Trainspotting: Keytar Bear

boston keytar bear
Keytar Bear out in the city.
Credit: Barry Thompson

Arguably the most recognizable street performer in Boston, Keytar Bear requires no introduction or explanation. Like most bears, he prefers to communicate through his music and Twitter feed, as opposed to human speech. Nonetheless, he graciously granted us an interview at Faneuil Hall by Government Center Station.

What’s it like to be a viral sensation on the blogs and the Facebooks ‘n all?

I don’t think I’m that….I just feel like a ghost, really. You’re dead, but you’re there, y’know? A lot of people know you, but you don’t know anybody. I feel like I’m looking out a fish bowl all day. You know when you come to somebody’s house, and the fish are swimming ‘n shit?

You’re in the background, like a ninja.

You see me, but you don’t. But Keybar Bear was born October 31st, and he’ll probably die around April. Before Mother’s Day, Keytar Bear will be dead.

Oh no! Why?

Because it’s going to be too hot to wear this shit.

When did you start playing keytar?

When my boxing career ended. [I was] 26 and five. I had an accident—crashed a motorcycle, broke a couple of ribs, severed some stuff, and couldn’t get back into boxing, so I picked up an instrument.

Do you have a message you’d like to send to our readers?

If you see Keytar Bear, make sure you take $3 out of the wallet, then give him the wallet, ‘cause he really deserves it. He’s about to die, so he needs as many wallets as he can get!….That’s just a joke, though.

Keytar Bear will be back next winter?

Right, ‘cause Keytar Bear is a household name now, so I want to grow up with the children. I want kids to see me 20 years from now and say, “Hey, it’s Keytar Bear! He’s still around!”

Like a phoenix, he dies and is resurrected…

Yeah, ‘cause Boston’s a big part of me. I love Boston so much, man. I want to be a big part of Boston. I want to bring a smile to everybody’s face. I’ll come out on the coldest day! The rainiest day! ‘Cause nobody else is going to come out and play Keytar Bear. You’ve got to cheer somebody up who’s going through a divorce or just paid their child support or whatever the case may be.


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