David Lowery (musician)

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David Lowery
David Lowery.jpg
Background information
Birth nameDavid Charles Lowery
Born (1963-09-10) September 10, 1963 (age 56)
San Antonio, Texas
United States
GenresAlternative rock
Occupation(s)Lecturer UG
Years active1983–present
Associated actsCamper Van Beethoven

David Charles Lowery (born September 10, 1963) is an American guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and mathematician. He is the founder of alternative rock band Camper Van Beethoven and co-founder of the more-traditional rock band Cracker. Lowery released his first solo album, The Palace Guards, on February 2, 2011, via the 429 Records label.[1]


Personal life and music career[edit]

Lowery was born in San Antonio, Texas, the son of a career Air Force father. He has described his parents as “a hillbilly and an English working-class woman.”[2] His family moved around a great deal during his youth before finally settling in Redlands, California, where he attended high school. He became involved in music as a member of the band Sitting Ducks, who played a mixture of punk and acid rock, along with what Lowery described as "fake Russian-sounding music." Sitting Ducks subsequently evolved into Camper Van Beethoven, formed in 1983 in Santa Cruz, California.[3][2] The band is best known for its cover of the Status Quo song "Pictures of Matchstick Men" from the Key Lime Pie LP and its original composition "Take the Skinheads Bowling," from the band's 1985 debut LP, Telephone Free Landslide Victory, later featured in the Michael Moore movie Bowling for Columbine.

In the early 1990s, Lowery formed Cracker with guitarist and long-time friend Johnny Hickman and bassist Davey Faragher. Cracker rejected the indie-rock sound of Camper Van Beethoven in favor of a more traditional, roots-rock sound. Cracker's biggest hits are "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" from its eponymous LP, released in 1992, and "Low," from 1993's Kerosene Hat. Cracker continues to perform today, although Camper Van Beethoven has also reformed, releasing a cover of the entire Fleetwood Mac album Tusk in 2002 and several new albums of original music, beginning with New Roman Times in 2004.

David Lowery attending a book reading in 2011

Lowery has also done work as a producer at Sound of Music Studios in Richmond, Virginia, working on records by Sparklehorse, Counting Crows, Lauren Hoffman, September 67, Wormburner, LP, Tea Leaf Green, Magnet, Sons of Bill and others. Lowery, along with Ian Solla-Yates of WNRN started RadioVA with Sound of Music in May 2010, an interview program hosted by David that has featured The Hold Steady, Drive-By Truckers, Minus the Bear and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

On September 13, 2010, David married Velena Vego. Vego has been the manager for both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven since 2004. She is also the talent booker for the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia, and Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta.

Other activities[edit]

Lowery is a trained mathematician who has worked as a "quant" (a derivatives trader and financial analyst) and has started a number of music-related businesses, including a studio, a record company and a publishing company.[4] Lowery's extensive experience in business led to his appointment as a lecturer in the University of Georgia's music business program.[5][6]

Lowery earned a PhD from the University of Georgia in 2018. Charles Pitter at PopMatters has said that "in addition to this work, Lowery teaches as a lecturer and has a consistently high profile in the media as a champion of artists rights. As such, it could almost be said that Lowery has become the voice of a generation; however, it seems likely he would dismiss this title as meaningless blabber."[7]

Lowery is critical of the internet era and states that things might be worse for working musicians than under the old record system. In 2012, he gave a widely shared talk called "Meet the new boss, worse than the old boss"[8][9] in which he criticized Pandora Radio for low songwriter royalties, claiming to have made less than $17 from a million streams of his song "Low."[10]

In January 2019, Lowery settled a lawsuit against Napster, which concerned unpaid mechanical royalties.[11]

Discography (solo)[edit]

  • The Palace Guards (2011)
  • Conquistador (2016)
  • In The Shadow of the Bull (2019)


  1. ^ "About Us". 429 Records imprint from The Savoy Label Group (SLG), a division of Columbia Music Entertainment. 429 Records Santa Monica. CA. 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b Fricke, David (19 May 1988). "Camper Van Beethoven's Notes from the Underground". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  3. ^ Deming, Mark. "David Lowery". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Meet the New Boss, Worse Than the Old Boss". The Trichordist. April 15, 2012.
  5. ^ Miller, Chris (February 1, 2011). "TAKING NOTES: Rock star becomes University music professor". Archived from the original on 2011-02-05.
  6. ^ Pitter, Charles. " in addition to this work, Lowery teaches as a lecturer and, as already mentioned, has a consistently high profile in the media as a champion of artists' rights. As such, it could almost be said that Lowery has become the voice of a generation" "PopMatters" Check |url= value (help). PopMatters.
  7. ^ Pitter, Charles. "PopMatters".
  8. ^ Andrew Durkin (18 November 2014). Decomposition: A Music Manifesto. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-307-91176-6.
  9. ^ Lowery, David. "Meet the New Boss, Worse Than the Old Boss - On The Media". WNYC. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  10. ^ Timberg, Scott (August 31, 2014). "David Lowery: Here's how Pandora is destroying musicians". Salon. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  11. ^ https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2019/01/17/napster-settles-david-lowery-lawsuit

External links[edit]