Minus the Bear | Always a Good Date

 

prof minus_75Minus the Bear happened so organically, and all five of us have the same vision and we want to keep doing this as long as we can.

 

Forget what you thought you knew about Seattle’s music scene. Long gone are the days of plaid-laden grunge kids in three-piece garage bands. For over a decade, Minus the Bear have been refining their sound and consistently impress their listeners with layers upon layers of intricate lines of guitar, unique vocals, and math-rock riffs that inspire. PLAYBACK:stl got the chance to speak with Cory Murchy about their history, and the newest album Infinity Overhead.

MinusTheBear-Butterflies
Photo: Angel Ceballos

We know that the band’s name came from the B.J. and the Bear joke while on a “good date,” but how long did it take to decide on that as the name? How did the process in agreeing to the name for the band go?

Well, the story goes bad pretty quick. You know, you’re just joking around with friends and you think something is funny? We kept joking about it and it came back around to “We should use that as our band name,” and it unfortunately ended up sticking. It was about 11 or 12 years ago, so we were in our early twenties and it was just a drunken goofball decision.

With the grunge genre outbreak during the early 1990s, do you feel that, as a local Seattle band, you have helped to create a new musical movement in the city/area?

I guess? I mean, I’m not really sure, since we live in Seattle and it’s kind of hard to gain perspective on things like that, especially given that we still live in the area. We certainly haven’t reinvented the wheel, but it is different from everyone else, and that’s part of the success behind the band. We’ve been happy that we’ve been able to play the music that we want to, but it’s also been awesome to have the fans come along for the ride. We totally go off of fan reaction and playing at home is always great. I’m always nervous playing at home and hoping that people show up. It’s home, you know? At the end of the day, it’s just another show, but it’s always a bit more nerve-wracking playing in front of your family and friends.

You’ve said in a past interview that the key to being as successful as you’ve been is to just keep going. Given the fact that Infinity Overhead is your fifth full-length album, which is nearly unheard of these days, what keeps you going? Do you find new motivation as you go along, or do you continue to ride the highs of past successes and motivators?

I think we always want to do something a little different with each album, and want to do the best in any sort of capacity that we can. We want to continue getting better and doing better, and the idea of “just keep going” goes along with that. And you know, it’s really fun to play live and play in front of these great audiences and appreciative crowds, which we’ve been really lucky to continue to do. If people weren’t coming out to shows, I don’t know how long we would’ve been around. We just continue to push ourselves, push one another. Minus the Bear happened so organically, and all five of us have the same vision and we want to keep doing this as long as we can. There was never too much thought from the beginning whether or not we should do this, then it all snowballed pretty fast, but we all realized it was fun to do so why not keep it going.

How has the Infinity Overhead tour been so far? What is it like being out with Cursive? Do you ever learn new tips or trucks while on the road, be it from fans or touring with veterans of the road?

We’ve been out with Cursive and Caspian and it’s been awesome: The shows and crowds have been great and it’s been fun playing both old and new songs. So far, the fans have been amazing, and they’ve all seemed to be very appreciative. Cursive has taught us everything we know. We went on one of our first ever tours and we opened up for Cursive’s Ugly Organ tour. They are awesome guys that became fast friends; we continue to be in awe of those dudes. They are a really special bunch.

What are you listening to while on tour?

We all have our own iPods and phones or whatever, but for me, personally, I’ve been listening to Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Skinny Puppy—a lot of weird industrial stuff—and then I’ll immediately listen to some reggae songs and stuff. I’m all over the place, and actually, the last album I listened to in full was Depeche Mode’s Violator.

Do you have any favorite memories from playing in St. Louis?

Yeah, St. Louis goes down in Minus the Bear lore as the craziest show we’ve ever played. East St. Louis is a hell of a place. We played at Pop’s and things got very drunk. Shots were brought out between every single song that we played. Needless to say, by the end of it all we were very drunk and a sight to behold. That was a great time and St. Louis is a lot of fun. I think it was in 2004, but it was a great, crazy time. | Jenn Metzler

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