ALBUM PREMIERE: Josh Caterer of Smoking Popes Harnesses the Live Rock and Roll Experience with ‘The Hideout Sessions’

Josh Caterer first burst onto the Chicago punk scene in 1991 with Smoking Popes who he formed with his brothers Eli and Matt. From their early indie releases to their critically acclaimed major label albums, Smoking Popes developed a unique blend of buzzsaw guitars, caffeinated rhythms and heartfelt crooning vocals. During a band hiatus in the early aughts, Josh wrote and recorded music as a solo artist and with the pop-punk band Duvall which featured other Popes alumni. Reuniting in 2005, Smoking Popes released three more albums, the most recent being Into The Agony in 2018. Josh also released an album with the Blues outfit Jackson Mud Band along the way.

On October 28th, 2020, Caterer joined forces with John San Juan (Hushdrops) and John Perrin (NRBQ) to rock out 21st century versions of songs your grandparents used to dance to “back in the day.” They covered a few Popes songs, too. It was an inspired evening of music.

The recording took place on stage at the Hideout, one of Chicago’s most beloved intimate music venues. Due to the pandemic, the Hideout’s doors had been closed to the public for several months, and the room had to be empty for this performance, save for the skeleton crew of sound engineers who captured the event. As Josh and his band recorded the album, the entire thing was live-streamed as a ticketed virtual concert. 

The Hideout Sessions stands as a powerful and highly listenable document of Smoking Popes frontman Josh Caterer stretching out with a new band of accomplished players for a one-night-only, live-to-tape recording. The album is being released by Pravda Records on  12” vinyl LP in gatefold sleeve, CD, as digital download and via streaming platforms on March 26th.

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of the new album ahead of its official release. As a whole, the recording can be summed up as a high-quality rock show – raw, sweet, honest and cathartic. Of course, one year into the pandemic, rock shows are the one thing that many of us are still craving the most. This recording finds Caterer harnessing the unique blend of punk energy and Sinatra-style sophistication that has made his work with the Smoking Popes so enduring. There is power pop, there is heavy guitar shredding and massive drum fills, loose grooving, and moments of tenderness. Caterer and his band perform with a sense of drama while also never taking themselves too seriously and clearly having plenty of fun. Ultimately, The Hideout Sessions serve as a reminder of what we have temporarily lost but will no doubt get back again, and Caterer and his band manager to conjure up that spontaneous spirit and cadence of an explosive rock and roll performance. 

Caterer describes the process behind creating the album:

“Making this album is what we needed to do for our own sanity. All our pent up energy from the whole lockdown, all our longing to make music for all those months, every ounce of it got poured into this performance, and I think it comes across in the recording. I hope people can feel that when they listen to this music. “


Photo credit: Paul Beaty

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