The Minus 5
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|The Minus 5|
The Minus 5 (left to right: Ramberg, Buck, Rieflin, McCaughey) perform at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Georgia on April 1, 2006
|Also known as||The Bison-Flavored Minus 5, The Minus Tad|
|Associated acts||Mark Eitzel, Robyn Hitchcock, R.E.M., Tuatara, Wilco, Young Fresh Fellows, The Decemberists, The Baseball Project, Tired Pony|
|Members||See List of Minus 5 members|
Formed in 1993, McCaughey designed the Minus 5 as a pop collective, with each record the group put out featuring a new lineup. Throughout these releases, he worked the most frequently with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, who was featured on the group's eponymous debut EP, which was only released through Hello CD of the Month Club, run by John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants, in 1994.
Their full-length debut album Old Liquidator was released in 1995, and the Minus 5's lineup consisted of McCaughey, Buck, and Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies. After releasing Old Liquidator on East Side Digital, the group reconvened in late 1996 to record their Hollywood Records debut, The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy, released the following spring. Also in 1996, McCaughey's 1989 solo album My Chartreuse Opinion was reissued by Hollywood as a Minus 5 album.
In 1999, the group accepted an invitation to participate in a tribute album to Moby Grape co-founder Skip Spence, who was terminally ill with cancer, for the purpose of raising funds to assist with medical expenses.
In 2001, the Minus Five and the Young Fresh Fellows, another McCaughey project, released a split double album, Let the War Against Music Begin/Because We Hate You; the "Let the War Against Music Begin" half was the Minus 5 submission.
After a change of guard at Hollywood Records, the Minus 5 found themselves releasing music via independent channels, with the Return to Sender label releasing a collection of outtakes from Let the War Against Music Begin called I Don't Know Who I Am before McCaughey signed the band to the Yep Roc label for his collaboration with Wilco, Down With Wilco. Yep Roc later issued an EP dominated by Down With Wilco outtakes, At the Organ, and reissued In Rock, a collection of tunes McCaughey recorded in a single day in 2000.
In 2002, the band contributed a track, "Girl I Never Met" to Rami Jaffee, Pete Yorn, and Marc Dauer's Trampoline Records release: Trampoline Records Volume I.
The band's seventh album, self-titled (but known as The Gun Album), was released early 2006, and features, along the regular line-up, guest appearances by Wilco, Kelly Hogan and The Decemberists' singer/songwriter Colin Meloy, among others.
Buck and McCaughey went on to play in The Baseball Project together in 2008.
In 2012 recorded a version of the 1976 hit single by the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver "Arms of Mary" for a fund raising CD titled "Super Hits Of The Seventies" for radio station WFMU. The band played at SXSW in 2013.
In January 2017 The Minus 5 joined Alejandro Escovedo for a short tour. For each concert Scott McCaughey, Kurt Bloch, Peter Buck, and John Moen played one set as the Minus Five, and then a second set backing Escovedo, sometimes with Kelly Hogan, too. All of them had also performed on Escovedo's 2016 album Burn Something Beautiful, for which Escovedo, McCaughey, and Buck co-wrote the songs.
Singles & EPs
- The Minus Five - A Hello selection Dec.'93 - Jan.'94. (CD - Hello CD of the Month Club - 1993)
- The Emperor of the Bathroom (CD - East Side Digital - 1995)
- At the Organ (Yep Roc - 2004)
- Sad Hasselhoff (Vinyl limited 1000 copies - Yep Roc - 2008)
- Old Liquidator (East Side Digital - 1995)
- The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy (Hollywood Records - 1997)
- In Rock (Book Records - 2000
- Let the War Against Music Begin (Mammoth Records - 2001 - with Young Fresh Fellows)
- Down with Wilco (Yep Roc Records - 2003)
- I Don't Know Who I Am (Let the War Against Music Begin, Vol. 2) (Return to Sender - 2003)
- The Minus 5 (Yep Roc Records - 2006)
- Killingsworth (Yep Roc Records - 2009)
- Scott the Hoople in the Dungeon of Horror (Vinyl limited 750 copies - Yep Roc Records - 2014)
- Dungeon Golds (Yep Roc Records - 2015)
- Of Monkees and Men (Yep Roc Records - 2016)
- Butcher Covered (CD) (Limited Edition covers compilation - only available at shows) - Book Records - 2009
- More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album -Birdman Records - 1999 
- See More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album.
- Escovedo, Alejandro (2016), Burn Something Beautiful, Fantasy Records and Concord Music Group
- Kot, Greg (November 16, 2016). "Alejandro Escovedo: Rock bottom, then rebirth". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- Gendron, Bob (January 27, 2017). "Alejandro Escovedo brings energy, rawness to City Winery set". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- "The Minus 5 To Release 'Of Monkees And Men' August 19 On Yep Roc Records - Yep Roc Records". Yep Roc Records. 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
- Being a compilation of cover versions of the songs from the solo album by Moby Grape co-founder Skip Spence, Oar, originally released by Columbia Records in 1969. Minus 5 performs their thirteen-minute version of Spence's "Doodle".