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Born outside of Chicago, Gary Bear has studied piano, violin, music theory and acting, and has since put that training to good use. These days, he spends his time writing and performing his own songs, creating visual art and doing a bit of acting here and there. He's got a new CD in the works, but until then, you can catch him performing at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at A Shot in the Dark Café, as part of the Fall Club CrawlTM. Trust us, you've never heard anything like him. (Hint: Expect bear puppets from outer space.)

What was the first concert you ever saw?

Rory Gallagher at Long Beach Arena.

What CDs are in your changer right now?

The Okmoniks, Keeping Up With the Okmoniks; Paris, Big Towne, 2061; a mix of selected songs by the Beatles; Knud Pheiffer, a dub of "Vidste Du Det" (a bluesy Danish song from the '50s).

How many total albums do you own CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?

Not counting homemade dubs and mixes, nor vinyl singles: 52 CDs, 52 cassettes and 157 vinyl LPs.

Do you download music, and if so, legally or illegally?

I don't download, but it's all perfectly legal.

What was the first album you owned?

Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper.

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?

"A Passion Play" by Jethro Tull. It's long, and all those who wouldn't hang with me in life better stay 'til it's finished--even though I'm not promising to leak strange things out of your walls if you don't.

Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

David Essex's one good song: "Rock On." Or maybe the original movie soundtrack to Cleopatra.

What band or artist changed your life, and how?

Humble Pie. Hangin' out in a friend's garage drinking beers, smoking datura (dangerous--don't try that at home), I realized I wanted to make that music happen. Now I am a fully accomplished nonworking musician/artist who can't pay his bills.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Don't really have a favorite. Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin was pretty good, though. I got a lot of miles out of that one.

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