In 1993, Scott McCaughey had already been in the Seattle band The Young Fresh Fellows for several years, when he decided to begin a side project. This was The Minus 5, formed originally with Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies. In the ensuing years, many players have gone through the ranks of the group, and McCaughey himself became known as the "fifth member" of R.E.M.. touring and recording with that band for many years. Now comes a new Minus 5 record titled Dear December, with McCaughey writing an entire album of new material that manages to avoid much of the subject matter we associate with holiday songs.