If you’re reading this, chances are you know Chris McCaughan from his work in The Lawrence Arms. Over the course of more than 20 years singing and playing guitar in the iconic Chicago punk band, McCaughan has shared the stage with some of his favorite musicians, performed throughout the world, contributed to a number of celebrated records, and has earned the affection of countless diehard fans all over the globe. Prior to his unlikely beginning with The Lawrence Arms and well before he started his beloved Sundowner side project, McCaughan was just a kid taking piano lessons, teaching himself to play guitar, and falling in love with punk rock.

A few weeks after The Lawrence Arms released its seventh studio album, the wonderful Skeleton Coast, the band’s guitarist and co-vocalist told My First Band host Tyler Maas about the process of writing the record remotely, the decision to release it during a pandemic, and how comparing songs with longtime bandmate/lifelong friend Brendan Kelly breeds healthy competition and makes for great material. Over the course of the interview, McCaughan also spoke about middle school “bands” like Vegetable Train and Glad Hand (both of which also featured Kelly), his stints in Tricky Dick and The Broadways, the unexpected origin of The Lawrence Arms, his decision to start Sundowner, and the unforgettable experiences music has given him through the years.

My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and The Lawrence Arms (“Ghostwriter”).