Smoking Popes is an American rock group from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, formed in 1991. They play punk-influenced pop music with crooning vocals. The core of the group is composed of brothers Matt Caterer (b. 1968), Josh Caterer (b. 1972) and Eli Caterer (b. 1975).
The Caterer brothers were raised on rock 'n' roll and crooners like Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra. In 1980 Matt got a guitar, Josh a bass guitar and Eli a drum set and they began to play together. Soon after, their eyes were opened to the world of the Ramones and punk rock. Other early musical influences included Mel TormÃ©, Tom Waits, The Replacements, The Smiths, early AC/DC, The Cars, and Dinosaur Jr.
In 1990 Matt and Josh, calling themselves Speedstick, got a gig at a party and played approximately 10 original punk-style compositions. About this time, Matt switched to bass and Dave Martens joined as drummer. Josh became an Elvis Costello fan and his style, accordingly, became more pop influenced. Speedstick recorded 10 songs in their first studio session, including "Brand New Hairstyle," which would become a staple of the Smoking Popes repertoire.