Minus the Bear talks about anniversary tour, Forty Acres Fest

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Minus the Bear will grace UT fans with their presence at this year’s Forty Acres Fest. The group will be one of many artists performing, including local acts Suite 709 and Driver F. (Photo courtesy of Minus the Bear)

What do ‘70s TV show “B.J. and the Bear” and experimental rock group Minus the Bear have in common? The band’s name derives from a joke a friend of the band made about a date (“You know that TV show from the ‘70s, ‘B.J. and the Bear?’ It was like that, minus the bear.”) Although the band’s name comes from playful origins, Minus the Bear takes their music very seriously. Praised for their intricate guitar parts and incorporation of electronics, the band has become very popular over the years, having performed at festivals such as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and South By Southwest.

Gearing up for a special performance at this year’s on-campus Forty Acres Fest, Minus the Bear bassist Cory Murchy spoke with The Daily Texan about the band’s upcoming album, their 10-year anniversary tour and future plans.

The Daily Texan: Last year, you guys had your 10-year anniversary tour. Any memorable performances or moments during the tour?

Cory Murchy: That whole tour was a blast. It was just a real pleasure to play a lot of our songs. [Our hometown show] in Seattle was a blast — it was nice to have our homecoming show at home and finish up the tour that way. But all of the shows were pretty bitchin,’ man. It definitely felt like a celebration, and everyone was having a good time.

DT: Did you guys celebrate with any ice cream or cake?

Murchy: Our final celebration was being able to sleep in our own beds after being on tour.

DT: You guys are currently working on the follow-up to your 2010 album, Omni. How has the recording process been so far, and how is working with longtime producer Matt Bayles?

Murchy: It’s been great. We’re wrapping up overdubbing, and we’re going to start mixing next week. We’re excited to be playing some new songs and working with Matt again. For Omni we worked with another producer, so it’s cool to be working with him.

DT: What I’ve noticed with your music is that there’s been a gradual progression. You guys started off dance-y, then prog-y and now it’s very groove-oriented, but you’ve still retained the roots of your sound. Is this a direction you plan on exploring more with your upcoming album?

Murchy: We’re always trying to challenge ourselves and trying to do something new. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be a Minus the Bear song. We’ve never limited ourselves to a specific genre, so we’ve always been able to experiment throughout our career.

DT: You guys will be performing at this year’s Forty Acres Fest. How did that come about, and do you look forward to playing on our campus?

Murchy: We got asked, and we thought it was a cool idea, so we said yes. I’m sure it’ll be one of the more interesting shows [we’ve done]. We love playing in Austin though, so this should be no different.

DT: What has been some of your more memorable performances in Austin?

Murchy: We’ve loved all of them. We started out playing at Emo’s, so we always have fond memories of playing there. Many drunken moments have happened in Austin for sure, especially during SXSW.

DT: I know the name of the band derives from a funny story that involves the TV show “B.J. and the Bear” and a date one of your friends went on. If you could compare Minus The Bear to any TV show, which one would you choose?

Murchy: I would definitely relate our whole band to “The Golden Girls.” “Thank you for being a friend.”

Published on Friday, April 13, 2012 as: Minus the Bear to play Forty Acres Fest