- August 2014 -
HAVE A BEER WITH BEAR HANDS
Bear Hands have had quite the year so far, releasing their newest album Distraction in February. Alongside runs at Coachella and SXSW (where NPR singled them out as one of the best discoveries of the week, calling them “serious, intricate pop”), the band's single "Giants" clawed it's way up the alternative rock charts. In addition to a headlining tour, the band hit up Outside Lands in San Francisco and Lollapalooza in early August, where they played the Lake Shore stage and aftershows with Cage the Elephant and Bombay Bicycle Club.
We caught up with the guys over a beer before their Lollapalooza gig on August 3 and covered marathon drinking, bacon and the importance of hydration.
The Show: Bear Hands at Lollapalooza // The Lake Shore Stage// August 2, 2014
Drinks of Choice: Tequila (TJ Orscher; drums); Whiskey Red Bull (Val Loper; bass); Whiskey/beer (Ted Feldman; guitar)
Kristen from A Beer with the Band: Let’s chat about your Lollapalooza experience so far. Have you guys been to Chicago before?
Ted from Bear Hands: Yeah, we've been to Chicago a lot and we love it here.
Kristen: What's your favorite thing about the city?
Ted: I love that I keep finding new things about it every time I come, which you don't get in a lot of places. Coming from New York, most places are sorry excuses for cities, but Chicago is the real deal.
Kristen: What have you guys done since you've been here?
Ted: We played an aftershow the Bottom Lounge last night with Bombay Bicycle Club, and it was a lot of fun. Tonight we're playing The Vic Theatre with Cage the Elephant. We've been doing a bunch of shows with them, and it's always a great time. They put on a crazy show. Nice guys. And yeah, when we’ve come to Chicago, we’ve played a bunch of different venues. We’ve played The Metro, Lincoln Hall, Schubas, Empty Bottle, Congress Theater. There's like... How many venues are here? It's ridiculous.
Kristen: Yeah, there are a ton. So, Val, you don’t often hear about the whiskey/Red Bull combination as a drink of choice. It’s an interesting one.
Ted: Interesting or disgusting?
Val from Bear Hands: Everyone hates it, but I love it.
Kristen: See, when I smell Red Bull, I think of vodka. That's the first thing that comes to mind.
Val: Right. I can't drink vodka, that's why I do whiskey.
Kristen: Just because you don't like the taste, or...
Val: I can't...I've puked so many times drinking from it that I can't do it anymore.
Kristen: Yeah, that's how I am with tequila. Too much Patron in my day.
Val: Last week, we were in Boston, and we were getting food after the show. I was really drunk and I was thirsty, and there was a big pint glass of what I thought was water, so I pounded a big gulp of it. It was vodka and I immediately had to go throw up.
Kristen: That's kind of awesome. Rock-‘n’-roll.
Val: So, that happened.
Ted: I like whiskey, but mostly I drink beer. It's good to sip on it and pace yourself. We do a lot of marathon drinking on tour. I used to drink a lot of IPAs, but that gets pretty heavy. If you find yourself a good pilsner, that's a good one to stick with for the night.
Kristen: Yeah, which speaking of beer, Chicago has a lot of great breweries if you have time to check them out.
Ted: We went to Kaiser Tiger last night. There was a lot of bacon there.
Val: Yeah, bacon and beer.
Kristen: Bacon is really in right now.
Ted: As Dylan said, “Bacon is having a hell of a decade.”
Kristen: It really is. You’re based out of New York. Where exactly do you live?
Ted: We live in North Brooklyn.
Kristen: And what's the music scene like there?
Ted: I think it's gone from being an exciting breeding ground to being a default destination. There are definitely a lot of little pockets in the scene, though.
TJ from Bear Hands: There are so many micro-scenes. It used to be there was a scene, and there was a handful of bands. Now it's like, there's a handful of bands in every micro-scene.
Ted: But also we've been gone for eight months on tour, so I have no idea what's going on.
Kristen: What's the hardest thing about touring? Marathon drinking?
Ted: No, that's one of the easier things.
TJ: That's the least of our worries.
Val: Being away from girlfriends and not sleeping in your own bed.
Ted: I would say just the monotonous things, like the setup, the take-down, the steps that have to happen every single day. But the way you feel after playing a show, and the places we’re lucky enough to go…Those outweigh all the negatives. That's why we do it.
Kristen: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Val: On a serious front, the best advice I ever received was do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
TJ: Yeah, I know, that's kind of what I was thinking about when you asked that question. Treat other people how you want to be treated.
Kristen: I feel like that's important in the music industry.
TJ: Yeah, some people can be assholes…Not a lot, but some. And why? What’s the point?
Val: I agree. What does being an asshole gain you? Nothing.
Ted: But more importantly, I think the best advice I ever got was, “Hydrate.”
TJ: Yeah, hydrate. Especially on tour.
Ted: I know it seems like lame advice, but it's elemental.
Kristen: If you get that glass of water before you go to bed at night, you feel so much better in the morning.
TJ: Oh, my God, you have to. I'm a huge advocate of water. A lot of people don't drink enough water. A lot of people drink soda.
Ted: Yeah, no soda.
Val: Except with pizza and popcorn.
TJ: Except with pizza, popcorn and candy.