Josh Caterer

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Josh Caterer (born April 12, 1972) is an American, Chicago-area musician, best known as the lead singer, lead guitarist, and principal songwriter of pop-punk band Smoking Popes, which he founded in 1991 with his brothers, Eli Caterer (born 1975) and Matt Caterer (born 1968). Caterer has also written and recorded Christian and gospel music as a solo artist and with the Christian pop-punk band Duvall. In 2015, he founded the blues band Jackson Mud Band, which has released one full-length album called "Stranger Blues".

Early life[edit]

Caterer's father, Cran Caterer, was a successful salesman for the Dow Corning company. His mother, Cindy Caterer, worked for many years as a teachers assistant in a special education class. The family lived in Carpentersville IL, where Josh attended Kings Road Elementary School and Carpentersville Middle School. Later, they moved to Lake In The Hills IL, where Josh attended nearby H.D. Jacobs High School, from which he graduated in 1990.

After graduation, he held several menial jobs such as gas station cashier and machine operator at a plastics company.[1]


Smoking Popes formed in 1991 and began playing small local venues around the Chicago suburbs. Their first album "Get Fired" was released in 1993 by Chicago indie label Johann's Face Records. An opening spot for Green Day drew the attention of major labels, and in 1995 they signed to Capitol Records, which released their second album "Born To Quit". The single from that album, "Need You Around", was included on the soundtrack to the hit movie "Clueless" and the band's career took off. They started touring North America and Europe as a headlining act, also opening for such artists as Cheap Trick, Goo Goo Dolls, Violent Femmes, Foo Fighters and Tripping Daisy. During the making of their third album "Destination Failure", Caterer began struggling with substance abuse and went through a period of personal upheaval and spiritual searching. His songwriting, which until then had focused mostly on the ups and downs of romantic love, began to take on a deeper and more profound quality, which is reflected in the lyrics on that album. "Destination Failure" was released in 1997 to critical acclaim, but achieved only moderate commercial success.

Eventually, after a collapse due to a cocaine overdose at an all-night party[2] his spiritual search intensified, and reading C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity helped lead him to embrace Christianity in 1998. Shortly after his conversion, the Smoking Popes broke up, and Caterer became heavily involved in his church, also working at World Relief, a charitable, non-profit organization. He released a five-song EP of acoustic gospel music called Why Me.[3] In 2001 he returned to the rock scene, founding the Christian rock band Duvall, which included other former members of the Smoking Popes.[4]

In November 2005, the Smoking Popes reunited for a sell-out show at the Chicago club The Metro.[5] They embarked on a U.S. tour in early 2006 with the band Bayside and released a new album called "Stay Down" in July 2008.[6]

Since then, Smoking Popes have released two more full-length albums, "This Is Only A Test" in 2011 and "Into The Agony" in 2018. In October 2020, Caterer played a virtual concert at the Hideout in Chicago which will be released as a solo album called "The Hideout Sessions" due out in March 2021.

Church musician[edit]

Caterer served as director of worship for the Village Church of Barrington, Illinois, and Pastor of Worship and Music Ministries for Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois. Since July 2019, he's been serving alongside Cisco Cotto and Tim Badal as Pastor of Worship Environments at Village Bible Church in Sugar Grove Illinois. [7][8]

Equipment list[edit]

Early Years 1991-1998: Monaco Yellow American Made Telecaster – Marshall ½ stack Black Fender Acoustic Electric

After Break 2005–2011: Inca Silver “Double Fat Strat” American Made Stratocaster – Marshal ½ stack and volume pedal Jet Black “Double Fat Strat” American Made Stratocaster Wine Red Gibson SG

Present: Sunburst Fender Coronado - Fender Hot Rod Deville 2x12 combo amp


"Lift Up The Name" (c) 2008[9] has become a contemporary American church favorite with an upbeat pop-rock worship style.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Josh and his wife, Stefanie, have two children, Elliot and Phoebe. They live in the Chicago area.


  1. ^ critic, Greg Kot and David Rothschild David Rothschild writes the weekly Homefront column on local music in the Friday section Greg Kot is the Tribune's rock. "THE NEW FACE OF PUNK". Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  2. ^ Wright, Derek (Winter 2008). "Smoking Popes: Staying Down". Soundcheck Magazine. Archived from the original on April 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  3. ^ Guarino, Mark (2000). "He'd rather have Jesus - Josh Caterer of the Smoking Popes used to attract throngs of fans. Then he turned from rock to religion". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  4. ^ Conner, Thomas (6 November 2005). "Duvall to remain a faith-fueled band". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on 2009-10-17. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  5. ^ Conner, Thomas (6 November 2005). "The Party's not quite over for the Smoking Popes - Josh Caterer regroups, gets band back together". Chicago Sun-Times.
  6. ^ Conner, Thomas (3 July 2008). "Smoking Popes back with new album, 'Stay Down'". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "From punk rock to worship leader". Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  9. ^ Chapel 1, Harvest Bible (22 February 2011). "Lift Up the Name". Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Harvest Bible Chapel". Retrieved 18 September 2020.

External links[edit]