It’s inevitable. Kids grow up, leave home and, if everything goes as planned, make something of themselves.
Thus, in 1999 Cory Murchy left his hometown of Santa Fe for the music scene of Seattle.
“I moved the day after Zozobra burned,” Murchy, bassist for Minus the Bear, tells SFR. “I just needed to get out of Santa Fe. I was born [in Washington] but I didn’t know anyone except my roommate Pete. We moved there blindly because it was a good-sized city. I gave myself two years to play music and within two years that started happening.”
Murchy’s band Minus the Bear, which includes the recent addition of his Santa Fe High classmate Alex Rose on synthesizer, electronics and saxophone, has done the hometown boy good. With four studio albums, beginning with 2001’s Highly Refined Pirates, and including the 2007 release Planet of Ice and a handful of EPs, Minus the Bear has hit the Seattle scene hard.
Known for its ’90s heyday as the grunge capital of the universe, Seattle is the perfect place for a testosterone-fueled indie sound that combines the best of grunge’s heavy guitar riffs and blistering drums with pieces of the quirky electronica sound that seem to creep into every genre of popular music these days, from metal to folk.
But it wasn’t Seattle’s grunge scene that first got Murchy into the heavy stuff. Instead, Murchy looked toward Santa Fe and the scene at Warehouse 21 for his early influences.
“It means a lot to go back to Warehouse 21, in particular, because I really grew up there,” Murchy says. “It’s definitely a big part of my life and it’s just awesome that there’s a new space and that they’re having shows. I was back for Fiestas so I did see it and checked out a wicked metal show, which made me super stoked to know that metal is still alive and well in Santa.”
With its new multi-million dollar space, the Warehouse 21 of today is a bit different than the Warehouse 21 Murchy remembers fondly.
“Back in the day, it was great,” Murchy says. “It was a humble little cinder block building, but a lot came out of it. A lot of shows went through there. I think a lot of kids were inspired by that place. I know that from my group of friends, who have gone on and continued to bring the stuff that they learned at Warehouse into life.”
What Murchy learned wasn’t just to appreciate music but to experiment in his creative life. Minus the Bear’s most recent EP, Acoustics, pulls the plug on the hard-hitting sound with which the band has worked for the last eight years.
“Part of the fun part was figuring out how to translate electric stuff into acoustic,” Murchy says of the EP. “It was cool; we were kind of forced to look at the music at a different angle, to get to the root of the songs and decide what was necessary. It was good for us musically to stretch out that much more.”
But don’t expect Minus the Bear to play too many acoustic tracks at its homecoming show, which Murchy promises will be heavier and louder than any of the band’s recordings.
Murchy and Rose look forward to being part of the new era at Warehouse 21, a place to which Murchy says he’s found no equivalent on his tours around the world.
Minus the Bear is joined on tour by Annuals, a North Carolina indie-pop act that has been making waves of its own, and Massachusetts lo-fi emo rockers 27.
Though Murchy has changed in the years since he left Santa Fe, one thing is a mainstay on his mind. “Alex and I have both talked about how we need some green chile,” he says. “We’ve got two days here and I’m going to try to eat my way through town.”
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