Few have heard of Josh Caterer’s first band—Speedstick—but after a name change and a swap of drummers, that band, now known as “The Smoking Popes,” quickly made a name for themselves in the early ’90s Chicago punk scene. The Smoking Popes toured relentlessly, signed to Capitol Records and even appeared on the Clueless soundtrack. The band would break up in 1998 after four studio albums but reunited in 2005 and have put out an additional four albums, including 2018’s great Into The Agony.
Caterer (pictured second from left) recently invited My First Band host Tyler Maas into his on-the-market home in Elmwood Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. The 47-year-old front man, who is also a worship pastor at a nearby church, updated fans on his current projects before discussing coming up in a musical family along with his two bandmate brothers, discovering punk rock thanks to his cousin’s record collection, and learning that his ability to hear a song and almost immediately play it on guitar was unique. Caterer also discussed playing on the same stage where he once watched Iggy Pop, the influence traditional pop singers had on his singing style, and a special moment he shared with the other Smoking Popes on the roof of Capitol Records.
My First Band is sponsored by Boulevard Brewing and 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 Smoking Popes (“Simmer Down”).