It was approximately 10:45 on a gray Saturday morning in January 2011 when Jim Cherewick, Eric Gallippo, Ed Golembiewski and Aaron Quillen met at Ypsilanti’s Hen House and wrote six songs. This was
the day that Congress was officially born.
“I was not entirely stoked on the idea of what I thought was going to be a random day of jamming and nothing else,” said Quillen.
“However, something magical happened, and we churned out six full, completely arranged songs in three hours or less. By the end of that jam session, all four of us were extremely excited about the music we created and agreed on our status as a real band.”
Congress is a local band based out of Ypsilanti. It features Cherewick on vocals, Gallippo on guitar and backup vocals, Golembiewski on bass, and Quillen on drums.
“We played our first show in June 2011,” said Gallippo. “We all knew each other and had all played with at least one of the other guys in some other project before, which I think made it come together really easily.”
R.E.M. and The Jesus Lizard are huge influences on the band, and they consider them when they think of a music genre to describe Congress.
“We liked to call it domesticated punk rock at first, but I think we could probably now safely call it punk domesticated,” said Golembiewski.
Cherewick described the band as, “Rock ‘n’ roll and punk. ‘Punk ‘n’ roll.’”
In the area, Congress has taken the stage at Woodruff’s, Café Ollie and the Blind Pig. They’ve also performed at Ypsilanti’s Ypsifest, Mittenfest and in Hamtramck, Mich. for the Metrotimes Blowout.
“Last year we made it out to Grand Rapids [Mich.] to play a festival and we were fortunate enough to share a stage with Trans Am, Jaill and Future Islands,” said Golembiewski. “Blown away by this fact, as it was our third show, we were amused when everybody vanished to see George Clinton when our set time started.”
They’re planning to play in Chicago sometime within the next year.
Last fall, Congress wrapped up the recording of their EP “Maker” at Dreamland Theater with Brad Perkins of Wormfarm Recordings, it was released this past September. They’re currently in the process of recording a split with another local band, Green Lights at SPUR Studios.
“My hope is that we record a full-length record before the end of 2013 as well, though interest has been expressed internally about just being a singles and EPs band. We’ll see,” said Quillen.
Before their EP was recorded, though, Congress did release 25 copies of a cassette tape that they recorded. It was very exclusive, for people driving cars that still have cassette players in them. They didn’t even get to give their moms copies.
It hasn’t all been music, fun and festivals for Congress, though. Beer has been a big part of their development.
“I’m glad that we chose the name Congress and not Beer Dads. I love beer, but I ain’t your dad,” said Cherewick.
“It bears note that we really truly miss Kid Rock’s Bad Ass beer. We almost had to break up the band when that stopped being available,” said Golembiewski. “Serious. But I think we all feel really fortunate to be playing exactly what we want to in a band of good friends. This band is a true partnership of four people with unique contributions and perspective. Hopefully we keep it up cuz being in your 30s is boring without loud stuff going on in your basement.”
You can check Congress out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/congressband, and listen to their EP at congressmusic.bandcamp.com.