Thursday, June 2, 2011
NOTE: Due to incoming storm Camper Van Beethoven's show has been postponed until Sunday, June 12.
Jonathan Segel can easily recall the first time he heard Key Lime Pie, the album that Camper Van Beethoven made months after he had left the group for what he calls “differences.”
“I was like, ‘Wow, I’m f*ing confounded that I’m out of the band, and they made the best record ever,” the violin and mandolin player says.
The 1989 album, which a now-reunited Camper Van will play in its entirety this Sunday at the Henry Miller Library, is darker and less given over to the flights of fancy that dominated the group’s earlier records. Absent are goofs like “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon” and, for the most part, exotic violin-threaded instrumental stomps like 1985’s “Vladivostock.”
“It’s definitely more dissonant and more complex a record than a lot of the other ones,” Segel says. “But that is one of the reasons I love it so much. It’s very deep. It sort of draws this huge arc from those early ’80s records, sort of absurd beginnings to a sublime ending.”
Segel was not the only one who loved Key Lime Pie. The album became Camper Van Beethoven’s best selling release, and its cover of Status Quo’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men” reached the top spot on Billboard’s Modern Rock Chart.
Despite the success of Key Lime Pie, Camper Van Beethoven called it quits shortly after its release, and singer/songwriter David Lowery went on to found the popular alt-rock band Cracker.
In 2002, Camper Van Beethoven reformed with core members Lowery, Segel, Greg Lisher and Victor Krummenacher. “It felt like going back home to the people I learned how to play with,” Segel says.
Now, Segel is getting to play the songs on Key Lime Pie that he never got to perform back in 1989, including his personal favorites “June,” which features a dizzying violin segment, and the stately, melancholic “All Her Favorite Fruit.”
“It’s such an amazing song,” Segel says of the latter. “Every time we play it, you can feel the goose bumps rising on the audience with you.”
A week after their Henry Miller Library performance, Camper Van Beethoven will get together to start work on a follow-up to their surprisingly great 2004 comeback album New Roman Times. When pressed for details about the sound of the upcoming release, Segel is suddenly not very forthcoming.
“Not sure,” he says. “[And] I’m not sure I would tell you anyway.”
CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN plays Key Lime Pie 6pm Sunday, June 12, at the Henry Miller Library, located a quarter mile south of Nepenthe Restaurant on Highway 1, Big Sur. $28. 667-2574.