Jonathan Segel is funny. Interview for Lake Tahoe Cracker/CVB Show Aug 25th.

Taking a couple days off from 300 songs blog. I’m in fairly remote area of utah and colorado. Instead Jonathan said i could re-post his Lake Tahoe Interview.

JONATHAN SEGEL IS A FUNNY GUY.

1) You live within driving distance of Tahoe. Ever come here for personal R&R?

Well, yeah! I grew up in Davis, so i learned to ski up at Tahoe, though I admit as an adult it’s only an occasional trip to ski (time and money and all that) but regardless, living in the Bay Area now, we go up to Tahoe in other seasons as well just to hike around. I love coming up in the fall to see the Kokanee Salmon spawning! My wife’s parents are from Sweden, we took them up to Tahoe last spring to show them some real mountains!

2) The term “1980s college rock-darlings” is so overused when describing Camper in print, and one could argue that it really doesn’t mean anything anymore. How would YOU describe Camper to someone in Tahoe who may not be familiar with your music, but may be thinking of coming to the show?

We’re a darn good rock band, though admittedly a bit odd. I’ve never been good with the instant commercial description, but a bit of history could tell the story – Camper initially broke up in 1990, and David Lowery started Cracker thereafter. During the 1990s, some of the guys continued in an avant-prog band called the Monks of Doom, I made my own CDs as Hieronymus Firebrain or Jack & Jill, later under my own name. By the mid-90s, Victor Krummenacher was also making his own solo cds, and later Greg Lisher also. When CVB started again in 2000, we brought all that to the table, while David brought a decade of very successful Cracker experience. We played our first shows as CVB in 2002, and already it was obvious that since we’d all continued to play and grow as musicians, we were all the better for it. This past decade has proven that we weren’t simply riding on nostalgia at all; when we play, we’re better than we had been, and when we worked on new material it was prescient and contemporary and held all the experience that we all continued with since the 1980s. It sure was funny, though, to play Reagan-era songs during the 2nd Bush administration and have them be completely coherent politically…

3) Any plans for new material from Camper? It’s been six years since the last album, New Roman Times.

We have planned to but we keep getting sidetracked! One thing about it is simply that the current state of trying to (pay to) make and sell albums is difficult. Maybe we should make singles? To be quite honest, we’re not very commercially successful. Eventually…

4) Are you currently working on any solo projects?

We all have been! One sidetrack in the making of a new CVB record is that even David Lowery is making a solo record this year. Victor has been doing shows and CDs under both his own name and McCabe & Mrs Miller (with Alison Faith Levy) (see http://www.victorkrummenacher.com ). My last CD was a couple years ago (“Honey” http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/segel10 ), a rocking electric guitar CD, small pressing with hand-silk-screened covers, and I’ve been slowly recording another in the past year, but need a new label to put it out, so that may take a while–if ever!
Most of our stuff is available here:

http://www.pitchatent.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/all/magneticmotorworks/

5) Bob Dylan’s here in Tahoe the same week you are (Dylan performs at the Harvey’s Outdoor Arena on the south shore on Aug. 22). Are you a fan?

Of course, who isn’t a Bob Dylan fan? In almost 50 years of work there’s got to be something everybody likes (check out the surreal video he made for “Must be Santa” from his Christmas record last winter!) His band is always amazing as well. Needless to say, I heard Dylan very early in life because my parents had some LPs, so he’s been there all my life.

6) Is there a discernible difference between Cracker and Camper fans?

Cracker fans more likely to have a tractor and/or beer hat, Camper fans more likely to have the same hat, lined with tin foil.

7) Cracker, Camper: Who’s on first? Do you rotate who gets to take the stage first?

It depends on the year, I think, and the city. Cracker has the more recent cd, so they’re headlining these days!

8) There are lots of opportunities for Camper and Cracker fans to co-mingle: the tours, the annual Camper/Cracker Campouts. Do out-of-control rivalries ever arise between Camper fans and Cracker fans?

It’s actually very seldom that there are people who are adamant about liking one band and disliking the other, and honestly when those same malcontents actually hear a concert of the “other” band, the music usually clears that single-mindedness away.

9) Kings of Leon recently had to abandon a show mid-set due to a barrage of pigeon feces let loose from above the stage. Between Camper and Cracker, who do you think would hold out the longest when faced with such a situation?

hmm. this is a difficult question. Frank Funaro, the drummer for both bands is a bonafide germophobe, so right off the bat we’d have no backbeat. Both lead guitarists (Johnny Hickman and Greg Lisher) are fairly cleanly as well, so they would be the next to leave. My guess is the next would be Sal Maida, the Cracker bassist, who would definitely be opposed to sullying his suit.
I think David, Victor and I might stick it out, so that would ostensibly be Camper Van Beethoven.


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