’Steel And Blood’

There’s few bands I can legitamtely claim as being one of my favorites. There’s also few bands that I can say have redifined the way I see music. Minus the Bear is one of those bands though. I first heard Minus the Bear when they released their album “Highly Refined Pirates.” I remember listening to the timing signatures, the creative hammer on/pull off driven riffs, and the hilarious song names and thinking how unique of a sound it was.

Since that time, I’ve purchased every album, seen every show, and purchased more merch than I could ever need. Merely seeing them play live is an amazing experience, but getting to interview drummer Erin Tate, elivated my appreciation and respect to another level. We sat down at the arcade bar One Up in Denver, Colorado and got talking.

TMN: First off, welcome to Denver. How has the tour been going so far?

ET: So far so good. It’s been a total blast. We were in Lubbock Texas yesterday.

TMN: Your guys’ last tour was probably our favorite just due to the fact that you played Highly Refined Pirates in it’s entirety. What was it like doing a 10 year anniversary show like that and having so many people singing along with something you released a decade ago?

ET: It was wild, fun as hell, and really cool. We all felt horribly humbled by the crowd reaction that we got. It was really fun.

Random Drunk Girl: Are you talking about Minus the Bear? They’re playing across the street. Are you going?

ET: We are! We’re actually doing an interview for Minus the Bear right now.

Random Drunk Girl: Are you going?

ET: I’m in the band, and he’s interviewing me as a band member.

Random Drunk Girl: So you already have a ticket and everything?

TMN and ET: (Laughing) Yep.

ET: This is all going into print, just so you know.

Random Drunk Girl: Who are you?

TMN: He’s the drummer for Minus the Bear, and I work for The Music Ninja

Random Drunk Girl: Well I was just trying to see if I could sell a ticket.

TMN: (Laughing) I don’t think he needs one.

TMN: Talk to us about how all of your backgrounds in different bands helped influence your guys’ sound over the years.

ET: Dave was in Botch and he was really very metal. Not really metal…agressive, but it was also really artsy. Sharks Keep Moving was very pretty, but also very artsy. Kill Sadie was very loud and annoying, and also really artsy. So, we kind of all came from the same background where we were just trying to do something that was interesting to us. When we came together as Minus the Bear, it became a thing where we were like, “Let’s do pop music, but let’s make it artsy.”

TMN: How many pedals does Dave use during a show?

ET: Fuck, I don’t know. 15? 20?

TMN: Jake’s lyrics are often focused on a girl, romance, and travel. Do you guys work on the lyrics together, or do they come mainly from him?

ET: He writes all the lyrics. It’s a common theme, a lot of stuff is a make believe or imaginary situation of what we’ve gone through. Jake is a english major, he writes in the third person, for the most part. It’s not like literal things we’ve done. But there are songs, like “Pachuca Sunrise” is absolutely about a trip we took to Spain and there are songs that are things we’ve done in our lives. For the most part though, he’s just a story teller. You know? Just like any writer is.

TMN: We’ve always admired your style of drumming, both in MTB and These Arms Are Snakes. Our favorite track at this point is “Double Vision Quest”. Do you have a personal favorite?

ET: Yeah I like that one. It’s really hard to play it, but I like it a lot. As far as drum parts go, that (Double Vision Quest) and “Lotus” are probably my favorite. Dr L’Ling is up there. As far as my favorite song to play live is probably “White Mystery.”

TMN: What advice would you give to an up-and-coming drummer, or a brand new indie rock band?

ET: Just keep trying. The biggest thing is people give up way too soon because it’s too hard to sleep on someone’s floor. We’re all in our mid-30’s now and we’ve spent anywhere from 15 to 20 years doing this. The only reason why we’re in the position that we are is that we’ve never given up and that’s my advice to everyone. Never stop. If it doesn’t work 20 years from then, maybe stop. There’s no point in giving up after a couple of years. It’s going to suck for a long time. It’s gonna suck.

TMN: Ok, let’s change it up. If your drumming style were an animal, what would it be?

ET: Animal from the Muppets.

TMN: You just released Infinity Overhead in August. Is there anything our readers should know about this album?

ET: Listen to it and you tell me. It is what it is. We’re all really proud of it, and hope people enjoy it.

TMN: What’s your favorite track on the album?

ET: Maybe Toska.

TMN: Any final thoughts?

ET: Thanks for the support!

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