CLASSIC ROCK OF THE FUTURE
By Dan MacIntosh
Minus The Bear is loosely defined as “math rock” or “futuristic retro” but one thing is for sure—it’s undefineably awesome.
When Minus The Bear reaches The Glass House, the Seattle-based rock band will be supporting a bevy of re-imagined music—as well as some brand spankin’ new sounds taken from a newly released 10-song EP titled Acoustics II.
“Acoustics II has two new songs on it,” explains guitarist David Knudson, “and then eight older tunes that have been reworked.”
Minus The Bear, who is always tinkering with it’s song catalogue, consistently sidesteps any sort of easy stylistic categorization. Just think of Minus The Bear as futuristic retro.
“We’ve always said that we like to tell people our music is ‘the classic rock of the future,’” suggests Knudson, “which I think is a fairly apt description of what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to be influenced by stuff from the ’70s and prog rock and classic rock and all those great records everyone loves, but kind of update it and put our own twist on it.”
Knudson has strong words for anyone that might suggest Minus The Bear is just a little too slick for the alternative music crowd. “There isn’t one way to do any kind of music,” he says in defending his band’s music, “whether it’s alternative or any kind. By saying the only way to make X kind of music is by having X sound, means that you’re buying into everything about that genre; we don’t buy into anything about any genre.”
Nevertheless, isn’t it a little bit more than coincidental that, while Minus The Bear is sometimes described as ‘math rock,’ Knudson explains the group’s approach to making music with—drum roll, please—an arithmetic-like equation?
“That math rock tag probably got put on us early on in the band when we had, maybe, a 5/4 section or the song would be in 7 or 9 or there would be a polyrhythm of 5/4 or something like that,” says Knudson. “At that time, I was doing a lot of two-handed tapping. But honestly, a lot of the songs that we do are just a straight up 4, but we might be playing around with the beat here or there. The math rock tag? I don’t know if it’s totally accurate, but there are certain math-y elements to the songs.”
For many musical acts, annual back-to-school How I Spent My Summer essays are likely filled with listings of the various high profile festivals played and exotic foreign lands visited. Minus The Bear, in contrast, would more likely put pen to paper to extol the virtues of a few significant familial additions.
“Honestly, I mean, this is going to sound super cheesy, but the best part has been hanging out with my little dude because three of us are new-ish parents,” explains Dad Knudson, “so it’s been awesome to be able to be outside and hang out with our little creatures and watch them kind of blossom and run around . . . We had a big spring tour and did some touring in Europe and had a couple fly-outs and stuff like that. So this summer was kind of about focusing on being at home and then preparing for the upcoming tour.”
Even so, these family guys in Minus The Bear are excited about performing their newly reconfigured music. “It’s been fun releasing the track listing for Acoustics II and seeing people’s reactions to what songs are on there,” Knudson gushes, “and then streaming them and seeing reactions to the streams, as well.”
Fans will certainly dig the shows Minus The Bear will be playing this tour.
“The set list is looking pretty cool,” Knudson says. “It’s got some of the stuff we feel people expect to hear, but we’re also pulling out some old stuff we haven’t played in a while . . . We’re trying to give fans a little of both worlds in terms of a few of the standards that people always love to sing along to, but we’re also delving a little bit deeper into albums than we have in the past. And since this is a tour promoting Acoustics II, probably half way through the set we’ll be playing a little mini acoustic set where we play maybe three or four songs off the acoustic album in their acoustic form. So we’ll take off all the loud guitars, strap on some acoustics and play a couple campfire gems. And then put the loud ones back on.”
Minus the Bear w/ Tera Melos and The New Trust at The Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.us. 7pm. $20.