pomm_coverI’ve recently been reintroduced to Telephone Free Landslide Victory, Camper Van Beethoven’s 1985 debut, via a copy of the 2004 reissue.  While I never gave Cracker, David Lowery’s second project much of a chance, the Camper Van Beethoven catalog holds up surprisingly well; far better than a lot of their musical peers branded ‘college rock’ in the eighties.  In retrospect CVB’s fingerprints can readily  be found on the next wave of indie rock that was to soon spring up in the ’90s.  Especially on the early records that mixed folk, garage rock and psych with a healthy dose of Jonathan Richman.

As far as legacies go, I would wager the band is most likely remembered as either: a) the band that covered Status Quo’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men, “or b) the band that penned “Take The Skinheads Bowling” in Michael Moore’s Columbine documentary.  The “Matchstick Men” cover off Key Lime Pie was great — I loved it as a kid, first seeing the video on MTV, and later sought out the original (below).

Download:
MP3: Status Quo :: Pictures of Matchstick Men
MP3: Camper Van Beethoven :: The Day Lassie Went To The Moon
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9 Responses to “Status Quo :: Pictures of Matchstick Men”

  1. Camper Van are seminal and should be revered in the same breath as the Mats and the Pixies. Their early releases are essential, but Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart and Key Lime Pie are landmark albums that have never received their full due. Lowery was at his peak, yet for some reason everyone just cares to remember either a.) his sarcasm or b.) that his band had a gorgeous violin sound. At a time when the Album has all but disappeared, CVB left us with two perfect ones to listen to start to finish. And that, in itself, is a rare accomplishment nowadays.

    As for Cracker, great live band, and Lowery’s writing and Hickman’s lead, from Cracker Brand to Golden Age, made them one of the most interesting bands of the early ’90s while everyone else had their heads turned by Seattle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Anyway, great post.

  2. CVB were producing some of the most interesting music of the era. Eastern European, Ska, Punk, Psych, & Skate influences. A true original.
    Cracker has never disappointed either.
    See them live. Always great.

  3. Search out the Slickee Boys ( Godfathers of the DC Punk scene) version of “Matchstick men” This video doesn’t quite do it justice. Having grown up with this version I always thought the Status Quo and CVB versions seemed a bit wan by comparison.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJJOnBUe8EM

  4. these guys seem to get it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bGC7P4-Zfg

  5. not so much Ozzy:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLUwUKo8oTQ&feature=related

  6. Telephone Free Landslide Victory is seamless and timeless. CVB also put out a song-by-song version of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk album…worth a listen.

  7. Thanks so much for bringing up CVB! What a rush back to good old days! Now if you got any Bram Tchaikovsky…..

  8. Thanks for posting. CVB’s legacy to knowledgeable fans will be far more than a novelty song and a cover. They were way ahead of their time and a great live band. I still sing “I don’t want to go to the Lincoln Shrine” to myself whenever I have to go on a dreaded business trip.

  9. CVB were a versatile and imaginative band…. one of many during the 80’s “college rock” era…. I don’t get the post-millenial bagging on these years, the last true outsider moment of the rock era. We had to HUNT for information, records, and another person who shared our tastes (esp. in the south Georgia sticks). Tons of great bands, all paving the road that 90’s and 00’s alt-culture walked down in their self-absorbed, reinventing-the-wheel manner.

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