Minus the Bear brings Seattle indie rock to Syracuse

Drummer Erin Tate talks about his band, the tour and his personal life.

Known for catchy, precise instrumentation and often ridiculous song titles (“Thanks for the Killer Game of Crisco® Twister,” and "Hey! Is That a Ninja Up There?"), Minus the Bear is like that fun-loving, indie guy that you’d want to have a drink with.

This week may be your chance to buy them a beverage. The Seattle-based quintet is making a stop at The Westcott as part of its current national tour. But make sure if you get drummer Erin Tate a drink, you go for the high-end tequila.

Before the band’s gig in Birmingham, Ala., Tate spoke to The NewsHouse about his favorite liquor, food and the band’s upcoming album.

Q: Minus the Bear fans can sometimes be pretty energetic. What’s the typical fan reaction at a show?

A: It kind of depends. We were playing in San Antonio last night and people were going apes--t. Some girl passed out in the middle of the crowd, people were riding the crowd, punching the crowd, going crazy. And then sometimes people stare at you like you’re an ugly stripper. It kind of depends on the night.

Q: As a drummer, what’s the vibe like for you at a show?

A: It depends on the show. There are shows where I can literally only see the front row of people. I have no idea if there are a thousand people there. To me, it only feels like there’s 17. It kind of depends on the lighting of the club, to be honest. I just close my eyes and play the music, and try to have fun doing it.

Q: You are a few weeks into your tour. Do you have any crazy stories yet?

A: No, nothing too crazy has really happened yet. We got completely out-of-our-minds drunk in, uh … where were we last night? The Mastodon guys were in town and that always leads to trouble.

Q: Which city are you most looking forward to on this tour?

A: Athens, Georgia. I’ve never been there before and I’m really looking forward to that. I’m an enormous R.E.M. fan and that’s where they got there start, so that’s exciting.

Q: You’re also a huge R&B fan, aren’t you?

A: Yeah. I’ve always listened to hip-hop and R&B my whole life. My mom had a lot of friends that got me into soul music when I was really young. I love it. I’ve spent my life copying Dr. Dre beats and all that iconic kind of stuff. I’ll sit around at home and rehearse to that.

Q: You recently finished recording a new album. What’s it sound like?

A: Magic. It sounds like our band, but different. We tend to try and make every record sound a little different from the last one, so it’s got a little different of a vibe, but it definitely came from the same dudes.

We just released a single. In theory, the record should be out hopefully in February or March. We’re just trying to find a record label.

Q: Finally, for some random questions: What’s your favorite thing to drink?

A: I think I like Cazadores Tequila the most. Besides that, I like really sh--ty beer.

Q: Are you a ketchup or tartar sauce kind of guy when it comes to eating fish?

A: Ketchup. Oh, wait, on what? I don’t eat fish. I don’t eat any seafood. I just can’t stand the taste of the sea. It’s so gross. I like chicken. It’s pretty good. Have you ever had it? It tastes great! I want to eat it, all the time. You can have it in so many different ways.

Q: Sounds delicious. Well, have a good show tonight, and we’ll see you in Syracuse.

A: Ah-whooo!

Go see it

Minus the Bear perform at The Westcott Theater on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Doors at 7 p.m. with music at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Photo courtesy of Lucas Westcoat / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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