Scott McCaughey says of his band, the Minus 5, that they “never wanted to get too serious, just an anything-goes kind of deal.” That philosophy has led to a revolving door lineup that has included members of R.E.M., Wilco, the Posies, the Decemberists and more. The players have often been friends, so the sessions are social as much as musical. This tour is an extension of that philosophy as he’s joined onstage by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Steve Wynn and his drummer, Linda Pitmon. Together, they play songs from their pasts, includingThe Baseball Project and McCaughey’s recent Killingsworth. It’s a folkier affair than recent Minus 5 albums, with such evocative songs as “Big Beat Up Moon” and “Dark Hand of Contagion.” It’s not clear what they mean, and McCaughey’s fine with that.
“You can always fall back on Dylan,” he says. “I don’t know what he’s talking about in ‘Desolation Row,’ but I like the images that come up in my head when I hear it.” There’s a hint of Beatles in “Scott Walker’s Fault,” which he also cops to. “Everything I do is influenced by the Beatles, because that’s what made me like music.”
Has he played Beatles Rock Band?
“I don’t do that stuff,” he says, laughing. “I played Guitar Hero with [Wilco frontman] Jeff Tweedy’s kids one evening, and that was the only time I’ve ever done it. They stomped my ass. It didn’t seem that much like playing guitar to me.”
Steve Wynn, the Baseball Project and the Minus 5 play One Eyed Jacks on September 29.