By Kristina Houck
While others are decking the halls this season, Camper Van Beethoven will be on the road.
The alternative rock group is once again embarking on its annual holiday tour.
“We’ve been doing this Christmas run for 10 years,” said Victor Krummenacher, bassist, guitarist, songwriter and founding member. “It’s a tradition with us.”
The three-date “Drifting Down the Coast Tour” begins Dec. 27 in Petaluma, Calif. After a Dec. 28 stop in San Francisco, the band will make its way to Solana Beach Dec. 29 at the Belly Up Tavern.
All dates include alternative rock band Cracker. Several more shows are scheduled throughout the country in January. Lead vocalist David Lowery heads both bands.
“We do it every year this time,” said Krummenacher, who also performs and has released music as a solo artist. “We plan to play every year this time for a few more years — at least.”
After graduating from high school in 1983, Krummenacher met Lowery, who was home from college, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Molla. Camper Van Beethoven and the Border Patrol was formed and later relocated to Santa Cruz, when multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Segel joined.
With a shortened name, the band released its first studio album, “Telephone Free Landslide Victory,” in 1985. Three decades, a few lineup changes and seven studio albums later, Camper Van Beethoven is still going strong.
“We’re definitely older and more seasoned in how we play,” said 48-year-old Krummenacher, a Riverside native who now lives in San Francisco. “It’s definitely a more seasoned approach, but that silliness and absurdity is still in it — it’s just delivered with a little bit more grace. You don’t have a lot of grace when you’re a teenager.”
Nearly a decade after Camper Van Beethoven released its seventh album, “New Roman Times,” band members wrote new material and released their eighth album, “La Costa Perdida,” earlier this year. The album pays homage to the northern and rural California regions where the band got its start.
“We grew up playing with each other,” Krummenacher said. “There’s a power that goes with playing music with the people you learned how to play with. There’s a lot of power on stage.”
Camper Van Beethoven took a break from touring for most of the 1990s. Krummenacher used the time to study graphic design at UC Santa Cruz. He now works as managing art director of Wired magazine.
Since then, Camper Van Beethoven has toured consistently. The band has already recorded its follow-up album to “La Costa Perdida.” The yet-to-be-named album is inspired by Southern California, Krummenacher said.
“It’s a labor of love,” Krummenacher said. “I really enjoy writing songs and performing. It’s a reason for getting up in the morning.
“I’ve spent so much time traveling in the last 30 years,” he added. “I’m glad that we still get to do it.”
The Belly Up Tavern is located at 143 South Cedros Ave. in Solana Beach.
General admission tickets cost $20. To purchase tickets to see Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, visit www.bellyup.com
For more information about Camper Van Beethoven, visit www.campervanbeethoven.com
For more information about Cracker, visit www.crackersoul.com