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"Most of our careers, we've been trying to be ex-punk rockers becoming an indie rock/alternative rock band. But we were living in the ruins of the old hippie civilization. Like living in Roman ruins, but it is hippie ruins," he says. "Country Joe and the Fish, or the Grateful Dead, or someone from the Jefferson Airplane would literally be walking down the street as we were heading to rehearsal space or something. In a way, we started out playfully mocking that culture and taking elements of, like, that Grateful Dead stuff. We weren't real hippies, but by the time we get to this album, we're no longer putting [that hippie culture] down, we're lovingly embracing it."
This embrace helps explain the album's title. It's not, Lowery explains, about the rugged and mostly inaccessible section of the California coast that spreads across the famed pot-growing regions of Humboldt and Mendocino counties. Instead, the album is a celebration of the unseen collateral damage of being a band of anything-goes musicians surrounded by the storied remnants of California's rich musical past.
"The Lost Coast is used to describe not just a geographic area," Lowery says, "but the remains of that lost hippie culture along the coast of Northern California."
Is this newfound maturity the next step in the band's evolution, or yet another strange detour in the unexpected/expect anything world of Camper Van Beethoven? Probably a combination of both.
"We've always taken a little of this and a little of that," Lowery says. "We don't try to get it right."