Aside from having the coolest name of any punk-leaning Chicago-area band since Big Black, Smoking Popes have been blessed with core fan base that refused to quit on the outfit. When leader Josh Caterer pulled the plug on the Popes in 1998, it came little more than a year after releasing what might have been the group’s best album, Destination Failure, perplexing many but apparently offending few. Seven years later, a sold-out reunion show in the Popes’ hometown was all it took to get Caterer back in a creative mood. From there, Josh and brothers Matt (bass) and Eli (guitar) pretty much picked up where they left off, releasing Stay Down in 2008 and compilation It’s Been A Long Day last year. The new This Is Only A Test (Asian Man) is a concept album that only occasionally comes across as such, with the 38-year-old Josh taking on the role of an angsty teenager to convincing effect. Josh and Matt will be guest-editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Q&A with Josh.
Matt: For a while, I was convinced that “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was the best song ever recorded. (Then I decided it was “Misty Mountain Hop” by Led Zeppelin, but that’s another story.) The original studio “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” smokes for sure, but the best live version of the song, to me, is the one from the Rock And Roll Circus. It’s pretty slow, sounds smacked out and Brian Jones’ guitar isn’t even in the mix, but it’s got a groove that the studio version doesn’t. Rock And Roll Circus itself is worth watching. The Stones’ performances are a little weird, but awesome. The Who do a stellar live version of “A Quick One While He’s Away.” The supergroup with John Lennon on vocals, Eric Clapton on guitar, Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums doing the Beatles’ “Yer Blues” (with Clapton so drugged up he looks like he’s going to chew his face off) is awesome as well. Check it!
Videos after the jump.