Friday, November 25, 2011

Pheaturing Josh Caterer From Smoking Popes

Out on the street for a living, Picture's only begun, Got you under their thumb, Hit it, Out on the streets for a living, Picture's only begun, Your day is sorrow and madness, Got you under their thumb. Whoo, black Friday, Whoo, black Friday. 

Attention, shoppers, welcome to a Black Friday entry of the Peverett Phile, I am your host Jason Shop-A-Holic and Exhausted Peverett. I just came back from Black Friday shopping, kids, and I am exhausted. How are you doing? Well, Newt Gingrich says he wants to get rid of Social Security. Who is more qualified to give this country financial advice than a guy who ran up a half-million dollar bill at Tiffany. Newt wants to repeal child labor laws. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the man that we need to lead us into the 18th century. Did you guys have a good Thanksgiving? President Obama pardoned the turkeys, which the Republicans stepped in and tried to block it. If you think about it in certain terms, Obama has had a good year. First Bin Laden, then Moammar Gadhafi. Next, Robert Wagner. In olden times, Thanksgiving was the one day of year that people in the country overate. Now we do it all 365 days. When are these Republican debates going to stop? I mean, this would be the very reason to call for a dictatorship, just to put an end to these. Newt Gingrich wants to repeal child labor laws. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the man that we need to lead us into the 18th century. Did you see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade? There were new balloons in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. There was a Pillsbury Dough Boy balloon and a Ronald McDonald balloon. The Pillsbury Dough Boy balloon was big enough to hold 3 million crescent rolls, and the Ronald McDonald balloon can hold over seven McDonald’s customers. There was a Pillsbury Dough Boy balloon and a McDonald’s balloon. My favorite was the one that followed them: the diabetes balloon. Botox has announced that Botox can be used to tighten up breasts. The only problem is, your breasts always looked surprised. Well, when I got home my wife asked me how what did I buy for myself and what did I buy for other people? I couldn't answer so I made this pie chart...
I was very excited to see that the mall was selling a Black Friday inspirational poster. Check it out. 
I went to Toys R Us and I was very confused about their new promotional ad.

did like the Old Navy display they had in the front of the store though.

And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is today's...

Top Ten Things You Don't Want To Hear While Shopping In The Gap
10. "Hey Larry, we finally sold one of those ugly things."
9. "Don't go in the middle dressing room, I had an accident."
8. "Fifteen minutes ago, this was on a fat, sweaty guy."
7. "I don't feel so good. I just swallowed one of them security alarm tags."
6. "Man, you should hear what they're saying about you over the headset."
5. "You can't truly appreciate corduroys if you're wearing underwear."
4. "Hey buddy, wanna swing dance like in them commercials?"
3. "We paid some foreign kid 20 cents to make this."
2. "Would you like to buy the video we took of you in the dressing room?"
And the number one thing you don't want to hear while shopping in the Gap...
1. "Buy 50 shirts so I can make sales associate of the month, or I'll break your knees."

This is the 16th book to be pheatured on the Peverett Phile Book Club...

Jack Boulware will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks. But his book now at Amazon.

Today's guest is a musician and songwriter. With his brothers, Eli Caterer and Matt Caterer, he was a founding member of one of my favorite bands from the 90's, the Smoking Popes, in which Josh plays lead guitar and sings. Their new only "This Is Only A Test" is available on iTunes and in stores and they'll be next appearing at Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 22nd. Please welcome to the Phile... Josh Caterer.

Me: Hello, Josh, welcome to the Phile, how are you all?

Josh: We're doing great, thanks.

Me: I have to say, I am a big fan, so this is a huge honor for me to have you here on the Phile. Before we start, let's talk about your band name, the Smoking Popes. I kinda know where it originated from, but some readers might not. Wanna explain it?

Josh: It's a reference to The Pope of Greenwich Village starring Mickey Rourke. It was one of our favorite movies and Rourke always looked so cool with a cigarette.

Me: I am guessing you'll never play at the Vatican with that name, right? You've guys have been touring for a long time. Is it still fun for you?

Josh: Yes. In fact, I'd say it's more fun now than ever before. We absolutely love playing shows.

Me: You guys are all from the Chicago area. Do you still live there?

Josh: Yes we do. Chicago's such a great city, it would be hard to see living anywhere else. Although the winters are so terrible, I suppose I might throw in the towel at some point.

Me: I always think it's cool when siblings or spouses could be in a band or work together as I cannot imagine being in a band with my sisters or my wife. You guys must of been close growing up, am I right?

Josh: Yeah, we've always been friends and we grew up listening to the same music and jamming together, so it was pretty natural for us to start up a band and start playing out together.

Me: With Matt being the oldest, did he turn you on to his music that he was into, or did you all have your own kinda music you listened to?

Josh: Matt would discover bands and bring their records home and turn us onto the music. He was very much responsible for shaping our musical taste.

Me: Starting out, you went from touring with Green Day and then ELO, two of my favorite bands, but two very different bands as well. I am guessing both tours had a completely different environment. How would you compare both tours?

Josh: I'm guessing you got that information from Wikipedia, but it's not true. We never played with ELO. And we only played one show with Green Day. I don't know who wrote the Wikipedia article about us, but a lot of that stuff isn't true. I can tell you that our show with Green Day was pretty cool. Those guys were a big part of why we got signed in '95. They were talking about us and it got the major labels interested.

Me: Freakin' Wikipedia! I am an idiot. You did tour with the Figgs back then. I interviewed Mike Gent, the lead singer, here on the Phile. He is a very cool guy, isn't he? You guys were label mates with them for awhile, right?

Josh: We did a tour with the Figgs. Jimmy Eat World was the opening band, back when nobody knew who they were. It was a great time. We still run into some of the Figgs when we play out East. They're great guys.

Me: Okay, Josh, I have to bring something up, as I can somewhat relate, my friend. Around 1998 you turned to Christianity, which is well known. I have also turned to Christianity... I think I just heard hundreds of computers either turning off or changing windows. I haven't really talked about it up 'til now, so I think this interview will help.  I wouldn't say I am a religious person, but more spiritual and open-minded. Anyway, this interview is about you. How did you turn and become a Christian, Josh?

Josh: I wasn’t raised in church, so I didn’t know anything about it, but in my late 20’s I got to a very low point in my life where I felt like I couldn’t go on without getting some answers, so I started looking into various religions to try and find God. For about a year I was going to a Buddhist temple near my apartment and I was reading everything I could get my hands on, including the Bible. Eventually, I realized that Jesus was the key, that He is the way to have a relationship with God. Once I embraced Jesus in my life, everything totally changed for me.

Me: Did it effect the other guys and your brothers in the band? Did your songwriting change, making you write about different themes?

Josh: For a while I stopped writing songs because the change in my life was so dramatic that I couldn’t figure out how to communicate it through music. It took me a while to find my voice as a Christian songwriter. Now I write worship songs for my church and I also still write Popes songs.

Me: When you quit the band, the band broke up, right? Did your brothers and friends stop talking to you? Did you tell them you were gonna quit, or did it just happen?

Josh: I stayed in the band for a while, but after about 6 months I told them I was quitting. I think it was the right thing to do at the time. My brothers were upset that the band was ending, but basically supportive of me.

Me: I, like a lot of Smoking Popes fans, was glad that the band reunited in 2005, and I am glad you released a DVD and CD about that time. Was it hard to get back with them, and play? Did the set lists change at all?

Josh: The hard part was deciding to give it a try again. But once we got together to rehearse, it was surprisingly easy and natural to play those songs again. Even though we hadn’t played together in years, we all remembered all the songs, like the chords had been burned into our minds or something. It was a lot of fun. And I think we’ve had this excitement about it ever since we got back together. We’re not taking it for granted this time.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album, "This Is Only A Test", which I downloaded from iTunes and think it's great. Explain what the title represents.

Josh: The title track is all about how the world of high school is a false reality, so the people on top shouldn’t be so proud and the people on the bottom shouldn’t be so depressed, because in the real world the situation will be very different.

Me: It's a concept album, right? Concept albums could either be a good thing, like what the Who did, or a bad thing. How did you decide this new album was gonna be a concept album? And while you're at it, explain what the concept is.

Josh: All the songs on this album are written from the point of view of a senior in high school. It’s not a storyline that unfolds as the album progresses, like a rock opera, it’s more like a series of snapshots from this kid’s life. So the songs could really come in any order, but after we were done recording, we chose this sequence because it did seem to flow in a way that made sense.

Me: The last song on the album is called "Letter to Emily". Is Emily someone in particular?

Josh: There were kids from my school who committed suicide, and it’s something that affects everyone who had any contact with that person. You ask yourself if you could have done something to help them, even if you didn’t know them very well. That’s the situation of “Letter to Emily”. It’s an attempt to work through those feelings.

Me: Josh, thanks so much for being here on the Phile. I am a huge fan, and hope you guys will play in Orlando soon, and please come back here again soon, Josh. Why don't you plug World Relief, the charity you support?

Josh: Wow, that’s a blast from the past! I worked at World Relief a long time ago, but I’m not involved with them anymore.

Me: Alright then, two things I got wrong. Anyway, go ahead and mention your website and thanks again for being here. You guys rock.

Josh: Our website is Thanks!

There, that about does it. Thanks to Paul Stanley and to Josh Caterer and Heather West for hooking the interview up. The Phile will be back on Sunday with Reid Paley from the duo Paley & Francis and then on Monday with Australian singer-songwriter Broni. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let alligators and snakes bite you. Bye, love you, bye. I am not gonna crash. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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