Gimpleg had the pleasure of speaking with Wicked Bears. Together they talked about bear hibernation, how to survive a wicked bear attack, their upcoming album “Underwater”, and so much more!

1. Hello and welcome to Music Shelf, how are you doing today?

So good, we’re ready to be vulnerable and discuss our new record, Underwater, in a thoughtful and interesting way!

2. According to the Utah Division of Wildlife, black bears are common in Utah, including in the Salt Lake City area, and may attack people when there is a shortage of food. Can I ask about the incident involving these wicked bears that led to your band acquiring this moniker?

We were rehearsing under the name Noisy Birds because our drummer Jason has some noisy birds, and those were the only animals we had interacted with, so that’s the name we had to go with. Thank God for the aggressive black bears that live in Salt Lake City and try to eat our food. If it weren’t for them and their dark magic, our band name would not be as cool.

3. According to my research, Bears frequently hibernate until March and then they begin looking for food. Is that why you are going on tour in March? 

We’re going on tour in March because that’s when the 52 moons of Jupiter will have aligned in such a way that their gravitational pull (when in a Gravitational HotSpot [GHS for short] like Austin, Texas) will make it so you can jump a little tiny bit higher. I’m going to try and do a slam dunk.

4. This is not a survival guide, but Hypothetically, if I were to write one, what should I do if a Wicked Bear were to attack me?

Find out why it’s attacking you. We’re always asking ourselves what we do or how we should do it, but no one is asking why. Bears are complex and engaging; trust your instincts. Be the change you want to see in the world.

5. You have an album coming out on March 3, and it’s your first album in over 5 years. What was it like making this album and how was the process different this time than last time?

Covid. Covid is what’s different. We wrote half of these songs, then Covid hit. We had to write the rest of them over the internet. Then we had to wait until there was a vaccine before we felt comfortable rehearsing them together. Then we had to figure out how to play them together and make sure we still even liked them. It was a long process for sure, and I’m so glad it’s over.

6. This album is released on Wiretap Records, but you are going to be playing at Ska Punk International Fest on March 11, even though you are not a ska band and you are not signed on Ska Punk International. How did that happen?

A: All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares, right? I think we’re a rectangle, but not a square. But really, we have to give a shout-out and big thank you to The Littlest Man Band for this one. They invited us to hit the road with them for a handful of shows, SPI Fest included, which is so cool that I am still trying to comprehend it all. We’re all very excited and beyond grateful, the folks involved with Ska Punk International have been super welcoming and we can’t wait to meet them!

7. The second song you released as a single for Under Water, “Lucky”, has some ska riffs in it. You’ll be touring with The Littlest Man Band, who features several members and former members of ska bands, and Lo(u)ser- an up and coming ska band, and you are playing at Ska Punk International fest. Should we take these as coincidences or a sign of things to come?

Something something Brooklyn Nine-Nine ska gif. 2/3 of us had, more or less, only been in ska bands before Wicked Bears. This past Halloween, we added 4 members and rearranged our set to be ska, very ska. Afterwards some people said, “I never realized some of your songs were just ska songs played by a punk band,” and like, they weren’t wrong! Lucky was going to be our “Rainbow,” but maybe we’ve got a Ska Dream cooking. We’ll see!

8. If you were not in a band, and could have any job you wanted, what would you do for work?

Professional basketball player, or the guy who tests the dipping sauces. Maybe a daytime television game show host.

9. Imagine you are playing a concert with any band of your choice, and a Bearpocalypse breaks out and a dozen ravenous wicked bears attack and you have to fight them with just you and the other band you are playing with. What band are you choosing and why?

I think we’d be safest with Mandalore, a Star Wars themed hardcore band from Salt Lake City. Because I don’t think any of us have ever been in a fight, but I’ve many tales of theirs! They might even be packing lightsabers in this universe. Plus, the show would be so sick.

10. When was the first time you knew you wanted to be in a band?

When Dewey Finn sang about paying his rent.

11. Your upcoming album is titled Underwater. Is that just because it includes a song by the same name, or is there a specific reason for the naming of the album?

The name of the album is Underwater because that’s how I’ve felt living in our post-2020 world. Throughout the record, there are examples of ways I’ve felt like things were happening in slow motion. It’s been hard to tell which way is up, and it seems like everything around me is blurry and hard to make out. Lies are the truth, and cigarette breaks are the most exciting part of the day. It doesn’t feel like real life sometimes, and everything has a weird filter over it. I hope by the end of the record, you can see why I felt like that was a good analogy for how I was interacting with the world.

12. It’s the last week of March, you just finished touring, the album you’ve spent so much time working on has been released. What’s next?

Ah jeez we should be figuring that out, shouldn’t we… uhhh.. BIG THINGS COMING!

13. What are some of your favorite things to do that are not music related?

Obsessing over a new hobby for 1 to 2 months at a time before diving into the next one. Any suggestions?

14. Where can people go to learn more about you, to find tour information, and to listen to your music

Music is on all streaming platforms! New album will be out March 3! We keep our Instagram most up to date (@wickedbears). Thanks gang!!


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