The Band
History | Band Member History | Band Member Profiles | Awards/Recognition | Talk Show Appearances


Justin Pierre, 2001
Justin Pierre, 2001

Photo: Bobbi Volk
Motion City Soundtrack originally formed in fall of 1997 with Joshua Cain and Justin Pierre. They played in bands (The Saddest Girl Story and Slide Coaster) that eventually broke up and Josh then recruited Justin. Justin was into making movies at the time but Josh convinced him that his musical talent was worth pursuing. The band got its name from Josh's brother Brian, who had originally intended to use it for a shop (his brother also named their first major record, I Am The Movie). Motion City Soundtrack's very first lineup included Josh on bass, Joe Skinner on guitar, and Justin singing and playing guitar. They then enlisted Andy Whitney on drums. After a short time Joe left to pursue other interests. Josh then switched to his current instrument, guitar, and asked his former bandmate from Superette, Austin Lindstrom, to take the bass position. At this point the band began writing their own songs.

Andy left the band in early 1998 and the band then asked Joel Habedank, who played in Sadie Foster and the Fuck Yeahs, if he would like to drum for them. With Joel aboard, the band dropped most of the material they had done with Andy and their sound changed. They then began recording the material that would become the Promenade/Carolina 7" and the Kids For America and Back to the Beat EPs. Justin and Josh wanted a moog player, and for a time Andy Gruhn played moog for the band, but eventually they decided they were better off as a foursome with Justin and Josh alternating on the moog.
The band then set out on a tour and Matt Potocnik, of Sadie Foster and Krudler, then joined to play bass. Austin had left the band because his schedule was not as flexible, but eventually he rejoined when the band decided that Matt was not a good fit. Joel also departed, and the band played with a few different drummers until Sidney Burgdorf joined. The band continued touring and recording demos.

Submerge, 2000
Matt and Tony with Submerge, 2000
In early 2002 MCS lost both Sidney and Austin. They needed a drummer they asked Tony Thaxton (of Submerge) to join and eventually he accepted the offer. MCS had met Thaxton because they played a show with Submerge at the My House Cafe in Milton, PA and the bands became friends. Months later Matt Taylor, also from Submerge, joined as bassist. Jesse Johnson, who was a co-worker of Josh's at Pizza Luce in Minneapolis, joined the band around this time and learned how to play the moog for the band (despite having no previous experience—Jesse actually played bass for 11 years). With their new found stability the band toured constantly, and eventually labels began to take notice. Brett Gurewitz in particular had a strong interest in the band and signed them to Epitaph records in 2003. Motion City Soundtrack then had their major label debut with I Am The Movie in June 2003.

Motion City Soundtrack current lineup
The main MCS lineup from 2002–2013:
Justin, Jesse, Tony, Matt, and Josh

Photo: Dan Monick
Band Member History
Current Members
Joshua Cain - guitar (fall 1997–2016, 2019–present)
Jesse Johnson - moog (early 2002–2016, 2019–present)
Justin Pierre - vocals/guitar (fall 1997–2016, 2019–present)
Matthew Taylor - bass (spring 2002–2016, 2019–present)
Tony Thaxton - drums (early 2002–March 2013, 2016, 2019–present)

Past Members
Sidney Burgdorf - drums (June 2001–winter 2001)
Andy Gruhn - moog (early 1998)
Joel Habedank - drums (early 1998–winter 2000)
Austin Lindstrom - bass (early 1998–fall 2000, spring 2001–spring 2002)
Matt Potocnik - bass (winter 2000–spring 2001)
Claudio Rivera - drums (June 2013–2016)
Joe Skinner - guitar (fall 1997)
Andy Whitney - drums (fall 1997–early 1998)

Motion City Soundtrack at the 2005 mtvU Woodie Awards
Motion City Soundtrack at the
2005 mtvU Woodie Awards

Photo: Scott Gries

Talk Show Appearances

Band Member Profiles

Josh Cain Joshua Allen Cain
Guitars, Backing Vocals

BORN:  July 31, 1976
FROM:  Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
HIGH SCHOOL:   Central Sr. High School
INFLUENCES/FAVORITE ARTISTS:  Fugazi, Superchunk, Jawbox, Dinosaur Jr.
FORMER BANDS/SIDE PROJECTS:  Superette, Spread, Boxcar, Saddest Girl Story
EQUIPMENT:   Gibson 1965 SG Juniors, Vox Custom Classi Amps, Vex effects pedals, Morley delay pedal, Small Stone phaser, Sennheiser Wireless, Dunlop picks
OTHER:  Did a lot of the organizational duties and booked a lot of shows for the band early on.
Jesse Johnson Jesse Mack Johnson
Moog, Keyboard

BORN:  June 3, 1977
FROM:  Los Angeles, CA/St. Louis, MO/Minneapolis, MN
EDUCATION:   James Monroe High School
INFLUENCES/FAVORITE ARTISTS:  Elvis Costello, Radiohead, Ben Folds Five
FORMER BANDS/SIDE PROJECTS:  Johnny Angel, Champagne Kiss, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Plain, Convulsion Betty, Makeshift (bass)
EQUIPMENT:  Realistic Concertmate MG-1, Alesis Micron as a mini-controller for an Alesis NanoPiano, Ampeg SVT 300-watt amp, Ampeg 8x10 cabinet, Boss TU-2 tuner, Small Stone Helectro-Harmonix pedal, Fulltone Fat Boost pedal, Monster cables
OTHER:  Loves to play poker, collects vinyl records. Known for doing handstands on his moog ("moogstands") at live shows.
Justin Pierre Justin Courtney Pierre
Vocals, Guitars

BORN:  May 26, 1976
FROM:  Minneapolis, MN
EDUCATION:  Mahtomedi High School
INFLUENCES/FAVORITE ARTISTS:  Superchunk, Jawbox, Fugazi, Ben Folds Five
FORMER BANDS/SIDE PROJECTS:  Slide Coaster (vocals, guitar), Farewell Continental (vocals, guitar), The Company We Keep (guitar, lyrics & melody), Justin Courtney Pierre (solo)
EQUIPMENT:  Fender Deluxe and Custon Telecasters, Sennheiser Wireless, Sennheiser Microphone, Vox Custom Classic Amps
OTHER:  Is really into making movies (if he weren't in a band he would love to be a director) and directed a short film titled Karen, directed the music video for "Big Drag" by Limbeck, also likes reading and Diet Coke.
Matthew Taylor Matthew Scott Taylor
Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Piano, Percussion

BORN:  November 26, 1978
FROM:  Richmond, VA
EDUCATION:  Atlee High School
INFLUENCES/FAVORITE ARTISTS:  Radiohead, the Figuros, the Beatles, Jawbox, Superchunk, The Pixies
FORMER BANDS/SIDE PROJECTS:  Submerge, These Enzymes (bass)
EQUIPMENT:  Two Fender Geddy Lee Jazz basses, one Fender 1974 Jaguar P bass, Ampeg SVT 300-watt amp, Ampeg 8x10 cabinet, Boss TU-2 tuner, Dunlop Tortex oversized picks
OTHER:  Loves coffee (Starbucks), metal music, and Robot Love.
Tony Thaxton Tony Richard Thaxton
Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

BORN:  September 6, 1978 (34 years old)
FROM:  Richmond, VA
EDUCATION:  Atlee High School
INFLUENCES/FAVORITE ARTISTS:  Ben Folds Five, The Beatles, Dave Grohl
FORMER BANDS/SIDE PROJECTS:  My Parents' Birthday (guitar), Gregor Samsa (drums), Submerge (drums), Pride of Erie PA (drums, percussion), Tiny Stills (drums)
EQUIPMENT:  DW Pacific Drum kit: 22-inch kick drum, 10-inch rack tom, 15-inch floor tom, DW 9000 kick drum pedal; Sabian cymbals, Pro-Mark 5B oak drum sticks.
OTHER:   Loves Star Wars, The Muppets, alligators, and Mexican food.

Sources: Most of the information on this page came from various interviews with the band that I have read on the internet and their journal entries on their website. Some of the band history and band member history information comes from a very old history/bio section from MCS's website and from Modern Radio. Much of the equipment information comes from an interview in the UK magazine Rock Sound Magazine.