Friday, June 1, 9 p.m.
The Redstone Room, 129 Main Street, Davenport IA
“Ever wonder what a traditional lounge singer would sound like backed up by a punk band?” asked the Los Angeles Times. “The Smoking Popes take that concept one step further: They've created a unique kind of music that some listeneres are describing as 'hyperkinetic tear-jerkers.'” That description is as accurate today as it was during the band's early-'90s beginnings, as The Smoking Popes will prove when the pop-punk and alt-rock musicians play Davenport's Redstone Room on June 1.
The Smoking Popes were founded in 1991 by brothers Josh and Matt Caterer, with Josh on lead vocals and guitar and Matt on bass. With drummer Dave Martens, they released their debut EP Inoculator through local Chicago label Radius Records, and after Martens was replaced by Mike Felumlee, the band self-released the EPs Break Up in 1992 and 2 in 1993. Josh and Matt's brother Eli Caterer then joined on second guitar and the band signed to local label Johann's Face Records, releasing their debut album with 1993's Get Fired, a release that AllMusic.com recently called “a fine document of a great, somewhat under-appreciated band.”
Released in 1994 through Johann's Face and then re-released by Capitol Records in 1995, The Smoking Popes' Born to Quit signified the musicians' growing popularity, reaching number 37 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart and making the Modern Rock Tracks chart with the hit single “Need You Around.” Although the group disbanded for several years beginning in 1998, the artists reunited in 2005 to play Chicago's Flower 15 festival – a performance recorded and released as the CD/DVD package At Metro in early 2006. Since then, in between national and international tours, The Smoking Popes have released the 2008 studio album Stay Down, the 2010 compilation It's Been a Long Day, and 2011's This Is Only a Test, which PunkNews.org described as “a thoroughly enjoyable pop-rock album.” More recenty, the group delivered the EP Simmer Down in 2016, The Smoking Popes' first record since 1998 to feature the ensemble's original lineup.
The Smoking Popes' 9 p.m. concert on June 1 opens with a set by Johnnie Cluney, admission is $15, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)326-1333 or visiting RiverMusicExperience.org.