Zoey’s – Songwriters in the Round August 13, 2012

Interview – Camper Van Beethoven

Interview with David Lowery

Camper Van Beethoven (CVB) will be releasing their forthcoming studio album, La Costa Perdida on January 22, 2013.  This will mark the first studio album they’ve recorded together since 2004’s New Roman Times!

Camper Van Beethoven

Camper Van Beethoven – photo credit: Jason Thrasher

Ventura will be the first of three shows in preparation for PioneerTown Palace, the band’s 8th annual end of summer camp out near Joshua Tree.

Ventura Rocks:  We caught both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven last summer for Indie West Fest at the Fairgrounds.  It was extremely cool being able to see both bands on the same bill.  And now Camper is returning for an intimate show at Zoey’s.

David Lowery:  Yea, We really enjoyed that.  There’s a long history between Camper and Cracker stopping there in Ventura playing the Ventura Theater and even before in some weird places in some small bar off of downtown in the 80’s with Camper.  So a lot of history with the area.

Ventura Rocks:  You have a new album coming out.  Can you let Camper fans know what to expect along with trying to explain the vibe that is Camper Van Beethoven to those who are not familiar with the band?

David Lowery:    Well Camper Van Beethoven originally came out of the punk rock alternative scene.  We have a lot of sort of exotic sort of folky / hillbilly, old gypsy music sort of element to what we’ve always done.  I don’t know how that all really came about.  We just kind of mixed those things together…the punk and early alternative sort of folky things.  And we’ve had an enduring following since the mid 80’s all over the world.

This album we have coming out, it’s pretty much laid right up the middle of what Camper does.   It’s a lot like our other records, but there is a sort of California scene to the whole record.  We’re not sure how that came out, it’s not a “California Girls” sort of record, but maybe a “Northern California Girls.”

Ventura Rocks:  What can we expect at Zoey’s?

David Lowery:  We’ll be playing a half a dozen songs off the new album a dozen or so off all the other albums.  It will be a good mixed bag.  We haven’t played in a few months.  We have our festival that happens that weekend out at Pioneertown out by Joshua Tree

Ventura Rocks:  Yea, it sounds amazing.  How many people do you get up there?

David Lowery:  It’s not a really big place.  It only really holds about 700 people in the immediate area, so we sell 700 tickets, sometimes more people show up.

We’ve been doing it for eight years now. It’s a lot of fun.   But we were thinking we needed to do some warm up shows before this.  Cracker has been playing all summer but Camper Van Beethoven hasn’t been playing.  And so we wanted to do some warm up shows and we’ve had a long history of playing in Ventura so we thought we’d would play there.  Plus I don’t know if people know this, but the crew that works for us are all actually from “The Nard” or Ventura.

Ventura Rocks:  (laughs) That’s right!  The Nard.  So how much social media does Camper use?

David Lowery:  We use all that stuff.  You know it’s not like Camper Van Beethoven is all over the Television or the Radio, so this is the way they find out about us.

Camper Van Beethoven will be playing at Zoey’s on Monday, September 10, 2012.  Visit Zoey’s official website for more information and to GET YOUR TICKETS NOW.




David’s now infamous blog on: TheTrichordist


Album Review – Chi McClean

A Thing or Three
by Stephanie Rose

Chi McClean - A Thing or ThreeArtist really are the heart and soul of a society. Without them, you have no vision.  Without them life is dull.  Of course art is totally subjective and so it is something special when you come across an artist who strikes a chord with you.

I happened upon Chi McClean during one of Zoey’s Songwriters in the Round sessions and I Friended him on Facebook soon after.  I read his posts with interest as he made his way across the country playing different venues.  As soon as he was booked at Zoey’s again, I cleared my calendar and made it a point to catch his show which was this past Monday night along with local artists Dan Grimm and Matt Zeltzer.

I have to say that one of the highlights of the evening was the commaraderie between the musicians and the interactions with the audience between songs, to which the audience was happy to chime in on the conversation as well.  The room connected.
Chi McClean, Matt Zeltzer at Zoeys

During their break I made my way over to Chi and introduced myself from VenturaRocks.com.  He thanked me for showing up and promptly provided me with a copy of his latest CD, “A Thing or Three.” I was honored. I promised to write a review to which he grimaced.  Too cute.

It was a good night listening to good music and I was looking forward to cracking open my new CD and giving “A Thing or Three” a spin.

A man and his acoustic guitar. It doesn’t get much more intimate than that.  A little southern, a little folk, some bluesiness, lite rock.  I guess it’s called Americana. I’m reminded a little of James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, a even a tinge of Van Morrison.
Chi McClean, Matt Zeltzer, Dan Grimm at Zoeys

It’s hard to believe Chi was born and raised in New York.  I distinctly get a bonfire at the beach vibe.  I can imagine listening to “A Thing or Three” driving down Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean with the top down, just as easily as spending some quality time with that someone special on a hot summer night.  Uplifting lyrics, passion and extraordinary musicianship.  It’s a good mix, a good vibe, and worthy of your time. My favorites include  “Build me Up,” “I Save You” and “Life Got in the Way.”

Again, I’ll be following Chi and his posts on Facebook, as well as his blog on his official website.  Looking forward to catching him when he rolls through our town again.