Smoking Popes Spring U.S. Tour

Smoking Popes will hit the road next month with a set list featuring new tunes from the pop punk band’s sixth studio album.

This Is Only a Test is set for release on March 15. The release marks the band’s first concept album, which is based on the life of a fictional high school kid.

“When I first got the idea to write from a teenage perspective, the individual songs came really quickly,” frontman Josh Caterer said. “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.“

Caterer clarified that the album is not autobiographical.

“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 does some things that I never did.”

Photo: Andrea Goforth /
Reggie’s Rock Club, Chicago, Ill.

Smoking Pope’s first shows of 2011 begin Feb. 19 at The Montrose Room @InterContinental Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill. Dates are booked through an April 3 gig at Double Door in Chicago.

The trek also features performances at The Casbah in San Diego March 20; Great American Music Hall in San Francisco March 25; Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland, Ore., March 28; Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City March 31; and The Riot Room in Kansas City, Mo.

The Chicago-based group was formed in 1991. After Caterer converted to Christianity in spring 1998, the group broke up shortly thereafter in January 1999. The Smoking Popes reunited in fall 2005 and hasn’t looked back since. The current lineup features brothers Josh, Eli and Matt Caterer as well as drummer Neil Hennessy.

Click here for the Smoking Popes’ official website.