This past summer, GuitarWorld.com hosted the Big Break Rock Song Contest, which called for aspiring bands and musicians to upload their original compositions and allow themselves to be judged.
The winning entry was “Crime of the Century” by New York City rock outfit Black Bear Tribe, which can be heard below or on the group’s Crime of the Century EP, currently available on iTunes and Spotify.
Here, Guitar World catches up with guitarist Sam Perry to learn a little more about what makes this exciting young band tick.
What is Black Bear Tribe’s approach to making music?
Our overall approach to writing is to capture fun, upbeat, driving rock songs that focus on big riffs.
What are the best and worst things about being a band from New York City?
The best thing is being able to play shows and get exposure. There are so many clubs that constantly need bands to fill the bill, and sometimes playing a well-known venue is as simple as shooting an email to the booking agent. The only bad thing about New York for us is that the rock and roll scene is not as vibrant as it used to be. Playing on bills with like-minded bands tends to be a problem for us.
What are your day jobs?
Some of us work in the booze industry, some of us work with kids, and some of us work with both. Jason [Kraft, vocals] is a bartender at a whiskey bar. Matt [Cincotta, bass] works in the craft beer industry. Andrew [Nesbitt, drums] works in a craft beer bar and teaches music to kids. I bartend at a tequila bar and teach children guitar.
If you had to pick one classic band and one newer band that, when combined, best describe BBT’s sound, which bands would you choose?
For a classic band I’d say Deep Purple. Ritchie Blackmore’s riffs drive the music forward with a power and urgency we definitely try to emulate in BBT. For a newer band, Queens of the Stone Age because Matt and I are constantly drawing inspiration from them in terms of lyrical aesthetic and the way they construct and layer songs.
Where would you like to see Black Bear Tribe by this time next year?
By then, our full-length album will have dropped in February and will feature all three songs on the Crime of the Century EP. We’d like to find a record label to call home, to be able to go on tour and open for like-minded bands, and have the opportunity for a larger audience to hear our music.
Photo: Sherry Reina Hochbaum