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Jonathan Segel playing a black Stratocaster

Jonathan Segel started playing guitar when he was about 7 years old. At about 10 he had a crush on a girl who played violin, so he thought he'd try that too.

Unfortunately he sucked at it.

That did not stop him, however, from later playing the violin in rock bands when everybody else played guitar. Sometime around 1983, while carrying a violin across the quad at Porter College  (College V) at UC Santa Cruz, he was approached by some kids who had moved their band up from Redlands, CA. This turned out to be Camper Van Beethoven and the Border Patrol.

Well, what we didn't know then is that this association was for life, as Camper Van Beethoven has now made records/CDs for the past ~35 or so years, and is still playing.

Through all the ups and downs of that band, Jonathan has continued to make his own records (../CDs/tapes/whatever... seems like a million of them so far) in a variety of genres ranging from guitar-based rock music to way-avant-garde electronic music and many other places in between..​.



Some press:

Esthetic Lens on Creative Quarantine

Pavement PR "Postive Press Rolls in For Jonathan Segel's "All Attractions"


Interview podcast "Nakedly Examined Music" 2017

Interview StarTrip Japan 2017

Rocktimes Germany review of Superfluity 2017


Jonathan Segel is a composer, performer and multi-instrumentalist.
He plays guitar, violin, computer, keyboards, electric bass and sings.

Born in Marseilles, France, grew up in Davis, California (with a year's side trip to Tucson, AZ.), went to college at the University of California at Santa Cruz (BA 1985), studying music with Gordon Mumma and Peter Elsea, and myth and language with Norman O. Brown.

In Santa Cruz he hooked up with Camper Van Beethoven, apparently for life. He moved up to San Francisco in 1989, then to Los Angeles in 1997 to work for Dane Davis at Danetracks, a film sound post production facility, then back to Oakland in 2001, where received a Master's Degree in Music Composition at Mills College (MA 2003), studying with Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, and Joelle Leandre.

While in Santa Cruz in the 1980s, he played with Camper Van Beethoven, Eugene Chadbourne and various other semi-musical projects, while in San Francisco in the 1990s with Sideways, Virginia Dare, Granfaloon Bus, Dieselhed and his own band Hieronymus Firebrain, which dissolved and reformed as Jack & Jill, which later led to various records of rock music under his own name in the 2000s.

While in Los Angeles, besides playing and recording with Eugene Chadbourne, he played with Clyde Wrenn (as Clyde Wrenn and the Container), with Mike Marrt's Beaumont, occaisonal shows with Mark Goodman's group, Magnet, and spent a great deal of time touring the globe with Mark Linkous' group, Sparklehorse.

Returning to the Bay Area in 2001, Jonathan began playing rock shows with his own eponymous band, as well as a newly reformed and revitalized Camper Van Beethoven. He has made several guitar-centric rock music CDs since then and has performed this music in scattered California shows, including opening slots for such acts as Built To Spill (he has also sat in with Built To Spill and Yo La Tengo onstage as a violinist!) and occasional solo acoustic shows .

In 2004 Camper Van Beethoven recorded a new studio album, "New Roman Times", their first in 15 years, and a then put out a Greatest Hits package in 2009 ("Popular Songs of Great Enduring Strength and Beauty"), both followed by much touring in the United States and Europe, which continues to this day. A new CD of Camper Van Beethoven music arrived in early 2013, "La Costa Perdida" and its companion CD, "El Camino Real" in 2014. Camper van Beethoven continues to tour, usually with David Lowery's other band, Cracker. 

In addition to all of this, leaving Los Angeles and the film and music industries and studying at Mills College led Jonathan back to the world of improvisation and electronic music, and he has been performing improvised music for instruments and computer around the world, including shows in the SF Bay Area, New York, Europe and Japan.

2003 saw the CD release of several improv collaborations with notable artists such as Fred Frith and Joelle Leandre, and with Shoko Hikage, and the first of many electronic music CDs. In 2004, after various shows as both a rock and an improvising duo with Dina Emerson, Chaos Butterfly formed and began recording and touring. Several CDs have been produced worldwide, as well as performances in the US and Europe with many collaborators. Chaos Butterfly is now a moniker for Jonathan performing electronic or otherwise avant-garde improv with a host of other potential musicians.

In 2012 Jonathan relocated to Stockholm, Sweden with his family, where he currently resides. Here he has been sitting in with bands such as The Plastic Pals, and even Gösta Berlings Saga, working on recording his own albums and with others, including Sista Maj, an improvised rock ensemble, as well as recording, mixing and performing with the Øresund Space Collective from Copenhagen, and ongoing projects with Mattias Olsson of Roth Händle Studios and Hasse Horrigmoe of Norway's Tangle Edge


Jonathan has composed music for the Cid Pearlman/Nesting Dolls Dance Company since 1992, including many film projects, and has composed music for Curt Haworth's Dance Company, Deborah Slater Dance Theater and Maxine Moerman Dance Theater


He has scored several films, both feature length and shorts.

Material Press in Germany are the publishers of Jonathan's Chamber Music scores, available in PDF form.

(common name misspellings include: Jonathan Segal, Jonathan Siegel, Johnathan Segel, Jonathon etc. You know, Willem Shaxepeere's name wasn't solidified 'til years later either... Sometimes, several different spellings appear even in the same article! You can pronounce it as you like. Jonathan's dad, Irwin Segel, says it rhymes with "bagel", but he's from New York.)

​Also see: home of the independent record label Magnetic, run by Jonathan and Victor Krummenacher from 1993-2011

Much of the above-mentioned music can be found at 

On YouTube, Jonathan's Channel has many performances in different configurations. 

His blog is at

Jonathan E. Segel Discography:

Solo or as Hieronymus Firebrain or Jack & Jill
playing guitar, singing, violin, etc

1988 Jonathan Segel Storytelling
Pitch A Tent Records

1990 track on the Acoustic Music Project benefit for Open Hand  with David Immergluck
Alias Records

1991 Hieronymus Firebrain Hieronymus Firebrain
Delta Records

1993 Dr. Firebrain's Plane Crash Tape, Vol.1

1994 Hieronymus Firebrain There

1994 Hieronymus Firebrain Here

1994 track on Pushing the Norton -- the Ace Cafe Compilation with Fifth Business
Heyday Records

1995 Jack & Jill Chill and Shrill

1997 Jack & Jill Fancy Birdhouse

2000 Jonathan Segel Scissors and Paper

2003 Jonathan Segel Edgy Not Antsy

2008 Jonathan Segel Honey

2012 Jonathan Segel All Attractions/Apricot Jam

2014 Jonathan Segel Shine Out


2017 Jonathan Segel Superfluity

Floating World UK

2020 Jonathan Segel Here Comes Sunshine (single)


2020 Jonathan Segel Outside Inside


2023 Jonathan Segel Shitty Nuggets


other electronic/electro-acoustic:

2003 Jonathan Segel Non-Linear Accelerator

2005 Jonathan Segel Rauk

2005 Jonathan Segel Amnesia/Glass Box

2006 Jonathan Segel Summerleaf

2007 Jonathan Segel Underwater Tigers

2018 Jonathan Segel Artificial Relics


2018 Jonathan Segel machines


2019 Jonathan Segel Moving Through Loneliness

2022 Jonathan Segel Superposition of States


2023 Jonathan Segel Current Motion


2023 Jonathan Segel Downstream Motion


2023 Jonathan Segel Spaceman with a Suntan (Stockholm EMS Series Vol. 1)


2023 Jonathan Segel Super Music Simulator (Stockholm EMS Series Vol. 2)


2023 Jonathan Segel They Got the Beets (Stockholm EMS Series Vol. 3)


2023 Jonathan Segel And Then... (Stockholm EMS Series Vol. 4)


2015 Sista Maj The Last of May


2016 Sista Maj Series of Nested Universes

Space Rock Productions

2018 Sista Maj Localized Pockets of Negative Entropy

Adansonia Records DE

2019 Sista Maj The Extreme Limit



+ several digital-only releases at


with Camper Van Beethoven
playing violin, guitar, keyboards, singing, etc...

1985 Telephone Free Landslide Victory
Independent Project Records

1986 II & III
Pitch A Tent Records

1986 Camper Van Beethoven
Pitch A Tent Records

1987 Vampire Can Mating Oven
Pitch A Tent Records

1988 Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
Virgin Records

2000 Camper Van Beethoven is Dead, Long Live Camper Van Beethoven
Pitch-A-Tent Records

2002 Cigarettes and Carrot Juice - The Santa Cruz Years
Pitch-A-Tent Records

2003 Tusk
Pitch-A-Tent Records

2004 New Roman Times
Pitch-A-Tent Records/Vanguard

2008 Popular Songs of Great Enduring Strength and Beauty
Cooking Vinyl

2013 La Costa Perdida

429 Records/Savoy Label Group

​2014 El Camino Real

429 Records/Savoy Label Group

2015 Sharknado 3 "Oh Hell No" soundtrack

Lakeshore Records

with Eugene Chadbourne
playing violin, mandolin, slide guitar, keyboards, toys...

1987 Camper Van Chadbourne
Fundamental Records

1988 Eddie Chatterbox Double Trio Love Album
Fundamental Records

1991 Eugene Van Beethoven's 69th Sin-Funny
Fundamental Records

1999 Used Record Pile
Knitting Factory Records

1999 Revenge of Camper Van Chadbourne
Knitting Factory Records

2001 PsyCHADelidoowop

as Chaos Butterfly
2005 Live at Studio Fabriken, Gothenburg, SE - with Biggi Vinkeloe
Eld Records

2005 threelivingthings

2005 Radio

2012 Unforeseen Events


with Øresund Space Collective

2015 Øresund Space Collective Different Creatures

Space Rock Productions

2016 Øresund Space Collective Ode to a Black Hole

Space Rock Productions

2016 Øresund Space Collective Live in Karlsruhe

2016 Øresund Space Collective Live in Nuremburg


2016 Øresund Space Collective Visions Of...

Space Rock Productions

2017 Øresund Space Collective Live at the Little Devil, Tilburg, NL


2017 Maat Lander/Øresund Space Collective  split LP

Clostridium Records

2017 Øresund Space Collective Hallucinations Inside the  Oracle

Space Rock Productions

2018 Øresund Space Collective Live in Berlin 2018


2018 Øresund Space Collective Kybalion

Space Rock Production

2019 Øresund Space Collective Live from Tampere 2018


2019 Øresund Space Collective and Black Moon Circle Freak Out in the Fjord

Space Rock Productions

2019 Øresund Space Collective Live at Kuudes Linja 


2019 Øresund Space Collective Live in Liepaja Latvia


2020 Øresund Space Collective Experiments in the Subconscious

Space Rock Productions

2020 Øresund Space Collective Live in Warsaw 2019


2020 Øresund Space Collective Vastavirta


2020 Øresund Space Collective Four Riders Take Space Mountain

Space Rock Productions

2021 Øresund Space Collective Relaxing in the Himalayas

Space Rock Productions

2022 Øresund Space Collective Live in Dresden

Space Rock Productions

2022 Øresund Space Collective Berlin Freakout 2019

Space Rock Productions

2023 Øresund Space Collective Høstsabbat 2021

Space Rock Productions

2023 Øresund Space Collective Everyone Is Evil

Space Rock Productions

2023 Øresund Space Collective Live in Helsingor (DVD)

Space Rock Productions

see Ø


with DJ Astro/Astral Magic

2020 Astral Magic Inside the Space Cabin


2020 Astral Magic In Orbit


2021 Astral Magic Electronic Vol. 4


2021 Astral Magic The Chosen Ones


2021 Astral Magic The Mists of Orion


2021 Astral Magic A Trip to Alpha Centauri


2022 Astral Magic Cosmic Debris


2022 Astral Magic A Peak Into the Future


2022 Astral Magic Inner Journey


2022 Astral Magic Meetings with the Universal Mind

Spurious Transients

2022 Astral Magic The Mental Universe


2022 Astral Magic In a Haze


2022 Astral Magic (with Shane Beck) Apparition's Breath


2023 Astral Magic We Are Stardust


2023 Astral Magic The Last Survivors


2023 Astral Magic (with Shane Beck) Mystic Dreams Reversed


2023 Astral Magic (with Shane Beck) Vortex of Eternal Light


2023 Astral Magic Experiences in Hyperspace


2023 Astral Magic (with Shane Beck) Balance of Oblivion



with Big City Orchestra

1998 Greatest Hits and Test Tones

2007 Villanella

2007 Musical Box

2007 Love Film Greats

+many others, you'll have to figure it out yourselves


with John Kruth

1996 Toast by the Electric Chairmen (John Kruth)
Weasel Disc

1999 MoonDog Girl by the Noodle Shop
John Kruth, Elliot Sharp, Atilla Engin and Jonathan Segel
Sparkling Beatnik Records

2008 Splitsville by John Kruth
Smiling Fez Records

2015 The Drunken Wind of Life

Smiling Fez Records

with Clyde Wrenn

1998 The Container by The Container
Subliminal Records

1999 Clyde Wrenn Long Day's Journey into Night
Surprise Truck Records

2001 Clyde Wrenn The Blue Cliff Record
Blue Jacket Records

with Tom Shad

2016 Shale Current


improvised music collaborations:

2003 Fred Frith/Joelle Leandre/Jonathan Segel Tempted to Smile

2003 Jonathan Segel/Shoko Hikage Gen

2006 Moe! Staiano's Moe!Kestra An Inescapable Siren Within Earshot...
Amanita Records/Rastascan Records

2006 various artists/Jon Raskin + Myles Boisen Music + One
Rastascan Records

2009 Lucio Menegon Sonic Demons
Edgetone Records

2010 Emergency String (X)tet and Rent Romus Emergency Rental
Edgetone Records

2012 T.D. Skatchit & Company Skatch Surveillance
Edgetone Records

2017 Jonathan Segel Band Live at Camp-Out XIII


2019 Jonathan Segel Band Live at Camp-Out XV


2020 Transatlantic Space Connection (with Bryan Howard and Carlton Owens)


other projects, session work, studio collaborations:

playing violin, guitar,  mandolin, etc.

1986 Yo Once in a Blue Moon
Deadbeat Records

1987 Frontier Wives Rockinghorse Violins
Petroleum By Products

1987 Spot 1019 This World Owes me a Buzz
Pitch a Tent, later on Frontier Records

1987 Young Fresh Fellows The Men Who Loved Music

1988 Walkabouts Cataract
Sub Pop

1991 Overwhelming Colorfast Overwhelming Colorfast

1992 Granfaloon Bus A Love Restrained

1998 Loud Family Days for Days
Alias Records

1999 Magnet Sharkbait
PC Music

1999 Sparklehorse Distorted Ghost EP

2000 Alison Faith Levy My World View

2000 Victor Krummenacher Bittersweet

2000 Mike Levy Fireflies
Parasol Records

2005 Patrick Phelan Cost


2006 ld beghtol and the New Criticism Tragic Realism
Darla Records

2007 Mossyrock I know I'm Not Wrong EP

2008 Victor Krummenacher Patriarch's Blues


2016 Björn Brunnander Galler

Poolhall Records

2016 West, Space & Love Vol. II

Space Rock Productions

2016 Spirits Burning and Clearlight The Roadmap in Your Head

Gonzo Productions

2016 Lowlands (and Friends) Play Townes Van Zandt's Last Set

Route 61 Music

2017 Spirits Burning and Daevid Allen The Roadmap in Your Heart 7" single

Gonzo Multimedia

2017 Game Theory Supercalifragile

KCM Records

2018 XFR 4TA Funny You Should Ask

Capsaicin Records

2018 Buck AE Down All the Way Down

All The Way Down

2018 Del Toro Sound I Hate Balloons

2018 Black Moon Circle Psychedelic Spacelord

Crispin Glover Records

2018 Spirits Burning and Michael Moorcock An Alien Heat

Gonzo Multimedia

2018 The Plastic Pals Psychic Reader

Polythene Records

2019 Dark Bottle Pimee Pullo

Concorde Music Company

2019 Problem Stick Baby Cowboy's Basement Tape

2019 My Little Hum Pioneer


2019 Michael Moorcock and the Deep Fix Live at Terminal Cafe

Purple Pyramid

2019 IntoDeepWater Hour of the Wolf

2020 Armand Gutheim & the Feel Harmonic Rockestra Mother Earth

Mother Earth Artists

2020 Taperecorder North Country

Haggard Bastard Records

2020 Taperecorder Leaving Astoria

Haggard Bastard Records

2020 Spirits Burning and Michael Moorcock The Hollow Lands

Cleopatra Records

2021 Songs From the Fans: Chris Cacavas 60

Polythene Records

2021 Spirits Burning Evolution Ritual

Noh Poetry Records

2021 The Echo People Patience Tester


2022 Superluminous Summer's Almost Gone


2022 Armand Gutheim & the Feel Harmonic Rockestra Dreams of Beyond

Mother Earth Artists

2022 Armand Gutheim & the Feel Harmonic Rockestra Peace of Mind

Mother Earth Artists

2022 Brenneman 'Marcos


2023 Hanna Francis Mustard Seed

SelfHelpSongwriter Records

Film Soundtracks:

1999 The Invisibles, feature directed by Noah Stern
released on video 2001 Vision Box Pictures

2000 Bunny, feature directed by Mia Trachinger

2001 Kickin' Chicken, short directed by Joy Phillips

2001 100% Human Hair, short directed by Ann Kaneko

2002 Love Will Travel, feature directed by Teddi Bennett

2004 Bill's Run, documentary for POV/PBS directed by Richard Kassebaum

2019 Moving Through Loneliness, for Cid Pearlman Dance, presented as museum pieces

2022 (home)Body for Cid Pearlman Dance, presented as museum pieces at Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

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