Cracker is an American alternative rock band featuring singer David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman. They are best known for their platinum-selling 1993 album, Kerosene Hat, featuring the hit songs "Low", "Eurotrash Girl", and "Get Off This".
Founders Lowery and Hickman formed the band in 1991, soon releasing the album Cracker (featuring the hits "Happy Birthday to Me" and "Teen Angst") on Virgin Records. The band has been touring continually ever since, releasing 10 studio albums (plus several compilations, collaborations and live albums). Their most recent album is Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey, released May 5, 2009 on 429/Savoy Records. Cracker mixes influences and sounds ranging from rock, punk, alt-country, psychedelia, blues, and folk.
Shortly after Camper Van Beethoven called it quits in 1990, Lowery began demoing material along with guitarist Johnny Hickman and bassist Davey Faragher, eventually going by the name Cracker. A brief tour with Virginia drummer Greg Weatherford followed.
In 1990, the band recorded a demo tape, which later would be nicknamed by the fanbase as "Dirty Yellow Demos" which included early versions of songs that would appear on later albums.
By 1991, the newly formed band had signed a recording contract with Virgin Records and enlisted the help of several drummers/percussionists (Jim Keltner, Michael Urbano and Phil Jones), issuing their self-titled debut in 1992, which featured radio hit "Teen Angst", which peaked at #1 on Modern Rock Tracks, and another somewhat less popular song entitled "Happy Birthday to Me".
A year later, Cracker issued their best-known album, Kerosene Hat, which spawned the hit "Low". The album sold close to half a million copies, and saw them cover Grateful Dead's "Loser". Drummer Michael Urbano performed on Kerosene Hat and toured with Cracker before leaving the band with bassist Davey Faragher. At this point Bob Rupe joined the band playing bass until January 2000. In 1993, Cracker contributed the song "Good Times Bad Times" to the Encomium tribute album to Led Zeppelin (which was recorded after their rendition of "When the Levee Breaks" was deemed "too weird").
Three years later, The Golden Age was released, with "I Hate My Generation" as the lead single. However, the music scene was shifting away from guitar-driven alternative rock, and the single and album did poorly. The band tried again in 1998 with Gentleman's Blues, featuring "The Good Life" as the lead single, to a lukewarm critical response and again the album sold poorly.
Lowery's old band, Camper Van Beethoven, unexpectedly re-formed in 1999. Since that time, Lowery has performed in both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven.
A compilation called Garage D'Or was released in 2000, with one disc of "greatest hits" and three new songs, and another with outtakes, soundtrack contributions, demos and other obscurities. In 2002, the band released another studio album, Forever which, once again, was met with limited commercial and critical success.
Cracker underwent numerous personnel changes during the early 2000s. Increasingly, there was a tendency for musicians to play with both Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker: dual members of or guest performers in these bands at various points during the decade included Lowery, bassist Victor Krummenacher, keyboardist Kenny Margolis, guitarist David Immergluck and drummer Frank Funaro.
The group left Virgin in 2003 with the independent release Countrysides. A collaboration with bluegrass band Leftover Salmon, Oh Cracker, Where Art Thou? (2003), contained bluegrass versions of old Cracker songs. The band released the studio album Greenland on June 6, 2006 and continued to tour extensively. Around this time, the band's lineup stabilized around Hickman, Lowery, Funaro and new bassist Sal Maida, formerly of Roxy Music.
They sometimes tour with Camper, and together in 2005 they started an annual three night "Campout" at Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace in Pioneertown, CA, close to where David and Johnny met, in which they and several other bands will perform.
Cracker released a new studio album entitled Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey to fairly positive reviews on May 5, 2009. It was the band's first chart on the Billboard 200 in over a decade, after having sold over 3,000 copies in a week. This was in part due to the Triple A chart success of the album's lead single, "Turn On Tune In Drop Out With Me."
David Lowery - vocals, guitar (1990-present)
Johnny Hickman - lead guitar, vocals (1990-present)
Frank Funaro - drums (1996-present)
Sal Maida - bass (2006-present)
Kenny Margolis - keyboards, accordion (1996-2007)
Davey Faragher - bass, vocals (1990-1993)
Bruce Hughes - bass (1993-1994)
Bob Rupe - bass, vocals (1994-2000)
Brandy Wood - bass, vocals (2000-2004)
Victor Krummenacher - bass, vocals (2004-2006)
Phil Jones - drums, percussion (1990-1992 - session musician)
Michael Urbano - drums (1992-1993)
Joey Peters - drums (1993)
David Lovering - drums (1993-1994)
Johnny Hott - drums (1994-1996)