Local Music

Minus the Bear, 10 Years Later

Bassist Cory Murchy talks about their early years and boys becoming men.

By Laura Dannen November 10, 2011


Ten years ago, Minus the Bear was just a fledgling Seattle indie band. Or, more specifically, five dudes who hung out in a bar all the time, trying to crack an inundated local music scene with prog-rock songs about sex and booze. Their beards were shorter; their song titles sillier (“Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!”) But they had talent, no doubt. Their debut album Highly Refined Pirates—a party in a CD case—came out at the hands of legendary producer Steve Fisk, who also worked with Nirvana, Soundgarden, and the Posies.

A lot can happen in a decade. Four albums. A new keyboardist. A chance to open for Soundgarden. Headlining tours. Marriage. Babies. It’s enough to make a man reflect. Before the band wraps up its 10-year-anniversary tour at Showbox at the Market on Friday—where they’ll play Highly Refined Pirates in its entirety—bassist Cory Murchy chatted with us about “five boys turning into men.”

How has Seattle changed since you guys started?

When we first started out our shows were at the Paradox [an all-ages club that’s since closed]. Luckily the Vera Project still does all-ages shows. It’s kind of neat, though: It’s a lot of the same characters and a lot of the same players from 10, 15, 20 years ago. There’s a thread of continuity.

Do you think your music has changed drastically?

Hopefully it just shows progression, growth—you know, five boys turning into men, learning how to live together and make the tour happen. This is our livelihood, our business, and it’s also our art and our life.

What would you call what you’re playing now?

Classic rock for the future. You want to listen to it now, and hopefully you want to listen to it 20 years from now.

What’s the biggest highlight of your career so far?

The fact that we can do this 10 years on is our biggest achievement. It took us a while to gain some respect in Seattle. There were other bands that came out at the same time that got a lot of attention, and got really big, and a lot of those bands are gone. I’m proud to say that 10 years on, we’re still chugging at it and there’s really no end in sight. It’s awesome to see Seattle finally come around and realize we’re not just another local band.

Minus the Bear plays Showbox at the Market on Nov 11 at 9. The Velvet Teen opens.

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