On Top Of The Monumental Anniversary, The Long-lived California Rocks Release Their 10th Studio Album
by Matt Kelchner
It’s hard to find a band nowadays who stick together for ten years. Some newer bands find it difficult to make it past five. It’s equally challenging to find a band with a catalogue that includes ten albums. Yet somehow Camper van Beethoven have managed to do that and more. But one could foresee such a successful future for a group who manage to crank out their first three albums in a span of 18 months.
Beginning in 1983 in Redlands, California, Camper van Beethoven stormed the hardcore and punk scene rooted in the DIY culture that the state was famous for. By the time their first album Telephone Free Landslide Victory was released in 1985, the band had already begun spreading their sound well beyond the reaches of fast, intense punk scene. With their second album, the group continued to further push their sonic boundaries. It’s this constant evolution that would make Camper van Beethoven famous in the indie music scene.
There is a long laundry list of artists and musicians who credit Camper van Beethoven as a pivotal influence in their careers. These same acts continue to praise the band as they come into their 30th year together.
To Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, they are a “part of the soundtrack of [his] life. A uniquely American band with wonderful songs”. He continues, “I’m always happy when they put out a new album”. For Bob Nastanovich of Pavement, “they made California cool to a Virginian”.
Others celebrate specific aspects. “Each member of Camper is a thoughtful songwriter, and a master of his instrument, with a totally unique vision…” says Doug Martsch of Built To Spill, “and together they have a balanced, egoless, and dynamic chemistry that’s created many of my favorite songs”.
It’s this kind of chemistry that has kept the band around for 30 years. Despite going inactive for almost ten of those years, each member still found the desire to write music collectively again after each going their own way. Earlier this year in January, Camper van Beethoven welcomed their anniversary with their 10th album, La Costa Perdida. To go along with the release, the group is about to wrap up a national tour at the end of this month.
The California stalwarts are showing no sign of slowing down either. According to bassist/singer David Lowery, there were seven songs that were written and recorded during the sessions for La Costa Perdida that did not make the final cut. These will be featured on the follow up album which is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year.