Unrelated, I'm heavy in a David Bazan phase right now, which happens every 2-3 months like clockwork. Mostly the songs "How I Remember" and "Cold Beer and Cigarettes" from his Fewer Moving Parts release this time around. I was telling Matt over beers at Grumpy's Northeast last night that if BEAR ever writes a song as solid as "How I Remember", we'll probably just have to quit music while we're waaaaay ahead. Goddamn, I love Bazan.
There's been a lag in posts in the last week or so. I (Mike) have been getting gritty and gross out in Badlands National Park and Black Hills National Forest for the last week on a much-needed escape from the throes of city life. Being out in that nationally-sanctioned collection of trees, it's hard to believe there's no bears whatsoever. Buffalo, sure. Bighorn sheep? Yup. Hell, even mountain goats. But not a single goddamn bear. (long sigh)
Regardless, BEAR HQ is still officially in the midst of our breathe time. The last two practices we've been focusing on tightening up two songs that we're really excited about. One feels pretty fun, the other pretty dark and creepy. Gonna be so fun to play them back to back.
Jordan (BEAR's bass banger) is sending out booking emails right and left. We noticed our Bryant Lake Bowl show on November 7th is the end of our calendar and needed to fix that ASAP. We'll update our shows page as those confirmation emails start rolling in.
Other than that, Jon (BEAR's lead guitar grabber/organ ogre) and Matt (BEAR's tub thumper/beat brainiac) are working on a set of Goosebumps-inspired songs for our friend Adam's band Goosebumps. G-bumps are playing BEAR's October 26th Halloween blowout at Driftwood Char Bar and it's going to be so goddamn good.
That's it for now. I'll update with some more irrelevant drivel as it comes to me. Stay tuned!
Two nights ago we played yet another fun show (isn't rock and roll just tons of fun, guys?) at Cause in Uptown. My friend of many years now, Jordan Taylor, opened the night solo with a knees-weakening set of songs from Two Beat Band's latest EP, stripped down to nothing more than a nylon string guitar. Then BEAR came and played and tickled some inner-ear hairs with our take on the age-old art of music. After that Hotel San Sebastian made us all dizzy with their amazing set of songs. Please check them out if you get a chance.
Now we here at BEAR HQ have a little time to breathe. The last few weeks have seen us primarily tightening up our existing set for a different show each week. Since our next show isn't until October 26th (that's the Saturday before Halloween, and we're hosting a rock show/costume party at Driftwood Char Bar & Goosebumps is playing their 2nd show in 8 years & Goosebumps is releasing an anthology of all their songs to date that night in CD and cassette form & our new friends End Quotes are also playing), we're going to take the next few practices to put the finishing touches on a few new jams we're really excited about. We've also got a small handful of our 7" to package up and mail out to some patient folks.
Tonight, I'll be going into BEAR bassmaster Jordan's studio to record some film music for a documentary project. I'm not legally allowed to say anything more than that, except it's an honor to be considered as a potential composer for this thing. All I need to do is nail this music. No pressure or anything. Don't phuck up.
Ok, we've got some serious business to take care of. We can't be wasting any more time on the infobahn writing blog posts today. Over and out.
Last night's show at the Kitty Cat Klub was a damn good time. And even though the Goo Goo Dolls were playing a block away at the Varsity Theater, it was nice to see some familiar faces come out and support the little nobodies of indie rock. We couldn't have expected more from a Wednesday night—especially the author, who probably would've been couching it, pantsless, watching Lost and getting all up in some kale. But I digress.
We played a short set that was well received. At each show we get some first-time BEAR witnesses giving us observations, feedback and such. Last night it ranged from "I can tell you're a big Bazan fan—I hear a lot of Bazan and Tweedy in your songs" to "Great set. I only heard one song and it was really depressing. But anyways, yea." So we walked away feeling as though we succeeded in our goals for the night.
We made some new friends with End Quotes. What a great fucking band they have there. Nicest guys, too. Also, Brilliant Beast was indeed a brilliant beast—Jordan, Hannah, Matt, and Eric are all incredible musicians. Go to their CD release at Cause on November 8th. Tell 'em BEAR sent you.
Next up is our own show at Cause. This coming Tuesday (September 17th) with Two Beat Band and Hotel San Sebastian. What a great lineup. We just might have a brand-spanking new song to play for you, if we can get it right at band practice this week. See you then!
Fine friends and furry fans,
School is in session at the University of Minnesota, and BEAR's teaching a free, one-session class on 7-song indie rock sets tomorrow night at the Kitty Cat Klub. That's right folks, Matt (B.A., Cinema & Media Culture), Jordan (B.A., Exercise Science), Jon (B.A., Social Justice), and myself (B.A., English Literature) are bringing the BEAR barrage to Dinkytown in honor of the release of City Pages' 2013 College Survival Guide edition (projected spoiler: never going to The Library Bar will be key to your personal well-being well into adulthood).
Don't miss this one-time collegiate event we're sharing with Brilliant Beast and End Quotes. After our seminar, we'll be hanging out at the merch table to dole out free life advice, as well as our still-fresh Out-of-doors 7" at a special, student-on-a-budget price of $5. That's as much as you'd pay for a Solo cup at a house party, except the 7" guarantees you'll feel better in the morning.
We're super excited to have been asked to be a part of this free shindig, so come on out. BEAR plays promptly at 9:30.
-Likes to have a good time
-Appreciates the Genus Ursus
-Understands the importance of supporting local music/arts
See you all tomorrow night!
People, people, people. We can't get a grip on what a rollercoaster ride last week was. We played Jeff Hanson's (or is it Walter White's??) tape release at the Acadia last Tuesday. It was a doomed affair, starting with the PA giving out, and continuing on with some shoddy cords and a finnicky guitar amp on Mike's end. If you were there, thank you but also we apologize for the technical difficulties.
Then Friday rolled around and we played Lee's Liquor Lounge—our new favorite place. By all accounts, it was our liveliest, tightest set to date. Felt goddamn refreshing, playing with electronics and a sound system that weren't hell bent on ruining us. A ton of people came out, and a fun time was had by all (except for that crotchety, old door guy. if you know what i'm saying then you get what i'm saying).
Next up is next week. On Wednesday September 11th, we'll haul our hind legs to the Kitty Kat Club in Dinkytown to play a City Pages-hosted event with End Qoutes and our good friends Brilliant Beast. We're real excited about this one. There'll be no holding back. Come hang out—we'll have our 7" available for just $5 for that one night only.
See you on a comfy ass couch beneath the taxidermied deer head.
If you know what I'm saying then you get what I'm saying.
Note: We here at BEAR HQ would like to put all show promotions, curse words, and other music-related stuff on hold for a moment.
A lot of people who cross our band's tracks ask why we're called BEAR. No, it's not an acronym or a play on my last name or a deliberate continuation of the current trend of animals as band names. It's pretty simple, actually—we've got a fondness in our hearts for the Genus Ursus; known to most as bears. They are brilliant, complex, surly, strange, and elusive animals of the northern terrain, and the more you find out about them, the more impressive they become.
All of this said, it comes as sad news that the world's oldest living bear—only known to researchers as Bear No. 56—has passed away at age 39.5 in the beautiful wilderness of northern Minnesota. A black bear, 56 was a mother of 22 cubs in her lifetime, successfully raising 21 of them to be nice, polite, grown-up, berry-picking black bears. She slept through 39 long winters (5 more than the previous oldest known bear), only to awake rejuvenated and ready for more life in the north country each spring. We'll be keeping No. 56 in our hearts at our Acadia show tonight. And while the story may be sad, it's a pretty wonderful thing that she passed away of natural causes in her home territory, and not at the hand of a hunter's gun or trap.
Thinking of you, Bear No. 56.
-Mike, and the BEAR family
We've been getting some emails here at BEAR HQ from satisfied customers, doing cool shit with the diorama kit that comes with our Out-of-doors 7". These most recent two involve our beloved fans letting their companion animals get in on the action. The dog seems content, the cat is on some King Kong type shit.
We're playing our friend's band Walter White's cassette release show at the Acadia Cafe on August 27th. We're gonna bust out some new jams for the world that night. And, thanks to our dear illustrator friend Ryan Hanson, we're busting out a new show poster for that night as well. Ryan is metal as fuck, loves horror movies, and is one of the nicest guys we know. Last week he said: "I'm thinking a polar bear with glowing eyes, because I love polar bears." We're always happy to work with a fellow bear-appreciator. But enough with the talk, here's the goodness:
Playing with Jim last night was a great time. We burned through 3 45-minute sets of old folk and blues songs with a number of my originals thrown into the mix. I even coerced Jim into playing a few of my favorite songs of his in the final set. We parted ways after a couple India Pagan Ales and Burntwood Blacks, knowing we'd be doing it again as soon as our respective schedules allow. If you're up in the north country, Jim plays at the Thirsty Pagan every Wednesday night from 6–9pm. If I lived closer, I'd be there every week.
No more solo shows on the calendar. Back to BEAR business. We're moving into a new rehearsal space in Minneapolis Monday night and we'll begin work on some new songs in preparation for what's shaping up to be a fun fall of rock and roll shows. Our next one is our friend Jeff's cassette tape release show for his band Walter White. That's on August 27th at the Acadia Cafe.
Until then, we'll see you around Minneapolis. Stay tuned for new shows and stuff that's in the works.
Our beloved drummer Matt Wulff and some close relatives of the BEAR family will be playing a set at the Amsterdam Bar in St. Paul tonight. Swampboots, the musical project of Dylan Schultz, is swinging through town and the man wrangled up some fine musicians for his homecoming. Matt'll be playing bass, which I couldn't be more excited to see. It's gonna make me nostalgic for those all-ages Kitcar shows in Albert Lea.
Swampboots plays at 9pm sharp. All of BEAR will be in attendance. just look for the tall dudes cracking jokes. I'll be the one slamming Amsterdam's famous smoked-gouda sliders by the dozen.
See you there!
It's been a fine couple of days here at BEAR HQ. Friday night's 7" release was a well-attended, well-received affair, with the staff at Honey being wonderful and the opening band Brilliant Beast proving to be some of the nicest folks in town. A big, giant thank you to all who came out and listened and clapped and bought a record or poster. I'm sad no one bought our diorama for the listed $1,000, but maybe someone at Lee's Liquor Lounge on August 30th will take us up on that offer.
Just to keep the good vibes rolling this weekend, THE GODDAMN CURRENT WILL BE PLAYING "CAMPING" ON THE LOCAL SHOW TONIGHT. Set your FM dial to 89.3 and listen from 6–8pm to hear us on the radio. Or stream it on your typingmachine. Holy shit, what a fun weekend.
Thanks for embracing BEAR in one giant bear hug as we try and get some footing in the Minneapolis music scene. For now, we'll see you at the next show, where we'll have some brand-spanking new jams to play loudly for you.
We're all about sneak peeks this week. In case anyone cares, here's a glance at part of tomorrow night's release show set. Since there are (inconveniently) no guitar shops in Northeast, I sic'd Jordan on grabbing me some packs of strings in Uptown. We're gonna need reserves for this one.
He may not play an instrument, but by all accounts Ryan Bren is a part of this band. He left his mark all over our record packaging and now the boy won't let up. He sneaked me this peek of the posters he'll be pedaling at our merch table at the release show this Friday. 2 colors, 24x18, screenprinted by the man himself. Ol' midnight hiker dude in the poster better keep his head up, 'cause he's about to get the business from an angry mama bear. Bren only printed 25 of these, so get them this Friday while they're hot. Oh, and you can also get our 7" this Friday too! Can't forget about that.
BEAR's Out-of-doors 7" release show
w/ Brilliant Beast
Honey Bar, Minneapolis
Doors: 7:30pm Show: 8pm
Last Thursday we played ourselves one hell of a fun, sloppy show at Big V's. The turnout was slim, but those who did come out caught themselves a sporadic, moody set from what appeared to be one of Chants & Seas' final shows. Followed by 40 minutes of us, the BEAR in the room. We started strong with a brand new jam. Then we played an old party favorite. Then some more party favors. Then Cecelia jumped on stage and sang some with us. Then we played some noisy guitar solos while wearing a camo shirt and jorts (for some reason). Then we packed up our instruments and headed for home. Our second show in the history of time was a fun one. But a little too sloppy for my taste. So this week, me and the boys have gotten after it to clean up those loose ends. Just you wait, BEAR cubs, this Friday night, we'll be on our game for our release show!!
Tonight BEAR will maul St. Paul. We're playing with a couple-members-shy-of-a-full Chants & Seas band and Junebug (featuring members of Communist Daughter). This will all go down at Big V's Saloon, one of our absolute favorite places to play. It's $5 and it starts at 9pm and we're trying out some new stuff.
Also, we may or may not bring a half dozen—no more, no less—of our hot-hot-hot-hot-off-the-press 7-inches with us. Come and be one of the first 6 to get them before you have to wait another week for your next chance. (hint: our release show is next Friday, July 19th, which is what I was getting at with that last sentence there. Follow?).
See you tonight!
Months and months of planning, printing, recording, guitaring, practicing, money spending, emailing, gluing, and scissoring all comes down to this. YOU CAN NOW PURCHASE OUT-OF-DOORS AND HAVE IT SHIPPED TO YOUR STOOP. With our release show just over a week and a half away, we thought we'd get ahead of the game and start mailing these beauties out so they can arrive on or by July 19th. Stream it and buy it for $7 (+ $2 shipping), and you'll get everything you see in the picture above—2 brand new songs on one utilitarian black vinyl record packaged up in a hand screen-printed jacket by our hero Ryan Bren. But let's not forget about those inserts. I mean, look at those damn things. A goddamn giant poster screen-printed in 4-color process + 6 nature cutouts leaves you with everything you need to build yourself a Northwoods diorama that'd make the American Museum of Natural History blush.
We could not possibly be any more excited about everything that's happening right now than we are... right now. So, whether you like vinyl records or indie rock or folk duets or DIY culture or posters or screen-printed anything, you're gonna want to get this thing. Folkmonger Records was nice enough to get 150 of 'em pressed for us, and once we sell out, these wax discs are gone for good.
We'll see you at our release show on July 19th!
This is it, spread out on the table like a goddamn Thanksgiving feast. I hit some hardware stores, craft stores, and liquor stores in the last couple of days getting all the tools, glue, pine essential oils, and Leinenkugel's Original I'd need to get these things all packaged up. I sat down with my wares at 3pm today, threw a documentary about the Redwood trees on my laptop and got to work. Here it is 7:30pm and I'm calling it quits for tonight—only half done. It's a lot of work being 100% independent as an artist or band, but when someone holds the finished product and knows every little minuscule piece went through one our hands, it means something special. That's what I've always honored about some of my favorite artists, and I'm just trying to follow those footsteps.
Last week Cecelia and I worked out some harmony stuff over at her place. Meanwhile, one of my absolute favorite people in the world, Jon Klocek, has signed on to play keyboards/synthesizers/organs with BEAR. We're gonna try and get him up to speed at least enough so he can play on a few songs at the 7" release show July 19th. Noise, noise, noise. Got a couple fresh songs in the hopper that we'll start working on at band practice Wednesday night, too. It's gonna be a good couple of weeks here, folks. Our next show is July 11th at Big V's in St. Paul. One of the best places to play, in my opinion. Won't you come visit us? We may or may not have a limited number of our 7" records available.
Oh, and Redwood trees are the most amazing things.