After listening to Rubery based band Black Bears I am left feeling rather let down.

Let down because they only have five songs on-line for me to listen to!  It’s as cruel as giving someone a Curly Wurly and only letting them have a nibble!  Now I’ve had a nibble of Black Bears I want to overindulge myself and feast on their musical talents.

They claim to be of the genres, Folk, Indie and Progressive.  Folk  – well one band member is named “Patch”, Progressive – Pink Floyd eat your heart out, and Indie I would agree with.  They are a bit old skool Indie injected with influences ranging from Jazz to nutters playing sinks and toilet seats!

Some bands make you feel like you’ve been physically assaulted, sometimes even violated but not this one.

Black Bears seduce you with their creativity and individuality and leave you floating in a bubble of addictive sound.

We asked bassist Luke Dolan a few [sensible] questions..

Black Bears? Why black? Why bears? Do you have issues with polar bears?! I like polar bears. Not as much as I like raccoons, mind. In fact, why not White Raccoons?

Luke: In the summer of our youth we would venture to the places our mothers told us not to. Sitting amongst the bluebells and shaded by the bowed oaks there sat an old man. A Raconteur who we knew only as The Intrepid Traveler. In exchange for our company the hermit would tell us tales, tales that took places tens of thousands of years ago, before weak men ruled the earth. The beasts lived in relative harmony. They were ruled by the mighty bears. One bear appeared to be weaker than the others, it had not the strength of the Polar Bear, it had not it’s own territory like the Kodiak nor did it have a strong reputation like the Grizzly Bear but this bear was a theologian, a diplomat and a friend to all beasts. This was the Black Bear.

Who are Black Bears?

Patch Sutton – Guitar and Vocals – South Birmingham
Anthony Harper – Guitar, Keyboards & Synth – South Birmingham
Luke Dolan – Bass – South Birmingham
Mark Keating – Drums – Waterford, Ireland

When interviewing bands, we usually ask the question that potential fans really want to know – are you all single?

Luke: Everybody is alone.

One of your members is a little bit “older” – is this part of a government scheme to keep the aged entertained?! (Disclaimer – he’s probably still younger than me. No, probably not – but he’s probably still younger than my wife!)

Luke: My great grandparents were well into their 80’s and still partying harder and later than I ever could.

I’ve described your music as somewhat ‘old skool’ – what bands or artists have had the biggest influence on you?

Luke: In the next few weeks we’re releasing some new music, I think you’ll hear a clash between old styles and new. The effects, styles and techniques used by Patch and Anthony has a real up to date modern alternative feel were as the rhythm section is firmly rooted in progressive and groove driven rock. Bands and artists like Bowie and Pink Floyd probably deserve a mention in most modern alt rock band’s influences today.

Which is the best venue you’ve ever played?

Luke: Power’s in London was a great gig just over a year ago, which we are returning to on the 26th of November but we think our gig at The Rainbow on Friday the 2nd of December might turn out to be our best so far.

Have you ever hand fed a raccoon? I have.

Luke: I don’t know what you’re hinting at but it sounds filthy and I want nothing to do with it.

You’ve recently acquired a new member – how is this going to change things, if at all? And is it true that this talented member can play the keyboard with his toes?

Luke: The sound is going to be a lot bigger and richer. A new member means we can play with harmony and sounds, it’s been fun and we’re ready to gig it. I’ve never seen Anthony’s feet, though I have heard things…

As you should be aware, Goodnight Lenin are good friends to B31 Voices (ahem), they’ve even promised to do a cover for us (One day. Probably. Maybe. If we pay them.) Do you think you could ever be as good as GNL?! ;D And would you consider doing a cover of a song of our choice for a pint and a bag of scratchings?

Luke: This seems a rather loaded question don’t you think? Some of GNL are St Thomas Aquinas alumni like ourselves, and their music is awesome though it’s fairly different from ours. I’d say there was plenty of room for both us and they seem to be going far so best of luck to them! We’d love to do a cover for you, we’re very picky though and will only cover Black Bears songs.

Clearly, you are a talented band with a bright future in the music industry, what would be success in your eyes?

Luke: One step at a time my good man! We want 2012 to be the year that we play some festivals, get a music video done, videotape a live session in a studio & I want to learn Italian & get a new espresso machine so if you guys could sort me out on the latter two that would be great.

Luke, could you reserve me a tray of Muller Light vanilla with chocolate sprinkles before the Morrisons’ promo ends?!

Luke: All desire leads to suffering, I’d be doing you a favour by not getting them.

Oh, okay then, Sensei…

You can catch the Black Bears live at Powers in Kilburn, London on November 26th or, a bit closer to home, at the Rainbow in Digbeth on December 2nd.

Do it. You won’t regret it.

Read more:

Black Bears website 

Black Bears on Facebook

Black Bears on Twitter

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