Name Of Band: Bear Claw
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Year Formed: 2002
Bio: "Imagine walking into a donut shop, delirious with hunger. Not just anything will suffice. You have a man's appetite and you need a man's pastry. You glance past all of the crullers, long johns and old-fashioned pastries and dismiss them as trivial, wimpy snacks. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see a BEAR CLAW. Golden brown, caked with glaze, gleaming like a diamond among stones. This is what you have been hankering for, a meaty slab of fresh dough, infused with gooey cinnamon and fit for a king." - Ryan Duncan. It is the music of Chicago's BEAR CLAW that fits this form of desire. Formed in 2002, the band creates powerful, noisy, yet melodic songs utilizing its obtuse instrumentation of two bass guitars and drums. Members Rich Fessler (bass and vocals), Rob Raspolich (bass), and Scott Picco (drums and vocals) continue to push the possibilities of the trio while adhering to a strict "no filler" approach to creating songs with tools they wield. (...read on here)
Do your best to describe the sound of your band in one sentence:
A 3-piece rock band based upon live performance and a no filler approach composed of 3 friends, 1 black bass, 1 blue bass, and 1 orange plastic drum set.
What are the most recent activities of your band?
Resting… Our drummer has been in Germany for 18 months for his day job. We’re all very excited to get back to playing full time. We also did a 3 week European tour in May of 2011. Future plans are to start writing new material as soon as his plane lands.
How excited are you to play this event?
We couldn’t be happier. We’ve been to the UK once during our 2008 EU tour but this will be a totally different experience.
Do you have a connection with Shellac / an idea why you were chosen to play?
When I was visiting back in Chicago a few weeks after the first announcement I saw Bob and thanked him and the rest of Shellac for picking us to play. He responded “thank you for being a good band”. I think it’s as simple as that.
We first met Bob and Steve through recording our albums which have all be recorded by Steve and 2 of 3 have been mastered by Bob. Later we ended up playing shows in the US with Shellac at various points in the last 7 years.
Which of your releases do you feel ATP attendees should check out first?
“Refuse This Gift”. This is our latest release. We all feel it’s the most jammed pack full of rocking tunes. Also, the recording is absolutely perfect to our ears. Steve and Bob really outdid themselves on this one.
Is there one of your tracks you think specifically represents you best?
That’s a hard question. We have two dedicated singers. Rich and Scott and their voices are very different. I’d say “Back Breaker” is a good example of using both of our voices in the same song and is one of those songs we find we play at almost every show. Another good example is “Cat & Mouse."
Are there any other currently confirmed bands you're excited about seeing? To remind you the current line-up is:
We can just about get excited for every band which has been confirmed but highlights for us would be:
Shellac Of North America
Mission of Burma
The Ex + Brass Unbound
If you were curating, name three bands you'd want to play your event...
The Jesus Lizard
If you could pick one record release in the last year which would you recommend?
This was released just over a year ago but we really like “El Camino” by the band “The Gary” out of Austin, Texas.
Bear Claw play ATP's Nightmare Before Christmas curated by Shellac this December, on sale now. The band have generously donated six free downloads to our Soundcloud playlist for the event, you can stream or download them via this link.