A now defunct rock band founded in Carpentersville, IL in 1990. Started by three brothers, the band achieved great success in the Chicagoland area, and were signed to a deal by Capitol Records in 1995. Although the band was unable to repeat their success on the national level, they did have a minor hit on the soundtrack to the movie Clueless called "Need You Around". They also had a song the the soundtrack to Angus and they tourned nationally with the Foo Fighters and Morrissey. The band members were:

  • Josh Caterer - guitar, vocals
  • Eli Caterer - guitar
  • Matt Caterer - bass
  • Mike Feumlee - drums

The Smoking Popes started out as a rather hardcore punk band, but the sound of the band changed when Josh changed his singing style. Josh grew up listening to classic crooners like Frank Sinatra and began to mimic their style in his singing. The other band members grew more proficient while keeping their punk roots. This clash of styles let to a very interesting (and damn cool) sound.

In 1997 Josh had becomed disenchanted and was suffering from major depression, he began to drink heavily and smoke lots of pot. One night at a party Josh finally collapsed, his heart beating so wildly that his brother Eli could see it though his chest. Josh, fearing that he was about to die, prayed that if God would let him live he would give up the partying and devote his life to Jesus.

Josh managed to survive that night and he started going to church. He wrote a song about Jesus called "I Know You Love Me", but soon the other band members grew tired of Josh's newfound Christianity and prostelyzing. Capitol had just rejected the band's latest album and all the band members had grown tired of touring together. So in 1998 the band broke up. Josh worked for a non-profit group in Chicago and regularly sang at his church. The other members moved onto other bands. Mike Feumlee started his own record label and was the drummer for the Alkaline Trio for a short time.

  • Inoculator – 1991
  • Break Up – 1992
  • 2 – 1993
  • Get Fired – 1993
  • Born to Quit – 1994
  • Destination Failure – 1997
  • 1991-1998 – 1999
  • Live – 1999
  • The Party's Over – 2002

All posthumous releases have been through Mike Feumlee's record label Double Zero Records.

If you ask for my opinion (which you didn't), 1991-1998 and Live are the two best albums to buy. The first is a compilation of their first four releases all on one CD and allows you to see their evolution. And the second (a recording of their final show on Thanksgiving Day 1998) allows you hear the final synthesis of hard instruments and the softer singing.

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