Formed in 1983, Camper Van Beethoven has enjoyed an impressive, albeit interrupted 15-plus year run. The eclectic quintet formed in Redlands, California, and didn't release an album until 1985's Telephone Free Landslide Victory. The album was a critical success and features one of their best known songs, "Take the Skinheads Bowling." The LP shows off the versatility of the group, who mixed elements of alternative rock, punk, and even country-rock (their version of Black Flag's classic track "Wasted" has to be heard to be believed) to create their own distinctive sound.
Camper Van Beethoven—led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist David Lowery—returned to the studio to record their sophomore disc in late '85. While II & III contained the same experimental spirit of its predecessor, it was a more streamlined sound for the young band and featured less instrumental tracks than Telephone Free Landslide Victory. The group only released three more albums before interpersonal tensions led to the dissolution of the group in April of 1990. The last of those, Key Lime Pie went on to be the best selling album of their career, spurred on by the success of a cover of British group Status Quo's 1968 song "Pictures of Matchstick Men." Camper Van Beethoven's version hit #1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Radio charts.
After the group split, David Lowery formed Cracker, a band who had a string of popular mainstream-rock tracks in the '90s. The other members-bassist/vocalist Victor Krummenacher, guitarist Greg Lisher, drummer Chris Pedersen, and guitarist David Immerglück-created their own group, Monks of Doom. Both bands are still active.
Camper Van Beethoven reformed in 1999 and have released two more album—Tusk (2002) and New Roman Times (2004). This incarnation features long-time members Lowery, Krummenacher, Segel, and Lisher, making drummer Frank Furano the only new member. They continue to tour today.