Minus the Bear: Doing it right

by Kristen Stanovich 

caught Cory Murchy of Minus the Bear on the phone as he was walking his dog near a busy street. Cars whooshed past in the background and his breathing seemed labored as he answered the phone. “Is now a good time?” I asked raising my voice over the traffic and static between my receiver and his.

Having been bassist in the band since its inception, Murchy has seen the evolution of Minus the Bear firsthand, from new band members, through five albums and even a re-issue of Menos el Oso last year – the band’s second album from 2005 – and the newest record they’re recording and plan to release next year. During the re-issue tour, the band provided a teaser of their newest album, playing new tracks rich with punchy guitar riffs and fast, hard-hitting drum beats, branching out from their previous work while still maintaining their distinct voice.

“It’s always nice to go back to those songs and see where we were at the time, and with the new members,” Murchy said. “They’re obviously gonna put their own little twist on it just because it isn’t the same person that wrote and recorded all those years ago. It’s kind of nice though, it keeps everything relevant and it’s fun to explore.”

This time around, Minus the Bear is turning over a new leaf in several aspects, recording with a new producer, Sam Bell, and touring with a new drummer, Kieffer Matthias who has also been their go-to drum tech over the years. The transition to having new members has been fairly seamless, however, Murchy said , and each new member has something unique to bring to the table.

“We’ve been a band for 15 years so it’s been fun to kind of explore different techniques and learn as we go,” Murchy said . “That’s 15 years of growing up, and going through great times and hard times, and it’s all been involved. It can be arduous still, it’s always a process and I don’t think that becomes easier.”

And the tides have changed since 15 years ago. Murchy said  when the band started in 2001, they actually had an EP recorded before they’d played live. He said  after the recording process, the progression of the band snowballed from there.

“It was a weird thing to be able to have our EP for sale at the first show we ever played. But from day one we were serious about the band because we knew that this was what we wanted to do. We didn’t really stop to ask questions,” he said. “It’s kind of funny to think about it now because here we are 15 years later talking about it. It just kind of happened.”

Now, more than a decade later, the band is invited to play Suicide Squeeze’s 20th Anniversary Party this month after venturing north to play the Wild Buffalo on Aug. 23. Murchy said even after all this time, and as the band has witnessed the changes in the industry, their desire to put music first is what keeps them going.

“It’s probably easy to get jaded about anything. I think it’s probably learning as you go and having the desire to keep going regardless of what’s going on in the music industry,” he said. “We’re just gonna [go] full steam ahead, do our own thing and you just navigate the waters as they come. And you have to be able to adapt to the changes.”

LIVE SHOW: See the band perform at the Wild Buffalo on Aug. 23. Stay tuned to their website at minusthebear.com or follow their Facebook page.

Published in the August 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine