Minus the Bear
Members: Dave Knudson, guitar; Cory Murchy, bassist; Alex Rose, keyboard; Jake Snider, guitar and vocals; Erin Tate, drums
Who we talked to: Rose
Where are you calling from? Zürich. We're six hours later (than York). I'm waiting to soundcheck. We're in the middle of a nine-week tour.
How is that going? It's going really good. We've been playing very big shows with Jimmy Eat World. We played Mexico City Oct. 16 and then hit the West Coast.
Any special stops on this leg? I've personally never been to Ireland. Before I was in the band, they went. (Rose joined after the 2006 departure of Matt Bayles.) We always like to play Amsterdam. It's kind of mellow, but it's really great and really friendly. It was a great way to ease into the European tour. Jim (Adkins of Jimmy Eat World's) birthday (was Nov. 11). We have a day off in Paris, so maybe we'll do something (for him) then. We're leaving right after shows in a van. We drive two or three hours in the night and then (resume driving) in the morning to break up six- or seven-hour drives.
How do you pass the time on the road? We don't have Internet on the phone like in the States. We've been playing lots of Angry Birds on our phones. Sometimes, I can muster up the energy to do music on the laptop. (I'm) trying to stay productive.
Are the crowds digging the tunes? Yeah, especially for headlining shows. Opening is a whole different beast. You have to win people over (since) a majority of the crowd maybe hasn't heard of you. It's a challenge. Playing (songs) live is always the payoff of making an album. We love to play places we never played because sometimes it will turn out really well. Like McAllen, Texas - None of us have ever heard of it, but 800 kids came out (to the concert).
You worked with producer Joe Chiccarelli (My Morning Jacket, The White Stripes, The Shins) on your most recent record "Omni." What was that like? It was nice. It was the first time in a long time that the band has worked with someone who wasn't in the band. The former keyboardist (Bayles) did a lot of producing. (Chiccarelli) pushed us in ways that haven't been done yet. It was cool to watch him work. I definitely learned a few things. (He) kept a lot of tracks of us playing live . . . instead of overdubbing each instrument individually. We'd play a song for two days, adjusting the sound and tweaking it.
The video for your song "My Time" has got some buzz. Mike Mohan . . . directed the video. We felt really good about him. He interviewed us and really likes us a lot. We went through a bunch of treatments and at the last second, we weren't digging the one we chose. He had three days to prepare (a new concept). It was all his idea. We knew we wanted dancers. Jeff (Castelaz) from Dangerbird (Records) met someone from Beat Freaks (dance) crew, so it worked out.
Saw that you booked the Popsickle 2010 festival in Minneapolis. Do you know any other bands on the bill? We're friends of Motion City Soundtrack. They asked us to play. Erin, our drummer, is from Minneapolis.
Where are the rest of you from? I'm from New Mexico. That's where I met Cory, the bass player. We went to the same high school. The others are from Seattle. I moved there six-and-a-half years ago. I needed the change.
What is coming up for you guys next year? We've been touring kind of nonstop since March. We did South by Southwest and ("Omni") came out in May. Since we're mostly opening (now), we're going to be headlining shows (in America) and in the U.K. and Australia. We'll probably try to hit the summer festivals.
Any plans for a new album? We're already thinking about the next record. This one was about two-and-a-half years after the last one. We want the next (album) to be out sooner. It's refreshing to get back to the creative process.
I heard the band's name is based on a dirty joke. Is that true? Sadly, it is the truth. A lot of the band has humor, not so much in the music, but behind the scenes. It's what keeps us sane. Each tour has it's own inside joke. I think the name is appropriate for the band.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF
If you go
Minus the Bear will perform at 8 tonight at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St. in York. Tim Kasher (of Cursive and The Good Life) will open the show. Tickets cost $20. For details and tickets, call 846-1111 of visit www.strandcapitol.org.
For details about Minus the Bear, visit minusthebear.com.
To read more meet-the-artist interviews, visit www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.