Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Stripped-down Cracker brings...
. . . .

Stripped-down Cracker brings acoustic rock to Legs Inn

Rick Coates - June 20th, 2011
In the early ‘80s when major record companies were trying to get every band to sound the same, the indie-rock scene emerged to counter the money-oriented music industry. As commercial radio embraced the homogenized rock sounds, college radio and MTV were busy ushering in the independent labels, with such bands as R.E.M. and U2, among others, leading the way. 
Another band that was part of the second generation of the indie-rock scene was Cracker founded by vocalist and songwriter David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman. Formed in 1991, Cracker signed with Virgin Records and released their self-titled debut CD in 1992 with alternative rock hits “Happy Birthday to Me” and “Teen Angst.”  Cracker would become best known for their platinum-selling album, “Kerosene Hat”  in 1993, which featured the hit songs “Low”, “Euro-Trash Girl”, and “Get Off This.”
Lowery and Hickman will head to Northern Michigan on Friday June 24 at Legs Inn (Cross Village, north of Harbor Springs) with a special version of Cracker.
“Johnny and I do a stripped down version of Cracker. I can’t afford to bring the full band to a small venue in Northern Michigan so this works. we call it Cracker Duo,” said David Lowery. “It gives us a chance to play out of the way places and we still rock out, we are not sitting on stools we are standing up and jamming. Our fans love this, they view the Cracker Duo as a separate entity from Cracker. This format gives us an opportunity to play a different set of songs, of course we still play our hits.”

Lowery was quick to point out he and Hickman are excited about the Leg’s Inn show.
“I know the musical audience that exists in Northern Michigan; in my travels I have heard a lot about Bliss Fest and that whole musical community up there,” said Lowery. “We are looking forward to making our way there. Mark Smolak (co-owner with his brother Christopher) of Legs Inn has been trying to get me there for years and it finally worked out. We have a show in upper Wisconsin so we are looking forward to that drive through the Upper Peninsula. I have been told it is quite scenic.” 
Prior to Cracker, Lowery was the founder and frontman for Camper Van Beethoven, the alternative rockers from California were best known their song “Take the Skinheads Bowling” that Michael Moore used in his documentary “Bowling For Columbine.”  The song remains a staple today on college radio. Camper Van Beethoven disbanded in 1990 but reunited in 1999 and Lowery now does triple musical duty.
“After 28 years in this business I have finally started a solo career,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have musical diversity in that I am in two bands and now am performing solo. I feel that I am in the most rewarding stage in my career at this moment.”
Lowery released his first solo album “The Palace Gaurds,” this past February. So after nearly 30 years in the business why release a solo album now?
“Really there are several reasons, first I have been fortunate to be part of two versatile ensembles with Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. Along the way I have written some songs that really didn’t fit either outfit,” he said. “Couple that with the fact I live in Virginia and everyone else in the two bands lives elsewhere so I wanted to make a record where I didn’t have to have everyone travel so I decided to do this solo record with guys who work at my studio, they are the behind the scenes guys who have been with me for the past 15 or so years.”

Another project Lowery has under taken is the “300 Song Blog,” that he started last summer.
“My goal is to tell the history of the bands (Camper and Cracker) through writing the backstory about each of the songs that I have written. But equally important to me is telling the story of the indie rock movement that I came out of as I don’t think there is an accurate history of the indie rock movement. Writing about each song individually and my observations I think you get a better story about the indie-rock scene,” said Lowery. “I would like  to work it into a book but the book publishing industry is as f----d up as the recording industry just with less money.”
Part of Lowery’s motivation in writing the blog stems from his frustration with some music journalists.
“I have issues with some music journalists or critics, primarily is that typically they have never been performing musicians themselves but somehow they think they are qualified to assess my work,” he said. “It is no secret that most musicians hate music journalists. It is so easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize.”
While Lowery might be critical of music critics one profession he has all new respect for are the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. A couple of years ago Cracker was asked to perform for the soldiers in Iraq.
“It was a great and rewarding experience. We got to do a lot of fun stuff including flying around in Blackhawk helicopters and armored personnel carriers. We spent a lot of time with the troops learning about their jobs and playing a few shows for them,” said Lowery. “One of the most hilarious moments was when we got to spend time with the men and women who have the working dogs. These are the dogs they use for bomb sniffing or to chase down people they are after. They invited us over to their camp. What we learned is these dogs get tired of training on the same people so they saw us as fresh meat so they put us in the special suits and had the dogs bring us down, it was real wild.”

Cracker duo David Lowery and Johnny Hickman will perform Friday June 24 at the Legs Inn in Cross Village. Seating is limited and the show is expected to sell out. Advance tickets and additional information at legsinn.com or calling 231.526.2281.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5