Minus the Bear keeps connections alive with new live album, ‘Farewell’

For some strange reason, it’s hard for most people to appreciate the best things in life right now. It’s somehow easier for us to remember it long after the fact, like, Oh, wasn’t it awesome 10 years ago when we were traveling Europe together? Still, it’s likely that ten years ago that same speaker might have been worried about his sweaty clothes, a declining bank account, or the hard work that awaited him in the United States after the excursion. abroad.

This appreciation phenomenon is something Dave Knudson, guitarist and co-founder of Seattle-born rock band Minus the Bear, is well aware of. Knudson experienced it, and in a way, can now experience it over and over again by listening to his band’s latest album, an upcoming live compilation of songs recorded in 2018 during Minus the Bear’s last tour together. . The LP, Goodbye, is scheduled for Friday, October 29.

“The group ended with three sold-out nights at the Showbox,” said Knudson, of Seattle’s main concert hall. “Which was an amazing way to put a bow on it, so to speak. There were a few questions as to whether we would do a final tour. People get older and priorities change. But I think on the last tour, knowing it was the last time, we were able to appreciate it in the moment. “

When a trip to Philly or New York is another stop on a trek across the United States, it may not seem so special on any given day. But when you know it’s your popular band’s last honest trip to this city to hit a favorite scene, it’s a whole different matter.

“We were firing on all cylinders,” Knudson says. “Put our best efforts into every performance. It was the rare moment when you could, while performing on stage, really soak up the immense love and gratitude, and really soak up all the passion that you put into it.

Minus the Bear, who started in Emerald City in 2001 and performed his first show three days after 9/11 at a venue called The Paradox, was best known for his live shows. But the funny thing about live shows is that they’re small ecosystems. Songs may change as a result of playing. And over the course of, say, 15 years, many of Minus the Bear’s best tunes have changed. The choirs were attacked differently, the outros were invented. And on Goodbye, Knudson says, he can see, in a way, many of the band’s songs ending, in their final state.

“This record really documents how the songs ended,” he says. “It’s really great to have this last document.

Knudson, who grew up in Tacoma, Washington, about 45 minutes south of Seattle, grew up in the ’80s and’ 90s listening to Michael Jackson, Metallica, and other popular songs on the radio. Over the years he has immersed himself more deeply in music, especially the guitar. He had visions of playing baseball or the trumpet, but neither worked. So he turned his attention to the acoustic guitar leaning against the wall of his bedroom. His parents had divorced by this time, so he had his fair share of time to himself. He took a few lessons, got better, and after high school moved north to Seattle and started playing in city bands. Later, Minus the Bear formed, an amalgamation of members of other groups.

“We had all played in other bands around Seattle,” Knudson says. “I was in a hardcore band called Botch. Jake was part of a group called Sharks Keep Moving. Cory and Erin were in Kill Sadie.

The budding group of musicians wanted to form a new project and since they were friends they hung out in the same dimly lit bar in red (the old Cha Cha Lounge in town) and enjoyed listening to similar styles. They decided to go into a room and see what had happened. Their collective efforts worked and the group continued to grow. They got a placement on MTV with a music video for their song “Pachuca Sunrise”. As the band toured, they grew more and more of a reputation for their frenzied, rock and even psychedelic gigs. their albums, Menos el Oso and Ice planet, well mapped on Billboard. They were running away.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Knudson says, “to fly around the world and see people singing your songs to you in English when it’s not their primary language.”

This is what is captured on Minus the Bear’s 26-track Farewell LP. It’s a time capsule of a single final tour as well as the story of an entire band. With members scattered around the world from New Mexico to Brighton, live recording is a way to keep connections flourishing. For Knudson, who works on his own recording projects in Seattle, it’s the beauty of the art form, the bridges it keeps intact.

“The part of music,” Knudson says, “that is connecting with a crowd and connecting with people on stage and having a common experience with other people and being able to share it with another person. is quite special. “

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