Sunday, September 12, 2010


They came and went, Michigan's Bear Vs Shark stormed onto the scene in 2003 and disbanded just a few years later. The filth and fury they left behind will never be forgotten in the minds of fans from all around the world. Though the members of Bear Vs Shark have gone onto form separate projects, they never really take off...until now. Welcome, Bars of Gold! Featuring former Bear Vs Shark front man Marc Paffi and drummer Brandon Moss with members of the instrumental outfit Wildcatting. Combined with the fury of MC5 or Fugazi, yet hooked with the melody of post-hardcore bands, Bars of Gold will quench the thirst of fans looking for a new band with the ferociousness they are looking for. The band just released their debut, Of Gold last month to much acclaim. I had the opportunity to speak with Paffi about how this band came together, his singing style and could there ever actually be a Bear Vs Shark reunion. Take a look at my interview with Paffi below.

How did you get involved with Bars of Gold?

After bearvsshark broke up I started playing with Brandon again. He was playing in wildcatting and asked if I wanted to come and jam with what started out as wildcatting with a singer eventually got the name bars of gold

When you linked up with the band, they were the instrumental outfit Wildcatting. Was it odd walking in and being the “new guy” in an already established group?

Actually I had known those guys for so long it was really easy. The odd thing was trying to sing along along to their crazy ass took us awhile to get a feel for each other. I guess it was also odd because I was starting in another band and hadn't been in one for about three years.

What was it like making your debut?

Making this record was a whole different experience for me. Rather than being in a studio in another city for weeks we did most of the recording in Scott’s basement and back yard... a couple of the songs were recorded in wonderful hazel park Michigan at roshambo studios but for the most part it was a gorilla effort. That led us to taking our time with it and getting it sound how we wanted, plus it was cheap.

Do you feel any vindication now that it is out?

Not really

You made your live debut as Bars of Gold in 2009 and the record came out over a year later. What took so long for it to be released?

I think the reason for the wait had a lot to do with the process we chose to record with. We really wanted to take our time and not rush it. Plus we had to write some more songs. That’s the positive of being locked in a studio for weeks on the bearvsshark records, it forces you to have a deadline.

With the time that has gone by from forming and releasing “Of Gold”, I know it still maybe early but is a follow up already in the works?

Well I think this answer goes back to the previous one. Now that we've figured out what were doing were really rolling... as it stands now we already have a big batch of new songs. We'd like to put out a 7" around the holidays and a new record no later than this time next year...we also some ideas for more releases in between. We just want to put out as much quality music as we can.

What is it like being back in a band? Did you miss the feeling?

ABSOLUTELY ... that first show was amazing, for me and its great being around a bunch of creative people again.

There was a ton of anticipation from fans and curious ears alike leading up to the release of “Of Gold,” were you scared and nervous that you would not live up the hype? Or could care less and the art that you wanted to make was out there.

I have to say that it was probably a little bit of both. I guess that if your willing to put something out there your willing to take the input from the masses.

As a vocalist you have drawn comparisons to fellow Michigan singer the late Rob Tyner of MC5 to Ian Mackaye toTom Waits. How do you feel about these comparisons?

That's great man. They're all a huge part of my record collection and I wouldn't be who I am today without them. If those are the three people that I’m being compared to then I guess I’m doing something right.

How does being in Bars of Gold differ from Bear Vs Shark? Are there any similarities?

I think the biggest difference is I knew the fellas in bearvsshark for years; I literally grew up with them. We were all best friends throughout most of our childhood. The guys in this band (with the exception of Brandon) are new to me. I knew them and hung out with them on occasion but as far as music it was a new frontier. The similarities are that both bands are filled with dudes that you could give a house key to and let them take out your dog if you were on vacation. Also everyone in both bands came from the same three towns right next to each other

The style of music Bars of Gold plays is somewhat different from Bear vs Shark, it goes through a lot of musical styles and range. What did you guys look for in terms of inspiration when recording the record?

Inspiration for this record (and I can only speak for myself) came from growing up in a small town with dirt roads and field parties...and getting older...and having to have a full time job again....and getting married....and having to worry about bills....I guess just generally trying to figure shit out.

What was it like being back in a band with Brandon again?

It's amazing...He is really one of the most genuine people I have ever met... he was actually the first guy I played with after bearvsshark broke up...he is one of those people that you want to be your child's godfather, if you had a child and believed in God.

When will the band hit the road?

Hopefully soon...we are heading down to Florida to play the No Idea record fest in October...Other than that it's probably just mid west and local for now

You signed with Friction records to put out “Of Gold,” and were the labels prestigious 50th release. How do you feel about taking the honor? What is it like being part of the Friction family?

Well I’ve known Jeff for years now...He had a huge part in bringing bearvsshark over to the west side of the state in the beginning of the band, he actually put out both records on vinyl for us....It's really cool that we were the 50th release although I think that was just happenstance. Whatever the case it's a great label that REALLY does support Michigan bands. It's always nice when you meet someone that is doing it for love and love alone.

BURNING QUESTION: If I do not ask this, I think every fan will come and hunt me down – will there ever be a Bear Vs Shark reunion?

It's not out of the question.

"Heaven Has a Heater" off Of Gold (Above) / Cover of Talking Head's Classic "Burning Down the House," (Below)