Roger had always wanted to become a famous music star. Well, he was a star
already, but he wanted to be a real rock star. He started to study music
and rock bands like the Beatles, Deep Purple and Eric Clapton, the
fantastic guitar player. One day in Dublin Roger happened to be passing a
music instrument shop and Roger decided he simply HAD to have a guitar...
Although they actually did have bear sized guitars - even a sunburst Fender Stratocaster - they were too big for a 10 inch bear.
Click each photo to enlarge
Roger went into other instrument shops. In Walton's they had Fenders and Gibsons and other great guitar makes hanging everywhere. But no bear sized guitars...
It turned out that one of our humans often went to the city Bath in the UK, and in the shop Isis of Bath they had bear sized guitars for sale. So one day our human brought home a real bear guitar, and it was a Fender Stratocaster. Roger was blissfull.
Although he now had a guitar, Roger felt something was missing.
"It's an electrical guitar but there's no sound! I need some power..."
Roger asked if he could borrow Angus' ghetto blaster. Things had not always been good between them, but Angus willingly let Roger borrow the blaster. Roger thanked Angus many times for his generousity. All from the past was forgotten.
Roger took the lead from the guitar and plugged it into the ghetto blaster. Then he stroke the strings.
"TWUUAANNNGGGGG!!!!" A loud blast blew out from the ghetto blaster. Some of the bears came running.
"What happened? Did the milk man van hit our house?"
Roger wanted to be the star of a band, but a single guitar player wasn't
enough to form a band. He went into McBear's office. McBear was working at
his desk. Without hesitation, Roger pulled McBear from his chair.
"Hey! What's going on?" McBear yelled.
"I need a drummer...!"
Roger continued: "...and you're my best friend!"
Roger emptied McBear's paper bin. He also took an empty barrell
of Cashew nuts and turned it upside down. McBear got curious and
started to study what Roger was doing.
"Now, we haven't got any drum sticks..." Roger said and started to look around...
"Sticks?", McBear asked. "How about... CHOP STICKS from CHINA...!?! We've got loads of sticks..."
"Oh, perfect idea! Go get'em and we'll start jamming..."
"Jam...? But ... I'm not hungry..."
"No-no-NO! To jam is just an expression" Roger replied a bit impatiently.
"It simlpy means to play music together".
Roger started to explain.
"Okay... When I go whaaaam-tchiiing on the guitar, you do two beats on the drums, okay?
McBear started beating the best he could do.
"Hmmm... I think you should try a bit more 'tap-tap' on the nut barrell and a bit less 'boom-boom' on the bin... And use your right foot to tap the rhytm".
By the end of the day the bears were doing great and they could play 2 songs.
The following days the bears worked hard playing music and
"We have to start thinking of our first album", Roger said and looked at an old Beatles album called 'With the Beatles'.
"These guys were fabulous and they made incredible hits! Of our own songs, I think I'll call my favourite 'All You Need is Bears'!"
"But... what about the rest of the toy animal's? McBear asked. "We've got dogs and lions and..."
"No-no-NO!" Roger interrupted. "You simply can't sing 'All you need is lions, giraffes, hippopotamuses....'!!! It just won't work... won't ROCK!".
Roger wasn't too happy with McBear's artificial drums, so we had
a set of real bear drums ordered straight from Isis in Bath plus
an acoustic guitar.
The drum kit arrived by courier (one of our humans). McBear got more and more excited as they were unpacking the kit. Boy, was McBear proud when he finally sat behind the drums, tapping and beating. The noise rose to an inferno.
"We need a stage..." Roger said and looked around. "A big platform,
steady, heavy and a couple of inches high..."
"A stage? Howabout ... A BOOK!" McBear proposed excited.
"A wha'?.... A ... a BOOK??? Roger was totally baffled.
"Yeah.... The Beatles! Their Anthology! It's on our humans' book shelf," McBear was excited and jumped up and down.
Roger gathered the bears to help carrying the Beatles Anthology from the book shelf out to the hall. Boy, it was heavy work and the bears were moaning - especially Roger as he was giving orders...
Rumours of the band had started to run and soon some of the other bears
started to show up at the rehearsals, asking for a concert...
"We need a name for the band", Roger said. "I'm the lead, so howabout something like... Rock Roger! Yeah, I like the sound of that: Rock Roger!"
"But... what about ME?" McBear asked a bit worried.
"Oh, sorry! Howabout... Rock Roger and the Travelling Bears?", Roger asked.
"Yeah, yopee!!! McBear jumped up and down in excitement.
By now we had instruments, but in order to play a concert we
needed equipment like mikes (Roger called it a mike, not microphone)
besides loudspeakers. We got purpose built cabinets. One of them
was a revamped empty box of expensive Creme de la Mer painted black!
"Fantastic!", McBear said in recognition. "I never thought make up could fullfill such a vital and practical task".
"We also need a big Marshall amplifier", Roger said. "Just like the ones Deep Purple had back when they were playing songs like Highway Star....hmmm, that might be something for us to play. After all, I am a star meself..."
Roger said we needed a bass guitar in the band. We called Steve at Isis
and had a Fender bass guitar ordered and sent straight from Bath. When
we unpacked the bass, however, it was huge!
"Good Lord!" McBear burst out. "We need a big bear to fiddle around with that! (McBear had started picking up Roger's expressions: Jam, mike etc.).
Roger started to giggle.
"It's like Cinderella! The prince was looking for a girl to fit the shoe. With us, the bear that fits the instrument will become bass of the band!"
It turned out that the only bear to fit the bass was Bamse, so he was hired. Bamse was extremely proud, however, it took him a while for his old paws to get a grip - after all, when Bamse was a kid, the Beatles had just become a hit. The rest of us hadn't even gone to the manufacturing process yet. That would take another 3 decades...
We were still gathering songs for our first album. Roger noticed a piece of
paper with a list of songs and read it.
"Okay, so far we've got:
All you Need is Bears
With a Little Help from my Bears
Dream a Little Dream of Bears
Bearway to Heaven
Let it Bear
Bear in the USSR
Bears is all You Need..."
Roger noticed the first and the last song.
"'All you Need is Bears' and ...'Bears is all You Need'???? But .... it's the SAME SONG!!!! Who on Earth compiled this list?"
"Well... it's just that I love that song so much", Bamse said a bit embarressed. "It reminds me of my childhood in the sixties..."
As the band kept developing and expanding we realized we needed a lead singer so we invited some of the bears in for an audition one by one. Olivia, in a true Judy Garland style, was singing Over the Rainbow. We were all left sobbing so we decided to pick someone less touching. Tom had a great voice, especially when he was singing 'What shall We do with a Drunken Bear'. Roger, being an ex-addict, wasn't too pleased with the song, but he gave in when Tom started rocking 'Can't Buy me Bears'....
The demand for a live performance kept growing, and since our first stage
had gone too small, we started building up a new big stage for a concert.
While Roger was struggling to lift a huge loudspeaker on to the stage, McBear
looked at the stage.
"It's a bit messy, isn't it, with all the leads and cables... I mean, in these modern hi-tech times shouldn't we go wireless?"
"WIRELESS???" Roger got excited. "You should have seen the stage when Deep Purple played in Osaka in 1972... THAT made great sound!"
"1972'?.... but... you weren't even born...." McBear pointed out.
"Ah! But I can easily image how it must have been....!
Dublin, October 2007
With more bears in the band, we also discussed a new name for the band. The final voting stood between Bearzone, Bearlife and Westbears. We ended up with Bearlife...
Before the concert, Bearlife did a last rehearsal. Roger was very excited
as he finished another guitar solo.
Isabella looked at Roger.
"The only difference between you and Elvis is the hair! You need a wig".
The bears around started giggling.
"A WIG?!? Furry bears don't need wigs!" Roger said a bit insulted. "Besides, there's only ONE Elvis and only ONE Roger!"
Dublin, October 2007
Finally, it was time for the live performance. All the bears (and other toy animals) in the audience were clapping as Bearlife entered the stage.
As the concert progressed, the bears (and other toy animals) were having a great time. When the band played the final song, everybody was singing along to 'Let it Bear'...
Dublin, October 2007
Next day Bearlife's brand new CD album was released and Roger found himself signing covers and he felt like a real rock star!