the latter another sweet, sad song that gave Hickman a chance to solo. The back half had sad songs like that and “Big Dipper” (from 1996 Kerosene follow-up The Golden Age) as well as somewhat reimagined rockers such as “Hey Brett (You Know What Time It Is)” (from 2009’s Sunrise In the Land of Milk and Honey – QRO review) and maybe Cracker’s most beloved piece, Kerosene classic “Euro-Trash Girl”, which had the most sing-along. There was even time for one from 2003 cover album Countrysides, Ike Reilly’s “Duty Free”, which Lowery tried to explain was about people moving from one place to another and not knowing where to be – or something, as even he admitted that he probably made it more confusing…

The covers weren’t finished, as Cracker returned for an encore with Frank Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year”, a wistful piece suited for the setting (and crowd), before ending back in Bakersfield with “King of Bakersfield”. And the seated audience did stand and cheer, having enjoyed an old favorite in a new way.
Additional photo gallery from the show:

Cracker @ City Winery TONIGHT
After spending the ’80s in the college radio underground with Camper Van Beethoven, David Lowery hit alt-rock paydirt with Cracker who had a number of big hits, including “Low” and “Euro-Trash Girl.” We wouldn’t be surprised if tonight’s set featured a few CVB songs too.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) will be promoting their No Cover No Minimum radio show featuring Cracker in their monthly magazine for September. (per Matti Smith)

Live music picks
By Melissa Ruggieri

In 2014, the David Lowery-fronted alt-country-rockers released “Berkeley to Bakersfield,” a double album that spotlighted two distinct areas of California — the northern Bay region and the five-hours-south Bakersfield. The “Berkeley” disc featured the original Cracker lineup — Lowery, Davey Faragher, Michael Urbano and Johnny Hickman — and focused on garage rock. The “Bakersfield” side slanted toward what the band dubbed “California country.” Both discs perfectly epitomize the eclectic nature of Cracker.

7:30 p.m. July 28. $26-$34. City Winery Atlanta, 650 North Ave., Ponce City Market, Atlanta. 615-324-1010,

HOLY CITY SINNER (Charleston A&E blog)
Credit: Bradford Jones
Alternative rock band Cracker will perform at The Windjammer on Friday, July 29th at 9 pm.

The group is further touring in support of their acclaimed double-album Berkeley To Bakersfield. The record is the band’s tenth studio effort.

The band, which was founded by singer David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman, is probably best known for their platinum-selling 1993 release Kerosene Hat. That album included the hit songs “Low,” “Euro-Trash Girl,” and “Get Off This.”

Tickets for the show at The Windjammer are already on sale here.

Cracker returns to kick off Hot Summer Nights free concert series
VAIL — Throughout time, a musician becomes adept at reading the audience, determining what they’re in the mood for and then delivering.

That’s precisely why the members of Cracker don’t arrive at shows with a pre-determined set list. And it’s likely at least part of why the band has found sustained success for two and a half decades.

“We just get up and start playing,” said lead guitarist and founding member Johnny Hickman during a 2011 interview with the Vail Daily. “David (Lowery, lead singer) will throw out a song and we’ll do it, or someone from the audience will yell out a song and we’ll jump into it.

“I like being in a band where we walk on stage and have no idea what we’re going to do,” he continued. “You let the audience tell you. You just pay attention to the people.”

That’s just what the alt-rock band will do when they kick off this season’s Crazy Mountain Brewery Hot Summer Night concert series on Tuesday.

Fans of ’90s music will likely be singing along to hit singles like “Low,” “Get Off This,” “Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)” and “Eurotrash Girl” during the show. Cracker celebrates 25 years this year and the band is still hard at work delivering the guitar-driven alternative rock fans love, having released 10 studio albums, most recently “Berkeley to Bakersfield” in late 2014.

Inevitably the songs that end up the fan favorites are the ones Hickman and Lowery write together.

“We have a certain chemistry and we realize how valuable that is,” said Hickman, who met Lowery in rural California in the ’80s, where their dads both worked on an Air Force military base.

They had similar musical upbringings as well, listening to equal shares of soul and country music. Over the years, it was frustrating for journalists and record companies to come up with a pat label to identify the band’s sound and market them, he said.

“As far as our sound, we’re a hard band to identify,” Hickman said. “You can’t put us in any genre. I’m honored when people have called us the ‘godfather of alternative rock.’ We’re equally at home opening for the Ramones or the Grateful Dead, both of which we’ve done. I’m proud of that.”

The band has played at the Hot Summer Nights concert series before — back in 2011.

“Cracker put on a stellar show for us, which is why we wanted to have them back,” said Tom Boyd, director of communications for the Vail Valley Foundation.

The music is only part of why the concert series makes it on many folks calendars week after week.

“Cracker is one of the last, great guitar-rock bands,” Boyd said. “They’d be a rippin’ show in any setting, but at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, together with a cold Crazy Mountain Brewery brew and a lot of good friends around, it’s going to be amazing.”

SF GATE (weekly)
Cracker will be filling the afternoon with live alternative rock tunes. Featuring original front men David Lowery and Johnny Hickman, Cracker is touring its new album “Berkeley to Bakersfield,” but you may also remember them from their hits “Euro-Trash Girl,” “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now),” and, of course, “Low.”

5 best out-of-town summer concerts
Justin Jacobs
6 p.m. June 10, Lincoln Amphitheatre, 15032 E. County Road 1500, Lincoln City, $19-$28, (812) 937-2329 or

Though California band Cracker broke out in the early 90’s, they never quite fit in with the grunge scene that defined the day — their music mashed together psychedelic rock, jangly 80’s indie, twangy country, punk and more. Cracker is best known for their 1993 alternative radio hit “Low” (we know you remember: “I’ll be with you girl, like being low; hey, hey, hey, like being stoned”), but the band has released a steady flow of new music all the way to 2014’s well-received double album “Berkeley to Bakersfield.”

California band returns to town Monday
By Audrey Dwyer
Steamboat Springs — Fresh off the release of a new album, the alternative rock bank Cracker will be back in town Monday to give Steamboat Springs a sampling.

Known for hits such as “Low,” “What the World Needs Now” and “Get Off This,” the band now has a new list of songs to add its repertoire from the 2014 album “Berkeley to Bakersfield,” which is a double studio album with “Berkeley” being influenced by punk rock and “Bakersfield” leaning more toward the band’s country side.

Led by singer David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman, Cracker has been on the road since 1990 and continues to tour today.

Blending an assortment of influences and sounds, Cracker’s songs range include rock, punk, grunge, country, blues folk and psychedelia.

Earlier this week, Steamboat Today caught up with Hickman to discuss Cracker’s influences and the process of creating a dual album such as “Berkeley to Bakersfield.”

Steamboat Today: Where does a band name like “Cracker” come from?

Johnny Hickman: It’s something we were toying around with early on. We had a bartender we really like who was African-American, and he would always say, ‘Here comes those crackers again.’ And we just thought that it would be a good name for us.

#ST: You guys are known for creating songs that derive from a variety of musical influences. Where does that initially come from?

#JH: We grew up on Air Force bases as kids and met as young guys in our teens in California’s early punk rock band days. During those early days, we would sneak off and listen to country music, too, because it wasn’t something that was mainstream at that time. As kids, a lot of music was played in our homes, like Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, who was like the Johnny Cash of southern California. There was also some southern rock, too, with Hank Williams and Willie Nelson and even the Beatles. We started Cracker’s sound as one big mix of genres and didn’t really worry about what people called it. That was during the grunge period of time. But we have an eclectic style of genre mixing. A lot of it contains those elements of things that influenced us as young guys. The soul, punk rock and British rock. Country has always been there, too.

#ST: Why did you decide to do a double record — one with country, the other rock — on one album?

#JH: It was an interesting approach to separate the two works of music. At first, we thought we would do each on its own, but then, six months into it, decided to do both in one. We thought that the crazier the idea, the more we wanted to do it. It turned out to be fantastic, and the reviews and response has been great. People will get something different from each album.

#ST: What is the songwriting process like, and how did that go for “Berkeley to Bakersfield”?

#JH: I tend to write with a sense of humor with the country music side, and some of David’s are a little more serious — kind of like a poor man’s folk music. But music, to us, is storytelling, and it’s traditional genres that we really like. Country, stylistically, the sound appeals to us — always has. It’s in our bloodstream and is a natural way for us to write. At the base of it, though, is our respect for the song. We’ve known that from the beginning and were able to push the ego out of the way to recognize what would make the song work best.

#ST: The last time you were in Steamboat was in 2010 at the Ghost Ranch. What will be different about Monday’s visit?

#JH: Well, we’ve had a bit of a line-up change. Cracker has always been David and I, and we’ve incorporated and performed with different bands and people. Every time we play, though, we try to represent songs from each one of our 10 records. This time when we will be in Steamboat, we have a full new record that we will perform with our pedal steel guitar player, Matt “Pistol” Stoessel. We are glad to be back in Steamboat and really look forward to coming back and seeing familiar faces.

#Tickets for the show are $20 and can be purchased online at

#To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

#Starting at 7 p.m., the performance “Steamboat Radio Presents: Cracker Unplugged” will take the Chief Theater stage. Doors open at 6:30.

If You Go
#What: Steamboat Radio Presents: Cracker Unplugged

#When: 7 p.m. Monday, June 6

#Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

REAL VAIL (Vail A&E site)
Cracker to play free Crazy Mountain Hot Summer Nights concert series opener
Over the years, a musician becomes adept at reading the audience, determining what they’re in the mood for and then delivering. That’s precisely why the members of Cracker don’t arrive at shows with a pre-determined set list. And it’s likely at least part of why the band has found sustained success for two and a half decades.

“We just get up and start playing,” said lead guitarist and founding member Johnny Hickman during a 2011 interview with the Vail Daily. “David (Lowery, lead singer) will throw out a song and we’ll do it, or someone from the audience will yell out a song and we’ll jump into it.

“I like being in a band where we walk on stage and have no idea what we’re going to do,” he continued. “You let the audience tell you. You just pay attention to the people.”

That’s just what the alt-rock band will do when they kick off this season’s Crazy Mountain Brewery Hot Summer Nights concert series on Tuesday, June 14.

Fans of ’90s music will likely be singing along to hit singles like “Low,” “Get Off This,” “Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)” and “Eurotrash Girl” during the show. Cracker celebrates 25 years this year and the band is still hard at work delivering the guitar-driven alternative rock fans love, having released 10 studio albums, most recently “Berkeley to Bakersfield” in late 2014.

Inevitably the songs that end up the fan favorites are the ones Hickman and Lowery write together.

“We have a certain chemistry and we realize how valuable that is,” said Hickman who met Lowery in rural California in the ’80s, where their dads both worked on an Air Force military base. They had similar musical upbringings as well, listening to equal shares of soul and country music.

Over the years it was frustrating for journalists and record companies to come up with a pat label to identify the band’s sound and market them, he said.

“As far as our sound, we’re a hard band to identify,” Hickman said. “You can’t put us in any genre. I’m honored when people have called us the ‘godfather of alternative rock.’ We’re equally at home opening for the Ramones or the Grateful Dead, both of which we’ve done. I’m proud of that.”

The band has played at Hot Summer Nights concert series before – back in 2011.

“Cracker put on a stellar show for us, which is why we wanted to have them back,” said Tom Boyd, director of communications for the Vail Valley Foundation.

The music is only part of why the concert series makes it on many folks calendars week after week.

“Cracker is one of the last, great guitar-rock bands,” Boyd said. “They’d be a rippin’ show in any setting, but at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, together with a cold Crazy Mountain Brewery brew and a lot of good friends around, it’s going to be amazing.”

Along with great tunes, there’s another reason to attend the Crazy Mountain Brewery Hot Summer Nights concert series — the chance to score free beer for an entire year. Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, which returns as the title sponsor of the event, will award one lucky sipster a free pint of beer a day for an entire year, redeemable at either the Edwards taproom or the new Denver location at 471 Kalamath Street. Enter the raffle at each concert (one entry per person per concert) by adding your name and a valid email address. A winner will be picked during the final show, The Motet concert, set for Aug. 23.

The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is located east of Golden Peak at Ford Park in Vail. Concert attendees are asked to park at the main Vail Village parking structure, with overflow parking at the Lionshead parking structure. Free town of Vail shuttles run past Golden Peak from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., with a drop off at the soccer field near the Ford Amphitheater. Additionally, a special Village-to-Village express bus runs from 4 to 9:30 p.m. with stops at the east entrance of the Lionshead parking structure, in front of the Vail Village Information Center and at Ford Park. Once in Ford Park, golf cart shuttle service is available.

Once inside the concert venue (a non-smoking venue), picnics with commercially-sealed non-alcoholic beverages are permitted, as are legless lawn chairs, blankets and umbrellas. Bikes, skateboards and dogs are prohibited at the amphitheater.

To view the entire free concert series line-up, visit and follow Vail Free Concerts on Facebook. The Vail Valley Foundation produces year-round free concerts from Vail to Eagle enriching our community with various music genres from rock to country and everything in between.

What: Cracker plays the first Crazy Mountain Brewery Hot Summer Nights concert of the season.
Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail.
When: Tuesday, June 14. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; show starts at 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free.
More information: Visit to learn more.





Hoots and Hellmouth’s fourth album In The Trees is an effort that feels like an expedition. Through dark tangles of thickets and underbrush, a path winds its way through the density of lived life, finally opening up into a sun-drenched field in which to stretch out, breathe deep and reflect on the journey… weary travelers dressing wounds while wistfully recalling tales of courage and self-doubt, love and longing.

The new album began to take shape over two years ago in a transformed silversmith mill in the little Philadelphia suburb of Clifton Heights, PA. Mt Slippery, as it is currently known, is home-base for their homies Dr. Dog. They assembled with engineer Nathan Sabatino (Dr. Dog, Floating Action, Birdie Busch, etc) and over the course of a couple weeks proceeded to coax these songs out of the ether using all manner of instrumentation. The now-classic acoustic H&H sound is certainly present, but as with each record previous, In The Trees pushes the band beyond the borders of what came before. It’s a natural progression, an obvious evolution. Sparking electric tones set old wood aflame. These songs burn with it.

These songs. While not written around a premeditated theme, each star in this album’s constellation seems to gather about the axis of the sacred and profane. An omnipresent sensitivity to spirit gives way on more than one occasion to full-blown physical freak-out. For every blissfully still moment of somber reflection there exists an equal and opposite reaction of explosive self-indulgence. This record represents feast and famine. Dig in and join Hoots and Hellmouth In The Trees.

Hoots and Hellmouth’s new self-released album In The Trees will be available October 28th on CD and digital formats, with a limited edition vinyl pressing to follow in the near future.

Hoots and Hellmouth Personnel:
Sean Hoots – Vocals, Guitars
Robert Berliner – Keys, Organ, Mandolin, Vocals
Todd Erk – Basses, Vocals
Michael Reilly – Drums, Percussion, Vocals

Nathan Sabatino – Engineering
Devin Greenwood – Mixing
Brian Lucey – Mastering


10/05 Beachland Tavern – Cleveland, OH

10/06 Club Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA 10/07 The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI

10/08 Ignition Garage – Goshen, IN

10/09 The Tonic Room – Chicago. IL

10/13 Hi-Dive – Denver, CO

10/15 Rose Music Hall – Columbia, MO

10/16 The Bootleg – St. Louis, MO

10/19 The Basement – Nashville, TN

10/21 Purple Fiddle – Thomas, WV

10/22 The Abbey Bar – Harrisburg, PA

11/11 Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, DC

11/17 Atwoods Tavern – Cambridge, MA

11/18 Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY

11/20 Musikfest Cafe – Bethlehem, PA

12/02 The Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA

(additional dates to be announced soon)



1. Golden Coast

2. In Effigy

3. Diction

4. Only Animal

5. Delicate Skeleton

6. Move Me

7. Hurt A Little

8. Rivers And Rivulets

9. Off To Sea

10. Golden Compass Rose

“Not quite folk or alt-country, but more than just a rock group, Philadelphia’s Hoots and Hellmouth crafts fiery, cathartic roots-rock. Blending soul, folk, country, gospel and rock with the sounds of classic Americana.” – WORLD CAFE / NPR


Tony Bonyata
Pavement PR
p: 262.903.7775




The Bonnevilles – “No Law in Lurgan” (video) (premiere)

As we said back in February about this incredible group, “Northern Ireland’s the Bonnevilles are steeped in the blues and they enliven and amp up their sound by playing as a duo with Andrew McGibbon Jr. on vocals and guitar and Chris McMullan on drums. It’s a formation that has paid off in spades for both the White Stripes and the Black Keys and the Bonnevilles carry on that tradition of stripped down, blues rock run through with headbanging punk energy.”

Sometimes less truly is more as the two-person band set-up of the Bonnevilles allows each musician to shine as well as showcase their prodigious musical talents. Meanwhile, the music rings raw and true and full of heart. You can witness this aestethic on the band’s new video, “No Law in Lurgan”, from their recent LP Arrow Pierce My Heart.

Singer/guitarist Andrew McGibbon says, “the video was made by Mike Mormecha, the same Mike that recorded the album. I remember during the recording of this track Mike said he’d really love to do a zombie video to it, we had a giggle about it and said no more. Months later Mike comes back and says “ok, lets do that video thing” and that was that. Mike’s pretty much a genius and we love him, so when people like that ask to do cool stuff with you, you just say yes. It was a lot of fun channeling our inner zombies.”


September 9 @ Social Sounds Festival — Belfast

September 15 @ The Castle Hotel — Manchester

September 16 @ Stow Fest — London

September 17 @ Zephyr Lounge — Leamington Spa

September 18 @ The Phoenix — Exeter

September 19 @ The Duck and Drake – Leeds

September 20 @ Start The Bus — Bristol

September 21 @ Broadcast — Glasgow

September 22 @ The Cluny — Newcastle Upon Tyne

September 23 @ The Black Abbott — Montrose

September 24 @ Franklin Rock n Roll Club— Edinburgh



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