I Need You Around

Catching up with the World Sax Quartet, atoning for V-Day sins with Stars and heralding the triumphant return of the Smoking Popes

8:30 and 10:15 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, February 15 through 18. Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Avenue. $25 Wednesday and Thursday, $30 Friday and Saturday. Call 314-531-1012.

Imitation of Christ

Thank God that the Smoking Popes have reunited! Literally — send a Hallmark to Hey-zeus. The band that inspired everyone from Morrissey to Alkaline Trio split in 1998 when frontman Josh Caterer found God. But now that he's comfy in his communion, he feels free to defray his disciples. B-Sides gets the good word.

Stars: They are trying to un-break your heart.
Stars: They are trying to un-break your heart.
Smoking Popes: Like George Michael, they gotta have faith.
Smoking Popes: Like George Michael, they gotta have faith.

B-Sides: Mind telling me how you found God?

Josh Caterer: I was looking at my situation and thinking how the things that had been important to me were meaningless. I was going to die, and it was all going to go away. I didn't believe that there was anything after death, I just thought we ceased to exist — which is pretty depressing. I wanted to find evidence that there is something after death. The real moment it all turned around was when I read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Why did you disband?

I needed to separate myself from the rock scene. One of the things I felt passionately about was expressing my faith through music. If I thought Smoking Popes would work as an evangelism platform, I would have stayed in the band. But it was like oil and water. I wanted to give my time to a musical expression that was specifically Christian. So I quit the band and got Duvall together as a Christian version of the Smoking Popes.

So Popes songs never had religious undertones?

Singing about being in love with someone is easy to interpret in a spiritual way, but no, they were general. Except for "I Know You Love Me" — I realized that if nobody knew I was a Christian, it would be taken as a romantic love song. I was hoping it would become a single, and then I would go public with my faith. Then people would realize what the song was about, and then my label would get mad. And then I would laugh at them.

What now allows your faith and the Popes to coexist?

My understanding of how to live as a Christian has matured. At the beginning, I had to extract myself from the rock scene, but eventually I realized that my faith didn't depend on my perpetual renunciation of rock. I now know what I believe and why I believe it, and that isn't going to be shaken. I just want to live in a way that is honoring to God. I can do that now and still be in a rock band. — Kristyn Pomranz

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 22. Creepy Crawl, 412 North Tucker Boulevard. $12 21+, $14 under. Call 314-621-9333.

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