The sound of Jonathan Segel's violin went a long way in distinguishing Camper Van Beethoven from other '80s alt-rock bands, but Segel himself was long gone by the time the band called it quits. The culprit? Too many songwriting head-butts with Camper front man David Lowery. And as Segel says, "The singer gets to keep the band." It's all water under the bridge now, however, as Camper is back in full force. New Roman Times, its first studio album in 15 years, tracks a nameless Texas youth into the military, through disillusionment and drug abuse and out the other side.
"I don't really like the term 'concept record' so much anymore," Segel says. "Since we put a story line together for it, I would say it's more like a rock opera, but the story line is kind of abstract. So the songs could be taken separately. Like you could take the songs from Tommy separately or something." Now if they can only get Ann-Margret to roll around in some baked beans.. .