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Camper Van Beethoven

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Redlands CA, United States (1983 – 1990, 2004 – present)

Camper Van Beethoven is an alternative rock band that was founded in 1983 in Redlands, California, though the band soon moved to Santa Cruz, California. Camper Van Beethoven mixed elements of pop, ska, punk rock, folk, country, and acid rock into an eclectic, catchy and sometimes mysterious ensemble, years before the so-called alternative rock moniker came to mainstream attention.

The group’s trademark violin-coated melodies and their ironic take on American culture put them one step away from being a novelty act in the eyes of many critics. But as the band would move from irreverently playful to experimental with their intricate, psychedelic pop meanderings they carved out their own niche in the music world. CVB consciously played with building a mystique about the band, using articles, liner notes and press interviews to weave a bizarre mythology about the band, to the point where it is still often difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

CVB had roots in the earlier projects Sitting Duck and Estonian Gauchos, proto-CVB projects from which some of the earliest CVB songs originated. Original bandmembers from CVB’s early recordings, including ‘Telephone Free Landslide Victory,’ included David Lowery, Chris Molla, and Anthony Guess, all of whom also did time in Eric Curkendall’s project Box O’Laffs.

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