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How They Became… Minus the Bear


Welcome to the weekly feature “Name That Band!” in which we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some of our favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.)

This week: Seattle indie-rockers Minus the Bear, whose Omni is due May 4. They will appear at SXSW this week in Austin, Texas, and are one of’s 50 Must-Hear SXSW Bands.

Why Minus the Bear: “A friend of the band had gone on a date,” explains singer-guitarist Jake Snider, “and one of us asked him afterwards how the date went. Our friend said, ‘You know that TV show from the ’70s B.J. and The Bear? It was like that minus the bear.’ That’s the straight truth.”

Previously Rejected Names: “They’re not rejected names, but I was in a band called Sharks Keep Moving before I was in Minus the Bear. I was also in one called State Route 522, which was named after the road in Washington State that has the most traffic accidents.”

Best Band Names Ever: “I think Russian Circles is a good band name. It’s just got a nice ring to it. Steely Dan is fantastic band name, especially considering it’s taken from a, uh, marital aid.”

Worst Band Name Ever: “Muse is a terrible band name. It’s very British, I suppose. Limp Bizkit is a classic terrible band name. When I first heard of Sunny Day Real Estate, I was like ‘Are you kidding me? That’s your band’s name?’ Then I saw them and thought they were amazing.”