Sunday 20 Apr
 
 

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
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Papal state


Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em! Smoking Popes do. Having survived the alt-rock fallout, they ironically enjoy playing to audiences more now than the ’90s.

Joshua Boydston July 20th, 2011

Smoking Popes with The Fellowship Students and They Stay Dead
8 p.m. Tuesday
The Conservatory
8911 N. Western
conservatoryokc.com, 607-4805
$10

Pop-punk band Smoking Popes formed a full two decades ago. To still be playing music is the last thing lead singer Josh Caterer ever expected.


“I don’t know that I ever thought about what I’d be doing 20 years later when we started this band,” he said. “You always think you are going to be dead, and then it turns out you aren’t dead, so you have to figure out what you are going to do. I’m just glad I’m still alive.”

They’ve done more than just survive; although not a household name, Smoking Popes inspired many groups that are. Fall Out Boy and Alkaline Trio both hold the Chicago-based quartet up as the act that inspired them to form. Green Day, Morrissey and Jimmy Eat World were also admirers. They inked a deal with Capitol Records in 1994 before deciding that pressure didn’t suit them.

“We were and always have been an indie band,” Caterer said. “It just took us some time on a major label to realize that.”

Soon after that departure, Caterer converted to Christianity and left the group, feeling that the two lifestyles couldn’t co-exist. Smoking Popes disbanded in early 1999.

“Because I didn’t grow up in church, I didn’t have any previous familiarity with that faith. It was a shock to my system. I couldn’t conceive of my life up to that point being compatible with moving forward as a follower of Christ. There was some conflict there, for me.” Caterer said. “It took a few years to get established and realize I was mature enough to play in a rock band without compromising my faith.”

The band reformed in 2005, and oddly enough, that extended break is probably the biggest contributing factor to the longevity Smoking Popes enjoys today.

“Taking the break helped me to get my life in perspective and to be a happier and more productive person. It helped us enjoy what we were doing,” Caterer said. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Smoking Popes has released four albums — all on small, indie labels — in just six years, including its latest, “This Is Only a Test.” Despite being more than a few years removed from adolescence, Caterer wrote it through the perspective of a teenage boy dealing with finding his identity,.

“The process of writing this record was exhilarating to me. It was freeing to have a concept to contain the writing,” Caterer said. “It made the writing feel like it had direction.”

The group will re-release its seminal LP, 1995’s “Born to Quit,” soon, and plans for another new album are in the works. No end is in sight, unless the group works itself to death.

“We used to complain about touring because it’s hard, but now we love it. It hasn’t gotten easier; we’ve just realized the stuff we like about it is a lot bigger than what we don’t,” Caterer said. “I like the fact that we will go somewhere and set up our instruments and people will pay to see us play. It’s hard not to take that for granted.”

 
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