Q&A with Jonathan Segel from Camper Van Beethoven, Playing The Earl, Saturday, 1/26


For the last few weeks, there has been continuous chatter about Camper Van Beethoven and rightfully so as the band just released their awesome new album, La Costa Perdida on January 22nd! The American Alt-Rock band formed in’83 and though side projects and other bands (like Cracker) came into the picture, they are now they back and touring in promotion of the new album. We caught up with Jonathan Segel (multi-instumentalist of CVB) before their show at The Earl this Saturday!

What is the strangest thing a fan has done for you? or at your show?

Hit me in the neck with raw liver. Well, maybe they weren’t exactly a fan. Best note I ever received was “I want to bear your children. No, really!”

What is the funniest moment you have had as an artist/band so far?

Being the back-up band for Tiny Tim. We pulled up at Stache’s in Columbus, OH, and saw the bill was Camper Van Beethoven and Tiny Tim, and the promoter met us outside and said he had promised him we’d be his back up band. He was like a grandma, and he did not rehearse us at all, just said: you’ll know the songs, I’ll just tell you how fast to go and what key. And sure enough, before the song, he would wave a hand and say “in D, Maestro!”… that was it.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Not really. Advil, maybe.

If you could describe your music in one word, what would it be?

Rock. It’s rock music, even with all of the other things thrown in, it’s really still just rock music.

How do you connect with a crowd?

I suppose just by playing the best you can and doing it for them right there at the time.

How did you come up with your band name?

It was made up by somebody with the band long before the band was really a band. It’s one of those things that has a pivot point in the middle, (“Van”) which makes sense with either the word before it or the word after it, but not all together.

What is the best way to write music?

Depends on what it’s for! In a band, it’s nice to write it together in a jam, play things over and over until they fall into place. Then record it and let it sit for a while and listen and work on it again later.


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