This Is Really Why I Do This…

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Minus the Bear Feature From The Inlander

Cult of the Bear

It’s about time Minus the Bear fans get their own Deadhead-like moniker

The Grateful Dead have their Deadheads, Phish has its Phans. Jimmy Buffet has Parrot Heads. And Minus the Bear has… Berserkers? The Bear Garden? Bear Necessities?

Undetermined fan-group titling aside, Seattle’s Minus the Bear has managed to gain a fervent fan base that is not content with seeing the group play once or twice. Their shows are dotted with fans who have seen the group 10, 12 times. But the quintet isn’t like many of those other bands with such zealous habitués for several reasons — one more obvious than others: They aren’t a jam band. You don’t need to be blazed beyond belief to enjoy Minus the Bear (not that many fans don’t choose that path willingly).

And unlike the tunes of so many jam bands, Minus the Bear’s songs actually end. Bassist Cory Murchy loves how people have grabbed hold of his band and refuse to let go.

“It’s pretty cool because there’s a lot of times when a fan will come up, or whatever, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh my God, this is like our seventh time seeing you guys, thank you so much for coming out again,’” he says. “And it’s always like, ‘Thank YOU for coming out.’

“It’s definitely flattering that we have people coming out to multiple shows like that … it’s like they’ve been with us since the beginning, you know, and it’s awesome they’re sticking with us.” Continue reading

Q&A With David Bazan

There may be a tinge of irony in posting this on Easter, but I’d like to consider it some form of a Fairness Doctrine.

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I rarely post the interviews I do for my Inlander features. That’s kind of upsetting because I like the sense of writing process transperancy that can come from comparing an interivew to the article it spawned. However, there are a reasons it’s somewhat of a rarity. These reasons include my interviewer skills (which at times are sub-par) and how hellish it can be to tracribe these things (if you’ve never done it, just be thankful and trust me on this one). But more than anything else, so many of the artists I interview give the kind of boring and generic answers that you would expect from someone who has to answer similar questions day after day.

David Bazan does not fit that mold.

I recently had a chance to talk to the troubadour formerly known as Pedro the Lion in order to write on of said Inlander profiles (which can be seen here). Generic answers aren’t his bag. He has a thoughtful sense of reflection that is unparalleled amongst his peers. During our conversation, he shared his thoughts on faith, his own career, and even The Beatles.

Now that Curse Your Branches has been out a while, what are your feelings toward it?

I liked it. There’s a search in which… Well, I’ll give you an example of what I’m about to say; the Pedro the Lion record Achilles’ Heel – it’s my favorite songs that I had written to date, but maybe one of the worst records I had made. And so when you get to play the songs a bunch, you get to experience them and you’re constantly trying to improve how they feel to you and you have like every night on tour and whatever to do that. So I love Branches. And I like the songs on the record a lot, but I don’t enjoy listening to the record at the moment for whatever reason. But that’s usually how it is, like, there’s only two records that I really like listening to now even though my goal is to make records that I enjoy listening to.

Which two are those?

I really like the way that Friends (It’s Hard To Find A Friend) feels and sounds, even though those songs, some of them are pretty [the phone became undiscernibly muffled for a second] now. You know, it was my 21 year old self who wrote all those tunes. And the Fewer Moving Parts EP, I like the way that that record feels. It’s more of a like sonically all of the parts fitting together in a way that turns me on, and like the energy of the performances, and the part writing in stuff. Which in general I like all that stuff. I like the sound of Branches. Well it’s weird because I guess I haven’t actually put it on for like five months or something, so I might enjoy it today I don’t know.

How has the general fan reaction been to Branches, especially by those who have been a fan since early Pedro stuff?

It’s really splintered. I mean, there’s been every reaction that you could have. Or that one could have to the record. I see all of it in different places. So there isn’t like a unified…there hasn’t been a unified response. It’s been a really interesting kind of conversation of different comments and things that have happened. They’re what you’d expect. Like some people are just flat out offended by the record and won’t partake in it, people who are just bored by it, some people who like the record and then there’s a tension there, they may believe, still be Christian or something, but there’s still something they really enjoy about the record, and then there’s the people who just are saying, ‘Oh that’s exactly how I feel.’ So just the whole range of responses.

Where do you currently place yourself faith wise? I read the piece in The Chicago Reader which basically painted you as a non-believer who is unclear of where your non-belief “spot” is.

Yeah, that’s still accurate. Just basically I don’t know. Continue reading