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Dear Botch (and Sharks Keep Moving!), if Minus the Bear is over, please reunite

Botch

Minus the Bear are sadly breaking up this year after one last EP and tour. That’s a bummer because, in the 17 years that they’ve been a band, there really hasn’t been another band that sounds like this. They mixed math rock, indie rock, dance, prog, a little emo, a little metal, a little pop, and more, and singer Jake Snider’s relaxed baritone was never quite what you’d expect from this kind of music, but it always worked perfectly. Their discography rarely had any low points, and we’re already starting to hope for a reunion.

Speaking of reunions, the glass-half-full outlook of Minus the Bear’s breakup is that it maybe opens up the door for some of the members’ beloved older bands to reunite. Granted, their other bands probably could’ve reunited without Minus the Bear breaking up, and it’s not like the other members of said bands have just been waiting around for a reunion, but still, we’re hoping Minus the Bear members’ freer schedule helps get the ball rolling.

The most notable would be guitarist Dave Knudson reuniting with the legendary Botch, who helped define mathcore as we know it along with bands like Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan back in the late ’90s. Their only two albums, 1998’s American Nervoso and 1999’s We Are the Romans, are timeless classics of the genre, and their influence can still be felt today. Here’s an excerpt of what writer/musician Jason Heller wrote about their legacy:

…Tacoma’s Botch had far more in common with Drowningman: spiky songs replete with screaming, arty dissonance, and warped laughs that barely concealed a demented deconstruction of hardcore. Botch’s first album, American Nervoso, came out in ’98, and it reaffirmed the genre’s strengths while maliciously pissing all over it at the same time. There was more than just prankishness at work; besides being vastly influential on both punk and metal bands in the ’00s and beyond, American Nervoso is one of the most timelessly bizarre records the punk scene birthed in 1998. Or the entire decade for that matter.

Since their breakup, other Botch members have stayed busy with music too: Bassist Brian Cook was in tons of bands including These Arms Are Snakes, and he’s currently in Russian Circles and Sumac, and vocalist Dave Verellen is in Narrows. (Drummer Tim Latona left music after Botch broke up to pursue education.) Back in 2014, Dave Verellen said “I won’t say never” to a Botch reunion.

Also, Minus the Bear singer Jake Snider used to front the math rock band Sharks Keep Moving who were only around for a bit but released one great self-titled album in 1999 (plus some singles and EPs), and it sorta sounds like a rawer, more experimental version of the sounds Jake would go on to make with Minus the Bear. They had a few members come and go, including Morgan Henderson (who played on their LP), who’s busy with Fleet Foxes now but who did make time to reunite with The Blood Brothers a few years ago, and J. Clark (who played on their final EP), who went on to form Pretty Girls Make Graves. Someone actually recently tweeted at Jake Snider asking if Sharks Keep Moving would reunite now that Minus the Bear is ending, and he didn’t totally shoot it down…

If Jake Snider doesn’t get to J. Clark first, maybe we can count on Minus the Bear bassist Cory Murchy to team back up with him and reunite their old band Kill Sadie (who also have had lots of ex-members including another former Minus the bear member and a These Arms Are Snakes member).

Or maybe it’s all just wishful thinking. But whatever happens, it probably won’t happen until after that final Minus the Bear tour, so catch MTB while you still can (or wait for them to headline Riot Fest 2031 or something). Listen to some Botch, Sharks Keep Moving, Kill Sadie, and Minus the Bear:

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