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.
Josh: I love art about art. Writers who write about writing. Songs about being in a band. But my favorite is movies about acting. There’s something really cool about seeing a good actor playing an actor who is acting. It’s like they’re giving two performances at once. My absolute favorite example of this is Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. He plays an out-of-work actor named Michael Dorsey whose friend Sandy (played by Teri Garr) auditions for a role on a daytime soap and gets turned down, so he decides to audition for the same role. He dresses up like a woman, calls himself Dorothy Michaels, rocks the audition, gets the part and becomes the queen of daytime drama. It sounds like the recipe for just another stupid comedy, but it’s actually a really great movie, brilliantly directed by Sidney Pollack and featuring a totally virtuoso perfomance by Hoffman.
Video after the jump.