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Cracker Acoustic Duo CD: Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey
Record Label: 429 Records
by Justin Beckner
April 2010

Since their formation in 1991, Cracker has existed on the fringe of the mainstream, riding the dangerous line between country western and alternative rock, probably best known for their Platinum 1993 release “Kerosene” which contained the breakout hit, “Low”. It was Johnny Hickman and David Lowery who decided to do an acoustic duo tour as part of their relentless touring regimen. Check out a show when they hit your city. As someone who has seen Cracker several times I can tell you that you will not be disappointed. Below is an interview with Cracker’s lead guitarist, Johnny Hickman.

MAXIMUM INK: What is your least favorite interview question?
JOHNNY HICKMAN: What’s you favorite Cracker?  I often answer “A racist one” just to get a reaction to this banal question that I’ve heard for 20 years. I don’t mean to be cruel, but it’s just exasperating you know? Come on!

MI: How was the Spain Tour? What was the best venue you played over there?
JH: They were all wonderful in their way. I am happy to say that Cracker has more ardent followers per capita in Spain than anywhere. The Spanish fans truly grasp both the poetic nuances of David’s words and my guitar playing, thank you very much. That’s quite an honor considering their country invented the guitar 700 years ago and has produced countless brilliant poets.

MI: I just got Palmhenge, your solo album (Which is great by the way). Do you have plans to release any more solo work in the future?
JH: Thank you. I have a lot of new songs and riffs in the works. Some will end up Cracker, some will end up on my next solo CD. I have a few that are definitely for the solo record….very personal stuff. It may be a rather dark CD but of course I love to make people laugh too as with “Friends” or Mr. Wrong”. Besides, I don’t like one dimensional records.

MI: Could you tell me a bit about Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey? How was in different from your previous albums?
JH: It was less Johnny and David saying “Here are the new songs guys…and here’s how they should probably go”. More like “Hey….we have a song or two finished and some riffs and ideas. What do you
think? How should we finish them? It was really fun and I love the way it turned out. Frank and Sal contributed a lot.

MI: Is Cracker working on any new material?
JH: Always. When you live it they just come.

MI: As a guitar geek, I enjoyed reading about your guitars on your website (Thats what I call research). What happened to the Gold Top with the fish on it? How did it die?
JH: Me being a hot headed asshole really. I was in the middle of a solo in San Francisco, out on my own on the mast of the ship so to speak. Suddenly the wireless signal started going out. Really fucked me up. I turned around and my guitar tech was not there so I just tossed it on the carpet. Unfortunately there was a brick wall behind the carpet. It cracked all the way down the middle and was a goner. My son Hans told me to sell the remains and use the money for an anger management class! The little smart ass. Ha ha!

MI: Tell me about this campout you put on. What’s in store for 2010? Can I come? Should I bring my own beer?
JH: Come on! If you don’t have a good time I’ll personally refund your ticket price. It’s amazing. It’s in the high, cool, clear Mojave desert in California near where David and I grew up. The honky tonk has plenty of need to byob. You can camp or stay in one of the hotels. It’s great.

MI: Tell me about this acoustic tour you’re doing right now with David Lowery.
JH: The duo shows are another side of Cracker…the core really. It gets down to the heart of the conversation between David’s words with my guitar melodies answering them. The songs are really exposed and the fans seem to really like the intimacy. David plays acoustic but I still play old #7 electric. It’s not exactly folksy or anything. It rocks, trust me.

MI: Do you have any final thoughts comments or plugs?
JH: Just to tell our fans that we love and appreciated them more than we can say. Looking forward to seeing you all again.

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