Thursday, September 25, 2014

key lime pie

 Camper Van Beethoven crossed over the bitter borderline for the tension release of this mysterious matchstick collapse.  The band had successfully made the transition to the majors with their previous album 'Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart'; but from the onset, the sessions for 'Key Lime Pie' were fraught with division.  

David Lowery remembers:    "First, we basically kicked Jonathan [Segel] out of the band because we got to the point where we didn’t feel like we could function with him in the band. He just made a lot of ultimatums, and there was literally no way the band could function. So he was asked to leave, and then Victor and Greg had the Monks of Doom prog-rock project, and I was heading in another direction. And when Key Lime Pie came out, that didn’t get great reviews, so I think in a lot of ways it seemed like we’d made a wrong turn. If we’d been clearly successful on that album, I think we could have got past our differences, but it didn’t seem like we were successful. So I think it was really easy for everybody to split apart. The record label wanted me to continue on as Camper Van Beethoven and I refused to do it. I just started a different project."

Jonathan Segel:   "I was in the band from 1983 through the tour for Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart and the demos for Key Lime Pie...It was weird, because I wrote some of the songs and played on the demos, but I didn’t record with them. I didn’t actually hear it until months after it came out, and I was shocked because, for one thing, the production and songwriting on that record is astounding. It was the best Camper Van Beethoven album ever.   Funnily enough, we had actually recorded a version of “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” during Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, but we didn’t want our first single on a major label to be a cover."

Greg Lisher:    "Before then, we had never been able to afford to put much attention towards making a record. It was always kind of a dream of mine to make a record where we had a producer and could afford to pay attention to the details. It was a real exciting time for all of us; we learned a lot from Dennis [Herring, who produced Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart and Key Lime Pie] that sort of paved the way for how I think about music...Back when we made those records, we would write the songs as a band, which is different to how we do it now. David [Lowery] would come in with the chords and the lyrics, and we’d just write our own parts. Then, we’d go into a rehearsal space with Dennis, and he’d adjust things like tempo and arrangements and stuff like that. There was a lot more pre-production work than we had done before, so we all had a really good idea of what we were doing. To me, that makes a big difference when you’re making a record...I never worried about [selling out] personally, but I remember overhearing other people talking about it once and a while. You’d hear something about how we sold out and stuff. I never really understood that. Our goals were the same: we wanted to make a great record, and now we had more resources to make that happen. Who wouldn’t want that? I guess because we started out as this indie band, people held us to this standard as a result, but I never saw things like that."

 'Key Lime Pie'  was produced by Dennis Herring and features Tim Steelbone Cook on pedal steel;  Morgan Fichter on violin and vocals;  Garth Hudson on organ and talking;   Victor Krummenacher on bass and vocals;  Don Lax on fiddle and strings;   Greg Lisher on guitar and vocals;  David Lowery on guitar, harmonica, keyboards, and vocals;  Chris Pedersen on percussion, drums, and vocals;  and Hammer Smith on harmonica;  with Davey Faragher, Mary O'Neil, and Wally Sound on background vocals.   

Lowery: "The two that are the most coherent are “Key Lime Pie” and the first one [“Telephone Free Landslide Victory”]. They just have something that runs through them that kind of stays the same the whole time, in a good way. “Key Lime Pie” is all about the mood and the sonic darker-ness and sparseness, and the first Camper Van Beethoven record is all bouncy and poppy, like when you were 18 and you smoked pot, it actually made you sort of energetic, and then like when you were like 35 and you smoked pot and you went to sleep."

Krummenacher: "In a lot of ways I really like the third record [“Camper Van Beethoven”]. It’s the bridge between the great spontaneity that was the first record and the kind of sophomore weirdness that was the second record [“II and III”], and it’s refined and it’s organic and it’s really pretty psychedelic, and we were really pretty psychedelic at the time, and it’s got this feel to it that I really like. I also really like “Key Lime Pie” all the way through because it’s just a really coherent, really well-executed piece. I like the production on it. I like the songs. I like the tone. And the first record, I still am amazed that we actually pulled that thing off in two days or whatever it took for us to do."

"Pictures of Matchstick Men" went to number one on the US alternative singles chart.


"Come on Darkness"

 'Key Lime Pie' 
full album:

All songs written by Krummenacher/Lisher/Lowery/Pedersen, except where noted.

"Opening Theme" – 2:21
"Jack Ruby" – 5:22
"Sweethearts" – 4:45
"When I Win the Lottery" – 3:38
"(I Was Born in a) Laundromat" – 3:43
"Borderline" – 3:48
"The Light from a Cake" – 2:43
"June" – 4:24
"All Her Favorite Fruit" – 5:14
"Interlude" – 1:03
"Flowers" (Curkendall/Hart/Lowery) – 2:58
"The Humid Press of Days" – 2:44
"Pictures of Matchstick Men" (Rossi) – 4:08
"Come on Darkness" – 3:14


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