Ten Questions with Scott McCaughey…

The singer/songwriter of bands such as Minus 5 and Young Fresh Fellows will be joined by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck.


Scott McCaughey plays an Undertow living room show July 11 in Omaha.

There’s little doubt that Scott McCaughey would have sold out his July 11 living room show even if his ol’ pal Peter Buck of R.E.M. wasn’t joining him on the tour. McCaughey has played with some of indie music’s greatest acts, including Minus 5 and Young Fresh Fellows, as well as a variety of Peter Buck side projects including The Baseball Project, Filthy Friends and Tired Pony.

Like all Undertow Living Room Shows, this one takes place at someone’s home, whose address is only made known after a ticket has been purchased at the Undertow website. The only clue to the location is the zip code: 68132. So somewhere in Omaha July 11 a group of around 40 people will be listening to songs performed by a couple rock legends.

We caught up with McCaughey and gave him the 10 Questions treatment:

1. What is your favorite album?

Scott McCaughey: THE BEATLES. a/k/a “The White Album”.  I declared it the The Greatest Album In The World back when I was a teenager, and I’m sticking with it.  Strangely, it might not even be the best Beatles album.  But there’s so much of it!  Others: Neil Young – Tonight’s The Night; Big Star – 3rd; The Sonics – Here Are The Sonics, etc.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“I’ve Never Been To Me” – Charlene.  It haunts me to this day.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Hanging out with my friends.  Discovering new ways to make each song brilliant on a night to night basis.  Making rules for van behavior, then breaking them.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

It’s like being married, but without the sex.  In most cases.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

A frothy smooth pint of Guinness, maybe at The Long Hall or Mulligan’s in Dublin.  I haven’t had one in years though!

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Chicago rules.  Madrid, Spain, is however THE BEST.  The Laurelthirst Public House in Portland, Oregon, has magic.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Oh, my.  Seattle (another one of my top cities to play).  It was at the end of three months of a grueling U.S. Young Fresh Fellows tour and we were in tatters and I took cold medicine and copious alcohols and took it out on my bandmates and audience — in hindsight, anyway.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yes, somehow.  I quit “regular” work (record store, natch) in 1987 and have been muddling about since then.  There have been some quite lucrative years and many leaner ones.  The secret is don’t expect too much, and be thankful for what you get!

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Is musician a profession?  I guess so!  Hard to imagine doing anything else at this point.  It’s my life.  But I’m not going to denigrate anybody else’s job – that’s a luxury to think that way.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I haven’t spent any time there, which is weird.  I mean, I KNOW Conor Oberst! (He’s amazing.) I once met a son of Robert Altman and he sent me a VHS of his documentary called Omaha — that was beautiful and funny and interesting.  But I kind of forgot most of it now.  No working VHS player.

Scott McCaughey plays a sold out living room show July 11. For more information, go to http://undertowshows.com.


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