Minus the Bear

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Minus the Bear
Performing at the 2008 Bonnaroo music festival
Performing at the 2008 Bonnaroo music festival
Background information
OriginSeattle, Washington, US
GenresIndie rock, math rock, alternative rock, experimental rock, progressive rock
Years active2001–2018
Past membersJake Snider
Dave Knudson
Alex Rose
Cory Murchy
Matt Bayles
Erin Tate

Minus the Bear was an American indie rock band formed in Seattle, Washington,[1] in 2001, and comprising members of Botch, Kill Sadie, and Sharks Keep Moving. Their sound was described as "Pele-esque guitar-taps and electronics with sophisticated time signature composition."[2][3]

Minus the Bear released six albums and four EPs. The band's final line-up consisted of Jake Snider (vocals, guitar), Dave Knudson (guitar), Cory Murchy (bass guitar), and Alex Rose (synthesizers, vocals). On July 17, 2018, the band announced their retirement and accompanying farewell tour.[4] Their final live performance was December 16, 2018, at The Showbox in Seattle.


Minus the Bear formed in 2001, and played its first gig three days after 9/11 at the Seattle venue The Paradox.[5] Suicide Squeeze Records released their debut full-length album Highly Refined Pirates on November 19, 2002.

On January 2, 2006, Matt Bayles, keyboard player and producer for Minus the Bear, announced that he would be leaving the band to focus all his time on his career as a producer. His last performance with the band was on January 28, 2006. He was replaced by Alex Rose, who previously worked as a sound engineer on the band's second full-length album, Menos el Oso. Interpretaciones del Oso, an album of remixed songs from their second full-length album Menos el Oso, was released on February 20, 2007, by Suicide Squeeze Records.[6]

The band's third full-length album, Planet of Ice, was released on August 21, 2007, by Suicide Squeeze Records and contains ten tracks. As well as an exclusive iTunes bonus track titled "Cat Calls & Ill Means", a bonus CD containing two B-sides, "Electric Rainbow" and "Patiently Waiting", a demo version of "Ice Monster", and a remix by P.O.S. of the album's first single, "Knights", was released with the album's first edition.

In 2008, the band recorded four tracks live on Daytrotter that were released for free with a membership to the website.[7] Later that year, the band also released an acoustic EP, Acoustics, which contained an unreleased track, "Guns & Ammo", and acoustic versions of six previously released tracks. On October 27, 2009, the band released a two-song single, "Into The Mirror", on various digital music outlets; exclusive 7" vinyl copies were sold on tour.[8]

On February 17, 2010, Dangerbird Records announced that it had signed Minus the Bear and that it would distribute the group's next release.[9] A week later, it was announced that the album was titled Omni and that it was scheduled to be released on May 4, 2010.[10] On May 8, 2010, Minus the Bear was the first band to be featured on RadioVA and was interviewed by David Lowery.[11] On August 5, 2010, Minus the Bear opened for fellow Seattle band Soundgarden in their pre-Lollapalooza warm up show at the Vic Theatre in Chicago.

On January 9, 2012, the band began recording a fifth full-length album with producer Matt Bayles, their former keyboard player. An announcement on their Facebook page on April 30, 2012, said that the new album had been recorded and that it had been sent off for mastering. On June 21, 2012, Dangerbird Records announced this album, Infinity Overhead, would be released on August 28, 2012.[12] On June 29, 2012, Minus the Bear announced on rollingstone.com the release of the first single from Infinity Overhead, entitled "Lonely Gun". On July 10, 2012, it was announced that Minus the Bear would be joining the Big Scary Monsters record label in the UK and that Infinity Overhead was to be released on BSM in September 2012.[13]

On July 10, 2013, Minus the Bear announced that they would release Acoustics II, a ten-track LP with eight acoustic versions of old songs and two new tracks. An acoustic version of "Hooray" was given to everyone who pre-ordered the album.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the They Make Beer Commercials Like This EP, the band played two small shows in the early part of 2014 on the west coast of the US. That summer, the band announced a new full-length compilation album entitled Lost Loves. The LP was released in both vinyl and CD form and contains music which did not seem to fit in a sequential order appropriate enough, at the time, to be put on a full-length release. The tracks "Invented Memory" and "Lucky Ones" were the only tracks that were unavailable before the release of the compilation. The latter was made available before the album's release through SoundCloud and on the band's official web page. The band toured in support of the new EP and continued the celebration of their Beer Commercials LP in the second half of 2014.

On January 29, 2015, the band officially announced via its Facebook page that drummer Erin Tate was no longer a member of the band. "It is with heavy hearts that we regret to inform you that due to personal and creative differences, Minus the Bear and Erin Tate have decided to part ways," signed by Dave, Jake, Cory, and Alex. The band then talked about future tours and continuing to work on the follow-up album to Infinity Overhead.[14] The band's sixth album, VOIDS, was released on March 3, 2017.[15]

On July 17, 2018, the band announced they would be disbanding following a farewell tour that would end on December 14 in their hometown of Seattle, and that they would be releasing a final EP, Fair Enough, in October.[16] After tickets sold out in minutes, the band added dates on December 15 and December 16. Their final live performance was December 16, 2018 at The Showbox in Seattle.[16]

Band name[edit]

The name "Minus the Bear" comes from an in-joke among the band members, referring to the 1970s television series B. J. and the Bear. "A friend of the band had gone on a date," explained singer-guitarist Jake Snider, "and one of us asked him afterwards how the date went. Our friend said, 'You know that TV show from the '70s, B. J. and the Bear? It was like that ... minus the Bear.' That’s the straight truth."[17]


Final lineup[edit]

  • Jake Snider – guitar, lead vocals (2001–2018)
  • Dave Knudson – guitar (2001–2018)
  • Cory Murchy – bass guitar (2001–2018)
  • Alex Rose – keyboards, backing vocals (2006–2018)

Touring musicians[edit]

  • Joshua Sparks – drums (2017–2018)

Previous members[edit]

  • Matt Bayles – keyboards (2001–2006)
  • Erin Tate – drums (2001–2015)
  • Kiefer Matthias – drums (2015–2017)



Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
US Billboard




2002 Highly Refined Pirates - - - -
2005 Menos el Oso - 20 41 -
2007 Planet of Ice 74 - 8 22
2010 Omni 49 9 8
2012 Infinity Overhead 31 7 7
2017 Voids 109 7 11

EPs and others[edit]

Year Title Label Other information
2001 This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic Suicide Squeeze Records Debut release.
2002 Bands Like It When You Yell "Yar!" at Them Suicide Squeeze Records Promotional CD for Highly Refined Pirates.
2004 They Make Beer Commercials Like This Arena Rock Recording Co. Re-released in 2008 on Suicide Squeeze Records with "Houston, We Have Uh-Oh".
2005 Minus The Bear/City On Film 7" split Polyvinyl Record Co. Split EP featuring "This Ain't A Surfin' Movie (IQU Remix)".
2008 Acoustics Tigre Blanco Records Acoustic EP with "Guns & Ammo" and acoustic versions of six previously released tracks.
2009 "Into The Mirror" Tigre Blanco Records Single from Omni with B-side, "Broken China".
2011 "Hold Me Down" Dangerbird Records Single from Omni with B-side, "Broken China", including three tracks recorded live at the Dangerbird Records studios and a fan-made remix of "My Time".
2012 "Your Private Sky"/"South Side Life" Dangerbird Records 7" vinyl released for Record Store Day that includes two Omni B-sides, "Your Private Sky" and "South Side Life".
2012 "Steel And Blood"/"Surf-N-Turf" Big Scary Monsters Limited 7" vinyl released for the UK leg of their 2012 Infinity Overhead Tour. Each copy is hand numbered and has a die-cut cardboard sleeve. Only 300 transparent red records were pressed.
2013 Acoustics II Dangerbird Records Acoustic LP with two new songs and acoustic versions of eight previously released tracks.
2014 Lost Loves Dangerbird Records Collection of rare and unreleased tracks.
2018 Fair Enough Suicide Squeeze Records "Fair Enough", "Viaduct", "Dinosaur"
2021 Farewell Suicide Squeeze Records Triple LP Live Album and Digital Release

Remix albums[edit]

Year Title Label Other information
2007 Interpretaciones del Oso Suicide Squeeze Records Menos el Oso remixed

Music videos[edit]


  1. ^ Ambrose, Anthony. "inTuneMusic Online: Minus the Bear / Tim Kasher / Twin Tigers @ NYC 12/4/2010". Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
  2. ^ "Minus the Bear - Friends, It is with heavy hearts that we..." Facebook. January 29, 2015. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  3. ^ "Minus the Bear". Suicide Squeeze Records. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2007.
  4. ^ "r/MinusTheBear - Official farewell announcement :(". Reddit.com. July 17, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  5. ^ Uitti, Jacob. "Minus the Bear Keeps Connections Alive with New Live Album, 'Farewell'". American Songwriter. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  6. ^ "MTB prep new album, remix CD out Feb. 20". Minus the Bear News Page. Archived from the original on January 21, 2007. Retrieved January 26, 2007.
  7. ^ "Torn Out Of The Scene, A Room Suddenly Cold, Hot And Empty". Daytrotter. Archived from the original on April 9, 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  8. ^ "Minus the Bear, Into The Mirror". Filter. Archived from the original on October 10, 2009. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
  9. ^ "Dangerbird Welcomes Minus the Bear". Dangerbird Records. February 17, 2010. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  10. ^ "Minus the Bear Release Date". AbsolutePunk.net. February 22, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  11. ^ "David Lowery Interviews Minus the Bear". RadioVA. October 11, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  12. ^ "Minus the Bear Infinity Overhead Coming August 28th on Dangerbird Records". June 21, 2012. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  13. ^ "Big Scary Monsters Recording Company - Welcome Minus the Bear". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
  14. ^ "Security Check Required". Facebook. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  15. ^ "Minus the Bear - We're beyond excited to announce our 6th..." Facebook. January 11, 2017. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Minus the Bear Break Up, Announce Final Tour and EP | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  17. ^ "Minus the Bear". Spin. March 15, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2010.

External links[edit]