Bayou City

Minus The Bear Gears Up For Planet Of Ice Set In Houston

Minus The Bear will bring Planet of Ice to life.
Minus The Bear will bring Planet of Ice to life. Photo courtesy of Clarion Call

Music is a funny place, where sometimes your past can come back to haunt you. However, if you made an album that your fans want to hear more often than not, your past can be a beautiful thing. With Seattle's Minus The Bear, their past holds more than just the beginnings of the band. Touring in celebration of the tenth anniversary of their album Planet of Ice, the band will perform it in its entirety. The Houston Press chatted with bassist Cory Murchy about the band's history, the decision to revisit their older works, and what fans can expect from their set at White Oak Music Hall on June 2.

In so many ways, Minus The Bear has seen their fair share of change since forming more than 15 years ago. Releasing six albums and four E.P.s, as well as losing two members, the band has weathered the changes and come out stronger. When asked if there was ever a time when the band felt like it might fall apart, Murchy replies, "Well yeah, that's only natural. You never really know what'll happen from album cycle and tour cycles."

The band's last record VOIDS showed plenty of change while keeping their core sound intact. "It definitely made us stronger," Murchy says. "We've been able to look at the past and learn from it. We've grown from doing this in our early twenties to our early forties now, and you don't keep it going without learning things."

Asked why the band reissued a deluxe version of Planet of Ice, as well as touring in support of it, Murchy says "We'd had questions from fans about possibly touring the record or playing those songs. It's one of our favorite albums, and it's our most cohesive record. plus, with the new lineup, the songs feel good to perform, too."

The album has elements of math and progressive rock played closer with structuring around a modern sound. "We were all going through a heavy prog rock phase. Yes, King Crimson and early Pink Floyd, it all sounded so different when you listened to it on your own rather than through how your parents played it in front of you. We were like, "holy shit, you can have twelve minute jams on a song," but I think really we were just scratching that itch," says the bassist.

Planet of Ice is proggy and amazing. - COVER ART COURTESY OF SUICIDE SQUEEZE RECORDS
Planet of Ice is proggy and amazing.
Cover art courtesy of Suicide Squeeze Records

 "The live show is like doing a track sequence for an album, it's set up for flow. Plus with all of the mechanics, some songs have such pedal work, it has to be planned. If a song isn't working out, we adjust the set as the tour goes along."

Besides Planet of Ice, the band will be performing other music as well. "We're performing the album, plus a block of older material and newer material too. We just toured the East coast, and it felt really good to play the album for people," says Murchy.

Whether you're a massive fan of Minus The Bear or not, they're an act that typically makes every fan of intricate guitar work pleased. You can stream Planet of Ice as well as the rest of the band's catalog on all streaming sites, or order Planet of Ice directly from Bandcamp. Minus The Bear will perform in Houston on Saturday June 2 at White Oak Music Hall downstairs. The all ages show will feature a direct support set from California's The New Trust. Doors at 7 p.m.; tickets $22.50.
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David Garrick is a former contributor to the Houston Press. His articles focus primarily on Houston music and Houston music events.