Cracker (band)

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Cracker
CrackerJonesBeach.jpg
Cracker performing at Jones Beach, NY.
Background information
Origin Redlands, California, United States
Genres Alternative rock, alternative country
Years active 1990–present
Labels Virgin
Cooking Vinyl
Savoy / 429 Records
Website www.crackersoul.com
Members David Lowery
Johnny Hickman
Sal Maida
Frank Funaro
Past members Davey Faragher
Phil Jones
Michael Urbano
Bruce Hughes
David Lovering
Joey Peters
Johnny Hott
Bob Rupe
Charlie Quintana
Kenny Margolis
Brandy Wood
Victor Krummenacher

Cracker is an American alternative rock band led by singer David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman. The band is best known for its gold-selling 1993 album, Kerosene Hat, which includes the hit songs "Low" and "Euro-Trash Girl."

Lowery and Hickman formed the band in 1991, releasing the album Cracker the following year (which included singles "Happy Birthday to Me" and "Teen Angst") on Virgin Records. The band has been touring ever since, releasing 10 studio albums and several compilations, collaborations, solo projects and live albums.[1] The band's most recent[when?] album is Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey, released on May 5, 2009, on 429/Savoy Records.[2] Cracker mix influences and sounds from rock, punk, alternative country, psychedelia, blues and folk.

History[edit]

1990s[edit]

Shortly after Lowery's former group Camper Van Beethoven disbanded in 1990, he began demoing material along with boyhood friend, guitarist Johnny Hickman. After moving from Redlands, California to Richmond, Virginia, Lowery and Hickman recorded a demo tape, later nicknamed Big Dirty Yellow Demos by the group's fans, which included early versions of songs that appeared on later albums. They eventually chose the name Cracker and teamed up with fellow Redlands bass guitarist Davey Faragher. A brief tour with Virginia drummer Greg Weatherford followed.

By 1991, the newly formed band had signed a recording contract with Virgin Records and enlisted the help of several drummers/percussionists (Jim Keltner, Michael Urbano and Phil Jones), issuing its first album, Cracker, in 1992. From the album came radio hit "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)", which peaked at No. 1 on Modern Rock Tracks, and a second single entitled "Happy Birthday to Me."

A year later, Cracker issued its best-selling album, Kerosene Hat. The album included hit singles "Low" and "Get Off This," as well as a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Loser." The album sold almost half a million copies that year and eventually almost reached platinum status.[3] Urbano performed on Kerosene Hat and toured with Cracker before leaving the band, along with Faragher. After a short spell with Bruce Hughes, Lowery and Hickman added Bob Rupe, formerly of The Silos, as bass guitarist and Charlie Quintana (Bob Dylan, The JuJu Hounds) on drums. In 1993, Cracker contributed the song "Good Times Bad Times" to the Encomium tribute album to Led Zeppelin (which was recorded after a rendition of "When the Levee Breaks" had been deemed "too weird").

Three years later, The Golden Age was released, with "I Hate My Generation" as the lead single.[3] However, the music scene was shifting away from guitar-driven alternative rock, and although critically acclaimed, the album sold only moderately. Following the long-term additions of drummer Frank Funaro and keyboard player Kenny Margolis, the band tried again in 1998 with Gentleman's Blues, with "The Good Life" as the lead single. Although the album received only a lukewarm critical response, it solidified an ever-growing and devout following both in the United States and Europe who referred to themselves as "Crumbs".[3]

Perhaps the highlight of the 1990s was 1995 when the track "Whole Lotta Trouble" co-written by Johnny Hickman and Chris LeRoy was used in the Film Empire Records. In this same year the song "Shake Some Action" was used in the teen romantic-comedy Clueless

Camper Van Beethoven unexpectedly re-formed in 1999 and released the critically acclaimed "New Roman Times." During this time, Hickman released a first solo recording, "Palmhenge", which received "Voices Choice" accolades in The Village Voice by the rock critic Robert Christgau and a positive review in Blender magazine. Since then, Lowery has performed in both bands.

2000s[edit]

A compilation album called Garage D'Or was released in 2000, with one disc composed of greatest hits and three new songs, and another of out-takes, soundtrack contributions, demos and other obscurities. Rupe departed in January 2000 and was replaced by bass guitarist Brandy Wood. In 2002, the band released its next studio album, Forever which, once again, was met with limited commercial and critical success.

The group left Virgin in 2003 with the independent release Countrysides, composed of eight country and western covers and one new, original song. A collaboration with the bluegrass band Leftover Salmon, Oh Cracker, Where Art Thou? (2003), contained bluegrass versions of many Lowery and Hickman compositions. In 2005, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven started an annual three-night "Campout" at Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace in Pioneertown, California, close to where Lowery and Hickman met, in which they and several other bands perform, including sets by Cracker and Camper band members performing their own music. Previous years' guests have included Roger Clyne, John Doe, Neko Case, Ike Reilly, Ryan Bingham, Vermillion Lies, Jason Molina and Magnolia Electric Co, Built To Spill, Brant Bjork and the Bros, Clem Snide, Gram Rabbit and The Bellrays.

With Camper Van Beethoven bass guitarist Victor Krummenacher replacing Wood, the band released the studio album Greenland on June 6, 2006, and continued to tour extensively. After the departures of Margolis and Krummenacher, the band's lineup stabilized in 2007 around Hickman, Lowery, Funaro and new bass guitarist Sal Maida, who had played with Roxy Music.

Cracker released a new studio album entitled Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey to positive reviews on May 5, 2009. It was the band's first chart on the Billboard 200 in more than a decade, after having sold more than 3,000 copies in a week. This was in part due to the Triple A chart success of the album's lead single, "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me," which was used in the television show Californication.

2010s[edit]

In January 2011, Lowery released his first solo album, The Palace Guards, on 429 Records. In March, Cracker announced Campout East, the east coast counterpart to their Campout festival, to be held in Crozet, Virginia. The first Campout East was held at Misty Mountain Camp Resort and was co-hosted by Sons of Bill. The second Campout East took place in Buena Vista, Virginia at Glen Maury Park on June 1–2, 2012.

Johnny Hickman released his second solo album, "Tilting," in July 2012.

Cracker's Facebook page mentioned on October 10, 2011, that the band would be working on a new album in 2012. As of April 2013, however, not much progress has been made.

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

Former members[edit]

  • Davey Faragher – bass guitar, vocals (1990–1993)
  • Phil Jones – drums, percussion (1990–1992 – session musician)
  • Michael Urbano – drums (1992–1993)
  • Bruce Hughes – bass guitar (1993–1994)
  • David Lovering – drums (1993–1994)
  • Joey Peters – drums (1993)
  • Johnny Hott – drums (1994–1995)
  • Bob Rupe – bass guitar, vocals (1994–2000)
  • Charlie Quintana – drums (1995–1996)
  • Kenny Margolis – keyboards, accordion (1996–2007)
  • Brandy Wood – bass guitar, vocals (2000–2004)
  • Victor Krummenacher – bass guitar, vocals (2004–2006)

Timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums
Compilation and live albums
Singles and EPs
  • "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" (1992)
  • "Tucson" (1993)
  • "Low" (1993)
  • "Get Off This" (1994)
  • "Euro-Trash Girl" (1994)
  • "I Hate My Generation" (1996)
  • "Nothing To Believe In" (1996)
  • "The Good Life" (1998)
  • "The World Is Mine" (1998)
  • "Shine" (2002)
  • "Merry Christmas, Emily" (2002)
  • "Something You Ain't Got" (2006)
  • "Gimme One More Chance" (2006)
  • "Everybody Gets One For Free" (2006)
  • "Turn On Tune In Drop Out With Me" (2009)
Charting songs
Year Title Chart positions Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. Modern Rock U.S. Mainstream Rock UK Singles Chart[4]
1992 "Happy Birthday to Me" - 13 - - Cracker
"Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" - 1 27 -
1993 "Low" 64 3 5 43 Kerosene Hat
1994 "Euro-Trash Girl" - 25 - -
"Get Off This" - 6 18 41
1996 "I Hate My Generation" - 13 24 - The Golden Age
"Nothing to Believe In" - 32 40 -
"Sweet Thistle Pie" - - 33 -
Various artist compilations
  • The Virgin Years (1995) with Camper Van Beethoven
  • Garage D'Or (2000) 2 disc Greatest Hits Album and oddities collection
  • Hello, Cleveland! Live at the Metro (2002)
  • Get On With It: The Best of Cracker (2006) Virgin Records greatest hits collection (Not authorized by the band[5])
  • Greatest Hits Redux (2006) Band authorized re-recordings of major hits
Tribute albums

References[edit]

  1. ^ Graham Pugh. "Camper Van Beethoven - Cracker - Magnetic - Pitch-a-Tent - Sparklehorse - FSK". The Van. Retrieved 2012-05-08. 
  2. ^ "429 Records". 429 Records. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  3. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 219. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 124. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ "Allmusic page for Get On With It: The Best of Cracker". 

External links[edit]