Paul Baker/the Gauntlet

Soul-devouring rock and roll bears

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Don't get between a mother bear and her cub-- she might eat your soul. Put this scenario to music and you have the new project from a quartet of Calgary music scene veterans.

Cody Coates and Andrew Woods-- from Lions and Tigers and Bears-- and Ian and Paul Baker-- of the Silent Auction-- channeled the Who's Tommy, creating their own rock opera under the moniker Story Time: Bear Attack. Coates admits that he initially tricked his band mates into working with him on this project.

"I would phone one person, tell them the other person was involved, then I'd phone the other person and say that they were involved and soon everyone was on the same page," he explains.

Coates and Woods headed the composition originally, which tells the story of a rock and roll mother bear who devours a hiking musician, only to be sought out by two park rangers, one of which has more humane intentions than the other. The two connected with the Baker brothers after meeting them at various shows around Calgary and decided to get them involved in the project.

"[Lions and Tigers and Bears] normally talk just random crap onstage and nobody gets it," Woods recalls. "I remember the Silent Auction laughed. They were the only ones!"

Though choosing to write a musical story about large mammal spiritual possession may seem like a large jump from being Calgary punk rock mainstays, Coates says the move wasn't actually that odd, especially with both feeder bands now inactive.

"We didn't really have time to define a genre, like a certain type of band," he says. "We just decided, whatever sounds good to us, let's just do it, so why don't we just write a rock opera about bears?"

Woods agrees, adding that the turn was something they all needed creatively.

"We don't want to take this too seriously, because obviously we are writing about bears-- rock 'n' roll bears," he says. "We wanted to have a clean slate and no preconceptions of how we should be. We just wanted to get there."

In addition to following suit on the Who's project, Coates and Woods say that they take a lot from Glassjaw's guitar work-- especially when it comes to Coates' drumming-- and with Pink Floyd's lyrical abilities. Overall, they hope to bring their music back to another era in its purpose and execution.

"People used to tell stories a lot more than they do now and that was an essential part of music back in the day, whereas today you have to fit a genre, you have to be a certain way," Woods says. "Ten seconds into a song, people expect you to be a certain way for the rest of the song. The only way that it is connected is that it is about bears. There are tons of different genres in the entirety. We've got a lot of kind of bluesy stuff, we've got rocky stuff."

Though the LTB boys started the ball rolling on their rock and roll bear fantasy, they cite their Baker cohorts for the project's continued success and progress.

"The concept is nothing without these guys," Woods says. "It wouldn't be where it is without all four of us. It sounds corny, but it's totally true."