Berkeley and Bakersfield are only separated by 250 miles, but David Lowery, one of the busiest men in the music industry, tells PopMatters how the drive runs right through the center of his long career.
The seminal country outfit Cracker has always been a band apart. At the height of its success in the mid ‘90s, Cracker was a major label darling whose first release sold 200,000 units. This may not seem like much in age when outsiders regularly saturate the digital airwaves, but it was a pretty significant accomplishment back in the days of record company totalitarianism. Although lumped into the homogenous “alternative” genre, Cracker’s backstory never really fit the same mold as its peers like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or the Smashing Pumpkins. Typified by heavy, driving rhythms and soaring metal leads, that lot preferred the same post-ironic fashion and the lyrical subject of a sensitive punker’s high-school diary.
But Cracker? Well Cracker was always closer to snake-skins than Doc Martens or Chuck T’s. And while the blanket lead on radio favorite “Low” owed something to the hook driven strategy initiated by the Pixie’s “Where is My Mind?” and perfected by Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Cracker’s lyrical content is significantly more airy. Whether meta-critical of the industry in their popular hit “Teen Angst”, or the early 90’s lifestyle consciousness on “Get Off This”, or the eight minute epic “Euro Trash Girl”, Cracker possesses the hip and humorous verbal acrobatics of groups like the Dandy Warhols or T-Rex.