New and Improved…Really!

New and improved might describe the latest laundry detergent but it rarely describes bands, who reunite.       But those adjectives apply to Camper Van Beethoven. The group was one of the most idiosyncratic, smart and unpredictable alt-rock bands of the ‘80s       However, there was a missing element, stellar musicianship        “I’ll be the first to admit that,” violinist-guitarist Jonathan Segal said while calling from Troy, New York         “I was a crappy ass player during the ‘80s. There’s no debating that. I think we’re all so much better since we developed our musical skills with other bands        One of those ‘other bands was Cracker, which is fronted by CVB vocalist-guitarist David Lowery.        The cerebral Lowery will pull double duty Wednesday at the World Café Live when Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker will co-headline a show.         “It’s a great situation,” Segal said. “Camper typically opens and I’ll join Cracker onstage toward the end of their set. It’s a great package. Two solid bands for the price of one.”       Cracker is out behind its latest album, the wry, clever ‘Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey.       However, CVB isn’t showcasing new material. “We’re in between albums,” Segal said. “David has spent so much time with Cracker that the songs aren’t there yet  for Camper but they will be. It’s alright. I love playing the older material. It’s still challenging and fun.”           Segal particularly enjoys delivering cuts from 1989’s ‘Key Lime Pie.’ That’s ironic since after cutting the demos, Segal was kicked out of the band. “So I never played on the album and that really hurt,” Segal said. “It was just one of those things. It was a personality thing between David and I. He told the guys in the band that if I didn’t go that he would quit the band and start playing with this other band, which was Cracker. It’s funny since Cracker happened anyway. So I was booted out of the band and I didn’t listen to ‘Key Lime Pie’ until a year after it was out and I was just blown away. It was the best Camper album ever. I cried over it. But it all worked out. I got to come back with the band and now I’m playing the ‘Key Lime Pie’ songs as well as other songs.”      Segal believes that CVB will have considerably more staying power than the ‘80s version of the act. “We’re all a lot more mature than we were back then,” Segal said. “Back then, we were just kids. I think we appreciate things more now. We all love being in this band. That’s why we can’t give it up.”      Camper


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