Smoking Popes

Double Door Presents

Smoking Popes

Roll The Tanks

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

Facebook comments:

Smoking Popes
Smoking Popes
“Ever wonder what a traditional saloon singer would sound like backed up by a punk band? The Smoking Popes take that concept one step further: They've created a unique kind of music that some listeners are describing as ‘hyperkinetic tear-jerkers’." Los Angeles Times

Smoking Popes built a relationship with their legion of fans and fellow musicians by melding raw songs about bittersweet heartache with soaring melodies, power chords and punk spirit. Wielding such musical influence is remarkable, and their latest album This is Only a Test is perfect proof that their sparkling lyricism and ineffable charm is still intact. This is Only a Test is the Smoking Pope’s first ever concept album, exploring the life of a fictional high schooler. The album hits the street on March 15th, sparking a spring tour to celebrate, beginning at SXSW in Austin.

This is Only a Test's songs explore themes of identity, musical aspirations, love and teen suicide." Singer/Guitarist Songwriter Josh Caterer explains, “When I first got the idea to write from a teenage perspective, the individual songs came really quickly. I wrote a song a day for five days. That’s half the album in less than a week. I never write that fast! Each song stands alone as a snapshot from this kid's life. The story doesn't unfold like a narrative. It's more like a collage." Recorded at Chicago’s Atlas Sound in 2010, the album was produced by Mat Allison (Alkaline Trio, Lawrence Arms, and The Menzingers).

Some may assume that This is Only a Test is autobiographical but Caterer lays that notion to rest, saying, “The main character on this album is definitely a creation. He’s not me. Well…he’s similar to me, but he’s not limited by the realities of my own experience. I created a character that basically has the same view of the world that I had when I was in high school, but he’s his own person and he does some things that I never did.”

Smoking Popes first burst onto the scene in 1991 and released several albums on various local labels. They signed to Capitol Records in 1995 and re-released Born to Quit¸ one of Smoking Popes landmark albums, to an even larger fan base gained by touring with bands like Jawbreaker and Jimmy Eat World. Praise from SPIN, Alternative Press, Rolling Stone and Billboard arrived with the re-release and later that year, “Need You Around” was also featured in the hit movie Clueless. Musical icon Morrissey raved: “Did you ever hear Born to Quit? It’s by the Smoking Popes. I thought that album was extraordinary, the most lovable thing I’d heard in years”.

In 1997, the Smoking Popes released Destination Failure. The album challenged the idea of what a pop punk band could do, with lyrics that told tales of love and longing with heartbreaking details. To the shock of many, Smoking Popes decided to throw in the towel in 1998. In 2005, rumors started flying that the band would perform again. The band was re-energized and reformed for good, releasing Stay Down in 2008 and in 2010, Its Been a Long Day, a compilation of songs released on rare vinyl singles.
Roll The Tanks
Roll The Tanks
Roll The Tanks are, as the name implies, a thunderous rock band from Los Angeles, California. Beyond that though, descriptive words have a hard time doing this quartet justice. People throw around “genre-defying” way too much when describing bands, but music nerds are beside themselves trying to quantify the tunes coming from these four gents. Are they an indie band? Are they from the punk scene? It kinda sounds like epic arena rock…? Therein lies the genius of Roll The Tanks: they’re a dynamic band that keeps the listener interested, and that is more evident than ever on their latest material, including the recently released self-titled EP. There’s a reason why credible bands like Against Me! are known for giving props to the Tanks, and they’ve already been established as a “critic’s band” among those in the know, but it’s high time the rest of the world get on board. Which is exactly what they aim to do with these four new songs. But before we get into that, let’s delve a bit into their history…

The band originally hailed from the Boston borough of Lowell, Massachusetts. That might explain why the guy who plays drums for Boston legends like Mighty MightyBosstones and Frank Black (see, we warned you about diverse influences) is also behind the tubs for Roll The Tanks. Actually when the band’s principles, Danny Carney and Mike Wakeham, started kicking around with the band at age 12 in a garage in Lowell, they had no drummer, so MMB’s Joe Sirois is a major step up! Still, the guys weren’t quite finished tweaking with their sound and recruited guitarist Aaron Stuart, from Piebald to complete the quartet. Well, the band was forged with The Clash and The Pixies in mind, and like many young bands that know when they’ve tapped into something good, they got restless. Life took them to California, and there it would seem they would find their springboard, and Suffer City was the first proper release to come from Roll The Tanks in 2008. Go look at the reviews, people dug it, but were also completely confounded by their fresh brand of gutsy rock. Again, in a vain effort to pigeon-hole what these guys are doing, reviewers described it as “Brit pop”, cited Elvis Costello or The Shins, while another song is described as a “manic, bluesy screamer”. Point is, this music is brave and caught a lot of folks off guard. Not easy to do in this day and age.

With that buzz and momentum the Tanks rolled forth and toured the land, and while on the road with Against Me! they were spotted by another label. It was Florida’s Sabot Records (they boast releases from The Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, The Hold Steady, etc.) who handled last year’s, Goodnight Jimmy Lee. That, friends, was a shit-hot single that Rolling Stone debuted to the masses in 2011. The song paid tribute to the late great hero of the garage rock underground, Jay Reatard, and all the hubbub surrounding the single landed them on Last Call with Carson Daly. Not a bad outing for a single from an underground band on an underground label. The next step was clear: more rock shows and an obvious need to make some even more compelling music. And that’s what is in store with this new self-titled EP.

In the past, you could plainly describe Roll The Tanks as The Kinks meets a tasteful, modern-day punk outfit, yadayada. But once again, these guys keep us guessing on this new release because you’ll hear touches of glam, anthemic rock, and 80′s/90′s alt-rock influences like The Replacements and Cheap Trick. And this time around it’s Look Sharp Records that has got their paws on these upstarts and they intend to “go for it” as we say in the biz. Lord knows, the band has provided them with ample ammunition with these four new jams. Imagine a more rockin’, less fruity Hot Hot Heat. The kids may not quite understand it yet, but they’re gonnafuckin’ love it.

You may not be able to predict what these guys are going to do musically, but one thing you can count on is that their work ethic and hunger for the road; especially in the wake of this new material. Maybe it’s fitting that their touring history is just as eclectic as their sound. Somehow they ended up on the road with venerable streetpunk bands like Swingin’ Utters, or you may have seen them on tour with psychobilly heavyweights, the Koffin Kats. It certainly takes all kinds, and up next will be dates with Boston rockers, Street Dogs. Like we said, Roll The Tanksare an ambitious band, so expect to hear a lot from this hungry foursome in 2012 and beyond.
Venue Information:
Double Door
1572 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL, 60622