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Unhappy Campers

Indie rock veterans Camper Van Beethoven were dealt an unfriendly blow by our neighbors to the north this past week. After triumphantly rocking a sold-out CMJ show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom last Saturday night, Camper Van Beethoven’s comeback tour hit an unexpected bump in Montreal the following Wednesday, when all of their gear and merch was stolen from a van in the parking lot of the Hotel Lord Berri.

According to Camper’s website, the theft was clearly premeditated and professionally executed. “They cut through the sheet meal of the trailer to get around the lock, but not before rifling the keys in the attendant kiosk to see if they couldn’t steal the whole van,” wrote the band in an online statement.

Rupert Bottenberg, the music editor for Montreal’s alt weekly The Mirror, was disappointed but not shocked by the theft. “This seems to happen about every six months here,” Bottenberg says. “It will be a black eye for the city if bands are discouraged from coming because they’re worried about their stuff getting jacked.”

The Gibson, Ibanez, and Fender companies have replaced Camper Van Beethoven’s instruments so that the band can continue on tour to support their first studio album in fifteen years, New Roman Times. Camper’s lead singer, David Lowery, seemed to take the loss of his gear in stride. Lowery was overheard saying, “New record, new guitars, what could be better?!”

If you happen to live in Montreal and want to help, Bottenberg suggests checking out local pawnshops to search for Camper’s stolen goods. “Most of the bands have really personalized equipment,” Bottenberg says. So if you see a decal-laden violin or a green Charvel Surfcaster being sold next to a rhinestone bracelet and a small handgun, get in touch with the band at: