FriendlyBears Are Ready To Rock Your Face Off Don't Miss FriendlyBear's Debut At The Troubadour!
HOLLYWOOD, CA- Earlier this year, I saw the grunge rock trio FriendlyBear rock an opening set at The Satellite. This trio of Megan Granger (Drums), Adam Bones (Bass/Backing Vocals) and Guy Jedidiah (Guitar/Lead Vocals) really left an impression on me… so much so that I asked them if they would be willing to rock our stage at Madame Siam as well, and they did! Since then, the band has been playing gigs all throughout L.A., and will even get the chance to rock the venerable Troubadour on August 1, 2019, with The Gitas, Desert of Talking Shadows, The Advocates and Gabrielle Graves.
We were able to catch up FriendlyBear’s founder, and head chef, Guy Jedidiah, to learn how the band formed, what we can look forward to in the months to come and how he goes about balancing life with his musical endeavors.
What’s this ride performing as FriendlyBear been like? For a band that, as far as I know, almost started off as a dare, it really seems like you guys are really pushing forward and really taking it seriously. It seems like every time I log onto social media, you’re promoting a new gig that you’ll be playing. I also know, because I follow your socials, you’re always working hard at your day job, so what’s it like to balance work with this creative endeavor?
Step right up and get on the FriendlyBear Ride! What does it feel like? Well, it’s been a seriously fun trip so far: pone that’s taken twists, spins and turns through lights and tunnels and parts unknown. Honestly, it didn’t exactly start as a dare, but kind of. It was more of a childhood dream of mine to play in a grunge/punk/rock/whateveryoucallit band, and I just wanted to make that happen. As I saw life getting shorter and shorter throughout the years, a gloomy cloud started hanging over me raining on this dream. And then one day, I just made the decision to punch that cloud in the freaking face. I just wanted to play one show if I could, and I made the decision to do just that. I was determined to make it happen before my birthday last year, so I started jamming out with some friends, in the hopes that something would happen. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m actually not talking about Adam and Megan here. These were some other musician friends of mine, who I had a ton of fun with; but that never panned out, or at least not yet. Bummer.
Anyways, One day, while driving, I thought of a great tune, and worked on it, and had the intention to pitch it to my buddy Adam Bones for his band The Two Tens. It just seemed like a good fit. He liked that song and wanted to jam it out. So, we did just that at AMP Rehearsal in NoHo. Oh, and he brought Megan along too!! Honestly, I didn’t really know that Megan could drum at the time, and when we started jamming, she was just chilling out and then jumping in on backup vocals on the song. Adam was playing drums and I was on guitar and singing. I wasn’t really great at singing and playing at the same time (plus I wanted to hear Adam sing it since I wrote it for him), so I was just on guitar and Adam started singing. The thing was that Adam couldn’t exactly play drums and sing it, so Megan jumped in on the drums! Hello!! What do we have here? We worked on the tune and it actually wasn’t a bad start. We had our first song, “Underground”, and we didn’t even know it yet. Also, randomly, the melody for our current single “Red Eye” came to me at that first session, while waiting for the dynamic duo to arrive. Such a rad day.
Since we had so much fun, Adam told me to write more. We kept jamming over time until I had written a handful of songs. I had the epiphany that we could finally make that birthday show happen, so I pitched it to them ever so subtly:
ME: “Hey guys, I think we have just enough time to make it happen.”
THEM: “Make what happen?”
ME: “We can play a show for my birthday!”
THEM: “Ummmm, I dunno, but we’ll think about it.”
Anyways, they thought about it and we made it happen. I finished writing a total of 7 songs, and we working on them, plus a NIRVANA cover. We practiced a lot, and invited all our friends and family, and booked the Federal Bar in NoHo, where Adam and I used to work together. I was the chef, and he did (still does) their promotions. I even made a bunch of t-shirts with the help of my friends Annie and Brad. This was going to be the show that dreams were made of. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for anything better. Over a hundred of our friends came!! It was so great. We played great! People loved our music! They cheered!! It was seriously one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. This was Megan’s first show too. We both did freaking awesome, and everyone was telling us that.
That must have been a great feeling!
They were all super surprised that we’d never played in bands before. How cool is that? It helped to have Adam, who has played countless shows (but not on bass). We still look to Adam for his experience and are very fortunate to have him as a bandmate and a friend. I personally love that I get to perform next to one of my favorite musicians. I’m a huge Two Tens fan, and I’ve been to most of their shows since I started going to them. I also love going to see him perform in Compress Collide, The Gabba Gabba Heys, and Save Ferris. The dude is everywhere, and uber-talented, and seriously the nicest and funniest dude. So yeah, ADAM BONES ROCKS.
And that one show literally changed everything, huh?
Having had a taste of the stage, I needed more. The next few weeks were spent convincing the other bears to make this a thing. Our friends kept pushing for more shows too, so it happened. FriendlyBear left the den and has prowled the streets and clubs of Los Angeles since.
We’ve had a lot of luck and opportunities, many of which have stemmed from Adam’s musical ties. Over a year and around twenty shows later, we’ve played famous venues, small dive bars, and even in a parking lot. It all feels surreal, and I still catch myself thinking its still a dream: one which I don’t want to wake from.
What was it like making that kind of transition from normal dude to rocker? It must have been a bit of a lifestyle change.
For Megan and me, this has been a bunch of new learning experiences, and I’ve seen us both grow as musicians throughout. The two of us have made strides with regards to stage presence, and I’m close to figuring out what to say between songs, and more importantly when not to say things between songs. All of us have become much tighter, and even songwriting has become smoother. The three of us make a great team. We’re lucky in that aspect. We all respect each other as friends and musicians and love to make noise.
I found out also that leading a band is a ton of work. We don’t have a manager or booking agent or promoters, so it’s all DIY. Between, booking shows, promoting, selling merch, practicing and playing shows, I still have no clue how I maintain a full-time job as a chef and sustain a semblance of a social life. We might even have time to record soon! It’s not easy to maintain the work/band/life balance, but I think I’m doing a decent job. Being a chef is hard, and being a musician is hard, but they’re both great creative outlets that I love. I find myself singing and humming a lot (and playing air guitar) while cooking in the kitchen. A lot of songs have come to fruition this way. I sing and come up with lyrics in the car, on bathroom breaks, while pretending to listen to people, and pretty much any chance I get. Music is always in my head. I’m also very fortunate to have a job that lets me play music in the kitchen all day long. I make full use of the Spotify subscription. Now we play FriendlyBear in the kitchen sometimes. Hopefully, we’ll have more songs to blast soon. One thing I really want to work on more is to make more time to catch up with friends. A lot of friends come to shows, and that’s the best feeling, but I end up being pretty busy and feeling like I need more quality friend time. Hopefully they all understand how strapped for time I am, and hopefully, I can make up for lost times soon.
To be honest, Adam is the one who maintains the best balance. I still have no clue how he is in 5 bands and has a full-time job. I have no clue how that dude functions as well as he does. Whenever I find myself trying to balance things, I think of how busy he is, and I stop complaining and find the damn time. Megan has a full-time job and works freelance too. We all are super busy!! We’re not your typical musicians. We work hard and rock hard, as cliche’ as that sounds.
This is a totally random question, but do you think there’s any connection with your cooking and the music you write?
That is a totally random question. Hmmmmmmm. I mean, aside from the singing while cooking, and getting song ideas while listening to music while at work, I don’t know that my cooking really shapes the songs that I write. I have written some songs about frustrations with work, and about the feelings, I get while being on the job, but that just goes hand in hand with anyone “having” to do work. I guess that a lot of monotonous tasks like chopping 25# of onions do let me slip into a mind-space that I can use for band purposes. Maybe even the tears caused by those onions have inspired sad songs….but then I don’t cry when I chop onions…or do I?
You just released release your first single. Congrats! Nice photo by the way. lol. What’s it feel like to have your first single out there for the public to consume?
Yeah we did!! Thanks, brother! And thanks for the amazing photo!! It’s basically the “Red Eye Album” cover. We love it. It feels amazing having a physical, tangible thing to show people. I love having a way for people to hear us crispy clear anytime we want. I have notions that people blast “Red Eye” in their cars and rock out to us right getting out of work, or on the way to a FriendlyBear show or wherever. I always feel amazing when I do that, and I just want to make people feel the same way. That’s why I write songs. It’s mostly for everyone else. I’ve always wanted to affect others in any way. Whether they feel happy, sad or angry, I know that I’ve helped them feel something. That’s what music has always been for me. When I was a teen listening to NIRVANA, STP, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, just to name a few, that’s when I felt the most alive. Life without music is just way more boring. Everything has a soundtrack. I want our music to be people’s soundtrack. I can’t wait to meet that teenage kid that comes up to me and tells me about how he or she listens to FriendlyBear in their room and jumps on and off the bed in a fit of rage. It always feels great when people come up to me at shows and tell me about how the music speaks to them. That’s everything to me. I always want to hear that, and I always try to make time for it, when that happens. Listen to the music people. Add our stuff to your playlists. Put it on a mixtape, if that’s still a thing. Share FriendlyBear with your friends. Thanks!
Why did you pick “Red Eye” as your first single? Does it have any personal significance?
We picked Red Eye as our first single as a unanimous band decision, because it was one of our most rocking songs. A lot of people see it as a FriendlyBear anthem. I find it awesome that a song about anger is indicative of a band with the word “Friendly” in it’s name. But, “FriendlyBear” has, to me, always been about the duality of emotion: the happy and mad pitted against each other. A friendly beast. Most of my songs have elements of all emotions in them. I’m usually not writing only happy songs or the opposite. Even the love songs are about love lost or fake love. Anyways, I’m getting off-topic again. Another reason that we chose Red Eye as our first single is that it was technically the first song we wrote as FriendlyBear, since I had come to the first jam session with Underground already written. I like that symbolism. By the way, Red Eye just came on randomly as I was writing this reply. How crazy is that?!?!
What’s your endgame for the immediate future? What are some goals that you’re hoping to achieve at least in this year?
The immediate goals are recording more songs and playing more shows. I’d love to have at least a 3-4 song EP by the end of the year. I’d like to record an entire LP while we’re all still alive and sane, but that will most likely bleed into next year since we’re all busy. All of that would be ultra amazing. I also would like to play more shows and am constantly trying to book different venues. I’d like the music to reach a bunch of different ears. It would be great to expand the fanbase, in quantity and variety, so go follow us on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, and come to the shows. It would be cool to set up a mini road trip weekend tour or something, to see what that feels like. It’s hard for us to go on an actual tour since we all have jobs, and Adam is in 62 bands, but something mini would be cool, maybe in a nearby city or neighboring state. Oh, also we’re working on getting a video made for Red Eye, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Subsequent videos would be cool when we record our next songs. Oh, and I’m going to win the lottery, so we can afford all of this stuff, and intern with Dave Grohl, so I can figure out this rock and roll stuff, but mostly just to give him a hi-five!
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