The Smoking Popes’ Josh Caterer On His New Album “The Hideout Sessions,” Superdrag & More – The Hype Magazine


Published on March 31st, 2021 | by Darren Paltrowitz

Josh Caterer first burst onto the Chicago punk scene in 1991 with the band The Smoking Popes, which he formed with his brothers Eli and Matt. Signing to Capitol Records within a few years of forming, The Smoking Popes did many of the things that a rock band would dream of doing, like touring alongside heroes (e.g. Cheap Trick, Violent Femmes), being on MTV and having music featured on movie soundtracks. During a band hiatus in the early aughts, Caterer repositioned himself as a faith-based artist, performing both solo and with the band Duvall. The Popes would reunite in 2005, releasing 3 more albums, beyond Caterer’s music with the Illinois-based blues outfit Jackson Mud Band.

The Hideout Sessions is the latest full-length from Josh Caterer. In power-trio form, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Caterer suited up with drummer John Perrin (NRBQ) and bassist John San Juan (Hushdrops) to perform the 10 tracks featured on The Hideout Sessions live. Featuring a career-spanning setlist, The Hideout Sessions includes Smoking Popes favorites, spiritual favorites and classics. Caterer, Perrin and San Juan — as joined on a few tracks by trumpeter Max Crawford of Poi Dog Pondering — are unbelievably-tight throughout the performance, to the point that one would (wrongly) assume that the recording was fixed for wrong notes afterwards in the studio.

On March 31, 2021, I had the pleasure of speaking with Josh Caterer via Zoom, as embedded below. Besides the Pravda Records-released The Hideout Sessions, we spoke of the early days of The Smoking Popes, musical influences, creativity, music industry pressures and — one of my favorite topics — the rock band Superdrag. More on Caterer is online at, and/or

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren’s writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being “Editor At Large” for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of the bi-weekly “Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz” podcast, as co-produced with V13 (formerly He has also co-authored two published books, 2018’s “Pocket Change: Your Happy Money” (Book Web Publishing) and 2019’s “Good Advice From Professional Wrestling” (6623 Press), with a second podcast set for a June 2020 launch.

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