Cracker co-founders Johnny Hickman and David Lowery promised each other as teenagers that if they ever started a band they wouldn’t be defined by a musical genre.
“We joked that we would not be genre specific and would make the music we wanted to make,” said Hickman, a guitarist. “It’s been incredible for us. I’ve always felt very proud to be in a band that’s very difficult to pigeonhole into a genre.”
Fast forward more than a quarter of a century and the duo continues to find success with their distinctive alternative southern rock sound while performing their hits on nationwide and international tours.
“Ten albums later and we’re still on the map and still together,” Hickman said. “It’s exhausting doing what we do, but I feel very lucky and we love it. It’s such a payoff to have that love coming to you during every performance.”
On Saturday, Cracker will perform on the Main Stage during the Pleasantville Music Festival. They are scheduled to take the stage at 2:55 p.m.
While Hickman and Lowery met as teens in the late 1970s in California, it wasn’t until 1991 when the duo emerged on the rock scene releasing their self-titled debut album. They found quick success when “Teen Angst” became a radio hit, peaking at the top of the modern rock charts.
“Our first record did well, but it was our second record that took off and really put us on the map,” Hickman said.
Cracker released its best-selling album, “Kerosene Hat,” in 1993, which went platinum and featured iconic tracks “Low,” “Get Off This” and “Euro-Trash Girl.” Hickman said he was relieved the band didn’t suffer a sophomore slump after they released their second album and felt lucky it has provided them with the chance to continue to produce more music.
With eight albums that followed, including their most recent double album in 2014, “Berkley to Bakersfield,” Hickman said he and Lowery, the lead vocalist, have remained true to themselves by creating honest music that speaks to them and their experiences.
“David as a songwriter creates a character and lets them speak and not a lot of songwriters grasp that songwriting style and go forward with it and these characters populate our songs,” Hickman said. “We write for ourselves first and foremost and that’s an honest way to write, but if the song happens to speak to somebody else, then all the better.”
Hickman added that Cracker’s hardcore fans – and the new ones they make with each performance – have made every song and tour date worth the 27 years of hard work. During Saturday’s performance, Cracker will perform its iconic hits, new and older songs and tracks from “Gentleman’s Blues” to appease their devout following, who refer to themselves as “crumbs.”
While Hickman is looking forward to performing at the Pleasantville Music Festival, he’s even more excited to spend the day listening to some of the other 17 bands on the bill and making new friends and fans.
“I’m the guy in the band that likes to meet people in the audience,” Hickman said. “I’ve always been that way. To me, that’s half the fun of being a band.”