The Minus 5 began in 1993 as an offshoot of Scott McCaughey's band the Young Fresh Fellows. The constantly changing linup has included Peter Buck of REM (who joins in for this session), Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.
Their last album, Down With Wilco, was a collaboration between the Minus 5 and all four members of Wilco. They're back with a new self-titled album, featuring Buck, Jeff Tweedy, Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, Sean Nelson, John Wesley Harding, Kelly Hogan and Morgan Fisher lending their talents.
The new CD has come to be called "The Gun Album" because of its cover image. McCaughey deems the image both a statement and a joke, of sorts: "We have way, way too many [guns]," he explains. "I'd like there to be none, personally... But even if there were none, it would still be kind of humorous to put a gun on your album cover... I thought it fit the mood of the record, which is somewhat of a downer."
The music on The Minus 5, however, is deceptively upbeat given the glum tone of the lyrics. "I'm just writing songs in the kind of format that I know," McCaughey says, "which is rock 'n' roll and pop songs and country songs."