Minus The Bear

Originally in The Oklahoma Daily on October 23rd, 2007.

The first time Seattle band Minus the Bear headlined in Oklahoma was in 2003 at the Opolis, which holds about 180 people. The second time was at the Conservatory in 2005, which has a capacity of 240 people. Tonight, the band will play at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, which holds about 1,400 people. That’s quite a large leap for such a short amount of time.

The band, which consists of singer/guitarist Jake Snider, guitarist Dave Knudson, drummer Erin Tate, bassist Cory Murchy, and keyboardist Alex Rose, is currently in the middle of a seven-week tour in support of its latest record, “Planet of Ice.”

“This is the best tour we’ve ever been on, or that I have ever been a part of,” Jake Snider said. “Everything’s just been very consistent. The crowds have been good — good clubs. It’s been a lot of fun.”

A seven-week long tour might be considered too long by some bands, but the members of Minus the Bear are used to it.

“We are out for seven weeks on this one, then we are home for about eight days, and then it’s four weeks in Europe,” Snider said. “It’s been that way for like six years, just touring every fall. We know exactly what to expect. We are lucky now, because everything is a lot more comfortable. We rented a van with like a 20-inch flat-screen TV, and we have been watching a lot of movies and TV shows on DVD. And the venues are better now. When the clubs are nicer, the stress level goes down a lot.”

Prior to the recording of “Planet of Ice,” the band went through some lineup changes. Founding member and keyboardist Matt Bayles left the group in order to focus full-time on his career as a record producer, and Alex Rose was then brought in to replace him.

“The rest of us are so used to playing with each other, that we move really quickly and might overlook some things that are wrong,” Snider said. “Alex points out certain flaws that we might not see. He’s really critical of the music in a different way than the rest of us. Matt was more about filling things out and creating more atmosphere, whereas Alex is adding a lot of new melodies and layers.”

Earlier this year, the band released “Interpretaciones del Oso,” a remixed version of 2005’s “Menos El Oso.” The first pressing of “Planet of Ice” came with a bonus disc that included a remixed version of the track “Throwin’ Shapes.”

“I don’t think we want to do another remix album this time, but there will be a few more ‘Planet of Ice’ remixes that we will release in various ways,” Snider said.