Jack and the Bear blends past and present theatrics

By Chase Myers, @chasemyers_DE

When a band is comprised of family members, like the Beach Boys and Kings of Leon, it has an advantage when it comes to dynamic and ability to express ideas.

Jack and the Bear, a theatrical rock group from Monroe, Mich., consists of three siblings: Brandon “James” Schreiber on guitar, Christina Schreiber on trumpet and Adam Schreiber on drums, as well as high school friends Evan Close on bass guitar and Ryan Servis on keys.

The band will perform at 9 p.m. on Friday at Tres Hombres.


Theatrical rock focuses on the visual experience of a live show and how visual and musical elements intertwine. 

When their first “training wheel” band failed, the crew moved on to create Jack and the Bear, a mix between the Muppets and Bruce Springsteen, Brandon Schreiber said.

The Schreibers bring a lot of classic Walt Disney influence to their music, growing up with a father with a knack for graphic design, he said.

Schreiber said they are influenced by the Sherman Brothers’ bouncy writing style in films like Jungle Book and The Sword in the Stone, as well as the brothers’ ability to write moving pieces.

“A little Disney influence never hurt,” he said.

The band begins every show with an instrumental intro blending elements of circus music with music from around the world.

“It’s kind of a spectacle really,” he said. “[We are] combining artists like Tom Waits and making it more Broadway music style.”


Their unique sound and close on-stage dynamic create a live show you would not expect from a typical band, and they have known each other for so long there is little negativity among members, he said.

“We can pretty much tell each other how we feel at any given time,” he said. “We don’t have to walk on eggshells around each other, so it makes it a lot easier and we can just be ourselves.”

Schreiber said the lack of a music scene in Monroe, Mich., has given them more confidence on the road.

“It’s kind of nice, because no one really understands us at all,” he said. “I like being somewhere that we’re not really a big deal.”

After playing shows in states such as Vermont with appreciative crowds, they return home to a community where they are unknown, Schreiber said.

“It feels like the Hobbits in Lord of the Rings, when they come back from saving the world and then no one cares, but I like it and it inspired our first album,” he said.

Jack and the Bear is currently working on a new record with a more theatrical classic sound, rather than the folk-rock sound of its first album, he said.

“It’s more like a live show,” he said. “We’ve found our sound that we’ve really been trying to achieve.”

He said they have not decided whether or not they are releasing a full album, but singles and music videos can be expected.

Although the band has played in St. Louis, this will be their first time playing in southern Illinois, a region they plan on playing frequently in the future.

“We’re looking to play that area a lot more, “ he said. “We’ll keep hitting around this Midwest region of the states a lot more than we were.”

The future looks bright for Jack and the Bear as they look to bring their studio on the road and start touring again after a year at home.