Bear World Playlist Featured Artist is Probe 7!
Songs on Playlist: “Don’t Tell Me What Not to Say” and “88 Lines About 44 Dudes”
Current City: Palm Springs, CA
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Bear World Magazine: What can you tell us about the songs, “Don’t Tell Me What Not to Say” and “88 Lines About 44 Dudes”?
Probe 7’s Brent Heinze: “Don’t Tell Me What Not to Say” was the first song we collaborated on in preparation for the new Probe 7 album. In the wake of the “don’t say gay” movement paired with an unfortunate history of silencing the voices of those individuals and communities who have faced so many challenges, we wanted to write a song that was encouraging to those to keep up the good fight and continue living their authentic lives. It is not always easy to have the confidence to stand up for what you know to be right, but it is the key to developing true self-esteem and confidence.
“88 Lines About 44 Dudes” gives a loving nod to the song “88 Lines About 44 Women” originally released by the band The Nails in 1981. As Probe 7 has always celebrated our gay culture in our lyrical subject matter, we took the opportunity to sing about some of our favorite people in the bear and leather communities. Listeners may recognize some of the individuals mentioned. Their names have not been changed since none of them are innocent. We are working on the official video to be released later in 2022.
BWM: How would you describe Probe 7’s sound to someone unfamiliar with your music?
BH: We consider it synthpop, but others have described it as electronic rock, synthwave, electro goth, or industrial. Regardless of the genre-specific name, we are a synth-based project that focuses on the emotional context of what it is like to be alive. Our songs talk about love, loss, successes, challenges, hopes, and fears.
BWM: Last year you put out an impressive 19-track covers record, Parallel Universe, covering artists as eclectic as Gordon Lightfoot, Lady Gaga and Dio. Would you say this speaks to your having a wide breadth of influences yourself? Was it challenging to decide what songs to record?
BH: During the time of COVID lockdown, we wanted to do something unique that included many of the band’s friends from around the world. Most of us were stuck in our studios, so using technology to communicate and create these cover versions seemed like a good use of time. It was honestly quite fun to select the songs to cover. It was a combination of tracks that were loved growing up paired with some that were fun to turn into synth tracks.
There are many influences on the feel and sound of Probe 7. It was hard to prioritize the possible tracks, but we feel it is a good representation of rock, metal, disco, and ’80s dance songs that are awesome. Putting our own perspectives on a cover song is fun for us and allows listeners to hear a completely different interpretation.
BWM: You have a few live gigs coming up, on Sept. 23rd at The Barracks in Cathedral City and Oct. 15th at Bearrison Street Fair in San Francisco. What are your favorite types of shows or venues to play, and why?
BH: Finding a balance between studio recordings and playing live can be challenging. With performing for a crowd, you get direct feedback from the audience plus get to experience the terror and exhilaration of playing without a safety net.
The show is going to be what it is going to be with all the screw ups, improvs, and fun moments that come with playing live. We have enjoyed playing clubs, bars, and festivals in the past, but what is really driving our excitement in playing live shows is performing for new audiences. We love booking shows with bands who may not share similar sound, but have a common bond in positive energy and a love of music.
BWM: When it comes to the bear community, do you find it easy or hard to meet guys who share your taste in music?
BH: It can honestly be both. Thankfully many in our community are either old enough to have experienced the synth and new wave music of the 1980s or enjoy the sound of what we are creating. We have also found that since our sound does not generally share a lot in typical gay club dance music, we may not resonate with people looking for diva stuff, but love our producer friends who have supported us in creating some fun remixes.
BWM: What is an opening line of chat a guy can hit you up with on Growlr or Scruff that immediately piques your interest?
BH: Personally, I’m kind of old fashioned when it comes to flirting either in person or online. Usually, a non-sexual introduction where they give a compliment or reference something I wrote in my profile is good for me. Pictures are what may initially intrigue us, but it is substance that usually turn me on. Of course, I also have a weakness for a furry chest and pretty eyes, so a heart-felt woof is sometimes totally just what the doctor ordered.
BWM: What is next for Probe 7, in the studio and outside?
BH: We are currently in the process writing material for our next full-length studio album and enjoying trying out some of these new tracks during our live shows. For the rest of 2022, we are scheduled to play the Bearrison Street Fair in San Francisco, BearDive in Sacramento, the Jeff Hocker Halloween concert in Palm Springs, and the Utah Dark Arts Festival in Salt Lake City.
We are looking forward to booking lots more shows in 2023. Probe 7 is also contributing a cover version of the Psychedelic Furs classic “Pretty in Pink” to the tribute compilation album Heartbreak Beat from Coitus Interruptus Productions.
BWM: Anything else you would like us to know?
BH: Since its inception in 1992, Probe 7 has celebrated the beauty, challenges, pitfalls, and amazing parts of being gay in our society. We are out and proud guys who make no apologies for living our best gay lives. We are grateful to have the opportunity to create art and share it with others.