Cracker's David Lowery

The leader of country-inflected rock band Cracker, singer/songwriter/guitarist

David Lowery has been busy on the producing front. He is working on

tracks for an upcoming Counting Crows LP and helmed Sparklehorse's

acclaimed Good Morning Spider (1999).

Lowery was born 39 years ago today in San Antonio, Texas, and was raised

in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. His first band, Sitting Duck, included

musicians with whom he would later play in Camper Van Beethoven. Sitting

Duck's experimental music mixed psychedelic rock and foreign-language

TV commercials.

Throughout the early '80s, Lowery played intermittently with bassist

Victor Krummenacher and guitarist/drummer Chris Molla in bands Box o'

Laffs and the Estonian Gauchos. Krummenacher and Molla followed Lowery

to the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1983.

At college, the three met guitarist Greg Lisher and composition student

Jonathan Segal and soon formed Camper Van Beethoven. The band's debut,

Telephone Free Landslide Victory (1985), yielded the cult classic

"Take The Skinheads Bowling." The song was a spoof on racist punk-rock

fans.

CVB spent the next few years issuing experimental rock on their own

Pitch-a-Tent label before being signed by Virgin in 1988. Later that

year, they released Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, and in

1989 they issued their swan song, Key Lime Pie, featuring the

political "Jack Ruby."

After the Campers split, most of the band formed Monks of Doom, but

Lowery took a musical hiatus. In the early '90s, he and guitarist John

Hickman formed Cracker, a pop-rock band with a country twist. Cracker

had a college-radio hit with its 1992 self-titled debut, featuring "Happy

Birthday to Me" and "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)."

Kerosene Hat (1993) was a modern-rock radio hit and featured tracks

such as "Low," "Movie Star" and "Get Off This." Cracker contributed a

cover of "Good Times Bad Times" to Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin

(1995) and "Rainy Days and Mondays" to the Carpenters tribute LP If

I Were a Carpenter (1994).

Cracker's The Golden Age (1996) was less commercially successful

than its predecessor. Last year, the band issued Gentleman's Blues,

which featured the single "The Good Life" and also included "I Want Out

of the Circus" and the blues-ballad title track (RealAudio

excerpt). Also in 1998, Lowery acted in the indie film "River

Red." This year he appeared in the movie "This Space Between Us."

Cracker, with new drummer Frank Funaro, opened several dates for the

Dave Matthews Band this year.

Other birthdays: Yma Sumac, 72; Arthur Tripp (Captain Beefheart, Mothers

of Invention), 60; Danny Hutton (Three Dog Night), 57; Jose Feliciano,

54; Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull), 50; Joe Perry (Aerosmith), 49; Don

Powell (Slade), 49; Pat Mastelotto (Mr. Mister), 44; Johnny Fingers

(Boomtown Rats), 43; Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama/Shakespeare's Sister),

39; Bill Stevenson (Black Flag), 36; Robin Goodridge (Bush), 33; Miles

Zuniga (Fastball), 33; and Big Daddy Kane, 31.