Songwriter David Lowery has taken to shaping young minds when he isn't performing on the road with his two bands, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven.

At times, he is able to do both at once.

Lowery teaches a class on the music business at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Thanks to smartphone technology, he often finds himself using Skype to lecture his students remotely from the field.

"I will be at a venue and talk about the capacity; how many people work there; the gross revenue that comes through a place," Lowery said in a phone interview. "Standing up in front of a class of 150 kids is really the same as being on stage. You just have to talk louder to keep their attention."

It's those same advancements in technology that recently put Lowery in the national spotlight, when he complained that he had only received $16.89 in songwriter royalties from his Cracker song "Low" being played more than 1 million times on Pandora last quarter.

Camper and Cracker will perform at Club Congress Tuesday.

Cracker is relying on its classic material while Camper has songs from its most recent album, "La Costa Perdida," the band's first studio release in nine years.

During his interview with Caliente, Lowery shared his thoughts on:

Songwriter royalties

"There is a difference between songwriter and performer royalties. For whatever reason, when we entered the digital world, certain negotiations put things out of whack. The performer gets at least 90 percent of the revenue. The songwriter gets 10 percent. There is this weird disparity that we didn't used to have.

"Generally, royalties were more evenly split between the songwriters and performers in the past. The songwriter is the fundamental building block of the music business. You have no songs without songwriters."

Why it took Camper nine years between albums

"There really wasn't a reason. We kept trying to get together to write songs. You don't make much money off of albums. There isn't a high incentive for Camper to go into the studio. We are just going to make an album when we feel like it.

"Everybody kind of had these other things going on. I have Cracker. Victor (Krummenacher) is the managing art director of "Wired" magazine. It is a job you don't want to give up to go out with your quirky indie-rock band.

"We end up doing it when we are highly motivated to make an album. It is more pure that way."


"Camper has a special relationship with Tucson. It was one of the first places outside of California where we started to get popular. Hotel Congress is one of those places we have played forever. Cracker, too. It is kind of a long-standing tradition to come and play there."

If you go

•What: Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker in concert.

• When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

• Where: Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

• Cost: $15 in advance and $17 at the door. 622-8848.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at or 807-8430.