Another vault feature from 2004. This was before MTB became the underdog darlings they are today. I had been a huge fan of Botch and Sharks Keep Moving and when I first heard Highly Refined Pirates I was impressed. I remember Paul at Double Entendre in Denver not being too stoked with their blatant lyrical male chauvinism but being a fan of Bukowski I thought it was clever and mostly character driven. You should do yourself a favor and go and pick up Planet of Ice. It rules.
Minus the Bear hails from Seattle, WA, a place well known for its slew of innovative bands. Not the kind of bands every grandmother and flannel shirt purchaser of the early nineties knows about though. Bands of the North West coast like Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Murder City Devils, Undertow (RIP), Pretty Girls Make Graves, Integrity (RIP) and many more notable bands that have scarred the underground, ripping open new wounds to let in the knife of creativity that so often stagnates in the emergency room hipness of New York City and Los Angeles.
Minus the Bear, a veritable host of past indie rock members from bands that had great influence like Sharks Keep Moving (Jake-Vocals, Guitar) and Botch (Dave-Guitar) and Kill Sadie (Erin-drums, Cory-bass). Dave was a trombone player in the 6th grade and Jake was an avid fan of music from an early age, his influences were from his older brothers friends.
“I took lessons for about three months or so, but that was about it. I never really learned how to sight read or anything.” Dave says on his early years as a guitarist, prior to playing guitar in Botch when I caught up with the band at local San Diego live music hot spot, The Casbah.
Jake had a similar upbringing in the guitar world, “I started playing when I was about 12. The lessons I took, I would just bring in some Metallica songs and the Teacher would just show me how to play the songs.”
Minus the Bear was started as a side project of all the members and initially was just an outlet and break from the other bands they were in though eventually it culminated in a fulltime band as the other bands dissolved.
Minus the Bear’s music is what the logical progression of musicians from former bands should be, progressive. In that it’s not just a new name with the same sound, or some alliance of musicians that just want to redo what they had done in their former bands. Relive their glory days so-to-speak. According to Dave, “it’s a different kind of energy (from Botch). You can still get the same kind of intensity out of it whether its playing and going ape sh*t like in Botch or if its playing in Minus the Bear where its more feeling.”
Don’t count Minus the Bear out from the 9-5 world. While the young insta-punk bands get signed with major label contracts, cash advances and paid tours and merch, Minus the Bear continues to “keep it real” although, admittedly, they would like to see that aspect change.
“We’re trying to (transition) make this (band) a full time gig, but the level we are at isn’t such that, we can make it as a full time band,” says Dave.
As far as major label signing goes, Jake speculates, “Any deal with any label regardless if it’s an Indie or a Major, it just depends on the deal. If the deal is good and the contract is good than we would consider that. If we like the bands and music the label puts out then we would definitely consider it.”
Minus the Bear rock the Casbah in San Diego and continue on their West Coast Tour then finish and move on to play five dates in Japan. Dave is one of the most amazing guitarists to see live and without the light show from the Botch days hindering the performance viewing, it’s worth a look.
Check them out at http://www.minusthebear.com