MINUS THE BEAR with the SPILL CANVAS and METAL HEARTS at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Sunday (April 23). $13.50. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
"We're all super-right-wing, and we hate everything outside of America."
Between all the shittiness that inundates us, like the Iraq war, and the often less than eloquent responses from fairweather political bands like Green Day, it's good to hear that the dudes in Seattle's Minus the Bear still just like being sarcastic and having a good time.
"With everything else going on, we're definitely about having a good time and having people come out and dance to the music."
That's why bassist Cory Murchy and the rest of the post-hardcore/mathrock band, rounded out by guitarist Dave Knudson, drummer Erin Tate and singer Jake Snider, can't seem to stop moving from city to city playing shows in support of last year's triumphant Menos El Oso (Suicide Squeeze). That's Minus The Bear in Spanish, by the by.
Which is fine, because they have a lot of fans up here in places like Kelowna, Calgary and beyond who are just waiting for them to swing by.
"We've been getting e-mails from people saying, "Come out to Winnipeg,' for example. I'm sure a lot of these places don't get too many shows. I grew up in a place like that, so I know it's appreciated when bands come through."
A band with a work ethic like MTB's doesn't appear out of thin air, so it's no surprise to learn that they're a super-group composed of former members of Sharks Keep Moving, Kill Sadie and hardcore legends Botch.
Murchy, however, feels the need to distance himself from his and his bandmates' aggressive musical past (he mentions they're all really digging on King Crimson and Yes these days), and from the need to conform to stuffy genre rules, including what it's supposed to mean to be graduates of the hardcore scene.
"The labels never work. Post-hardcore means to me that you take the influences and lessons you've learned from your other bands and apply them now."
Hard as they try to escape their past, though, they still have to deal with a fair number of fan requests for favourite old Botch tunes, as Murchy tries to explain while laughing at the absurdity of it.
"Yeah, that'll always happen. But we don't play them. We're standing up there thinking, "Only one of us was in Botch; we don't know these songs.'"
Murchy and his band may be able to laugh that off, but their pesky sense of humour may have boomeranged. Anyone familiar with MTB knows they have a serious fetish for quirky song titles like Thanks For The Killer Game of Crisco Twister and Get Me Naked 2: Electric Boogaloo. These, Murchy tells me, are basically the product of a bunch of dudes attempting to come up with the stupidest titles possible. At the same time, he's getting tired one-dimensional press coverage.
"It's just one of those things where people print more articles about our song titles as opposed to what we're doing musically."