The Bear was born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where his father and uncles worked as groundhog wranglers. He left home at an early age and joined Big Joe Fontana’s Travelling Band as a bass player. He learned to play piano from Big Joe, and became friends with Big Joe’s son, Little Joe, who began teaching him the guitar. While the band was touring Europe, Little Joe disappeared mysteriously, and distraught over losing his friend, Bear left the band and returned to the U.S. He worked the independent wrestling circuit for a few years and travelled with a roller derby team, before finally moving to Cincinnati, where he joined a well-known show band. After a couple of years, he was led astray by evil companions and regretfully quit the band. Since then, Bear has mostly stayed around town, playing on street corners for spare change. Things took a happier turn when Bear, while backpacking through Italy, was miraculously reunited with his old friend Little Joe. On his return to Cincinnati, Bear was delighted to get a call from Bruno inviting him to join the Belairs.