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Monks of Doom: Camper Van Beethoven, Counting Crows alumni team up

We speak with Victor Krummenacher

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Victor Krummenacher is perhaps best known for being a member of the critically lauded legendary '80s band Camper Van Beethoven, which he led alongside future Cracker frontman David Lowery.

As a side project to Camper, Krummenacher and a few of his bandmates—including longtime multi-instrumentalist and Counting Crows member David Immergluck—started Monks of Doom.

Both bands existed at the same time briefly, before Camper called it quits. The Monks played on, working sporadically throughout the 90s and beyond.

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When Camper returned in 2004, Monks of Doom continued and the world of CVB, Monks, and Cracker soon collided. All three bands often collaborate on festivals and shows these days, due to all three sharing members.

Continuing in that spirit of inter-band collaboration, Krummenacher is bringing not only the Monks of Doom to The Jinx on Fri., April 26, but also his new solo project, which will open the night. It’s being presented by Knocked Out Loaded, the new concert promotion venture run by Savannah staple Jim Reed.

Reed is known for his involvement in all things music and film in Savannah, and launched KOL in the same spirit as his previous promotions venture Tiny Team Concerts. In that endeavor, Reed served as main talent buyer among a dedicated group of music lovers who brought some memorable shows to town. Now, he continues that work with the launch of KOL and the upcoming Monks show.

Ahead of Krummenacher’s show, we asked him about his career and his two latest projects: the first original Monks album since 1992 and his solo effort.

Something really fascinating about your history is that all the Monks were in Camper. And now it’s this big, amazing musical world of people playing with each other. That couldn’t have been intentional?

Krummenacher: Well, you know, the truth of the matter is that [Camper Van Beethoven] went through a pretty argumentative stage. Bands are hard, there’s no way around it. The Monks started because I think there was some frustration. Bands develop personalities, and they get a series of behaviors going. And if you can sell it, they really get calcified. I’ve always been pretty sensitive to that, and I don’t like standing still. That’s what was happening at the time, so we got this idea that we’d try and do a more improvised composition with the Monks. It started really as a side project. Camper was doing well, so there was a lot of tension around our decision to do that.

But the way I operate is that the music comes first, and that’s the kind of music I wanted to make so that’s what I was going to do. If you’re career-minded, it might not be the best way to go at it. But music is not a career choice for me, so much as it’s something I’m just going to do. So the Monks started as sort of a reaction to what was going on around us and out of a desire to play a certain kind of music.

That certainly seems to be the way the whole thing has operated. The Bronte Pin is your first album of originals in many years, and there was a covers album in between. So it seems like you really do just do these things on your own terms.

Yeah, and everyone's got obligations too. Some have other bands, and in some situations we have day jobs. But when the phone rings and it can work, you do it. The older you get you realize, "I should do this, because I might not be able to do this next year."

Tell me about the idea to tour both the 2018 Monks record and the new solo project Blue Pacific at the same time.

I was looking for a good means of playing some shows, and we'd been touring on the Monks record to this super dedicated fan base. And I thought, while we're able to play I wanted to see if I could put something together. Camper and Cracker have toured together frequently, so I was just thinking that I could just hire the Monks to back me up and do it in that similar way.

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