The Five Bear Rugs are the house band in the Disney theme park attraction Country Bear Jamboree.
They perform on a platform in the theater's main stage.
The members of the band include:
- Zeke, who plays the banjo while tapping a dishpan with his foot
- Zeb, who plays the fiddle
- Ted, who blows a corn jug and sometimes plays a washboard
- Fred, who plays a mouth harp (a harmonica)
- Tennessee, who plays "The Thing" (an upright bass with only one string and a tiny bird sitting on it)
Oscar, Zeb's son, sits quietly on the right-hand side of the band's platform, clutching and squeezing his teddy bear.
Zeb, Ted, Fred and Tennessee also appear in the 2002 feature film based on the attraction, where the band is simply called the Country Bears. Zeke is used as the name of the band's tour bus.
From 1972's Country Bear Jamboree record album:
The Five Bear Rugs began playing music together when they were in first grade. Fifteen years later they were still playing—in fourth grade! Zeke plays the banjo and wears glasses—he’s the only one who can read music. Fred plays the mouth harp and carries the tune (his wife says Fred is lazy, and a tune is the only thing he carries). Ted blows the white lightning jug, and Tennessee plays the one-stringed thing (he hopes one day to add more strings). Zeb plays fiddle, and Zeb’s son Oscar accompanies his father on concert tours because Zeb’s wife works (she models fur coats—always the same one—at a nearby boutique).
The Country Bears, the film's equivalent to the Five Bear Rugs, were originally construction workers that sang together during lunch breaks. Their foreman Henry noticed their talent and the band was established in 1974 to massive success, spawning hit albums, a cartoon, and, anachronistically, the Disney theme park attraction itself.
During the span of their career together, the band produced five albums.
- "The Album What That's Our First"
- "This Here's the Untitled Album"
- "Give Us Paws"
- "To the Last Drop Water Tower"
- "Straight Outta Pendleton"
After the massive failure of their attempt at entering the hip-hop scene with "Straight Outta Pendleton" and years of clashing egos, the band broke up and went their separate ways in 1991. About a decade later, young fan Beary Barrington would rally them back together for a benefit concert to save Country Bear Hall.
- One of the Oscar figures created for Disneyland's version of the show now resides in the Disney Archives, still wearing a cub scout uniform from the Vacation Hoedown.
- According to early concepts for the attraction, including concept art and an early Bear Band Serenade demo, Zeke was originally envisioned as a percussionist playing cymbals, drums and cowbells.
- Tennessee was initially going to be called Lemonade. The opening verse of the song, according to the aforementioned demo, would've been:
The bear band bears are ready
They're set to serenade
Zeke and Zeb and Ted and Fred
And a bear named Lemonade
When the verse was changed to:
The bear band bears will play now
In the good ol' key of G
Zeke and Zeb and Ted and Fred
And a bear named Tennessee
He was renamed Tennessee so it would rhyme with "G".
- Zeke's singing voice from 1975 onward was modeled after the country singer and banjo player Grandpa Jones.