The Congress, on Tour, Sucking and Bubba moments….

Every now and then I get to do something a little out of the ordinary. Interviewing an uber cool rock band is just one of those occasions, especially when two of the members are golf fanatics like me.

However I have to admit to feeling somewhat apprehensive and slightly anxious at the prospect of meeting the self styled Kings of Americana, – The Congress who are currently on a nationwide tour of the US and who are shortly preparing for their last leg and International baptism of fire in Spain no less (gig dates at the bottom).

Rock bands are, (so I am reliably informed by my friend Jem who is in the know), all unpredictable and quirky. Which begs the question am I going to get hurt doing this interview? Or at the very least, am I going to witness a Keith Moon response to one of my questions and have my notepad ripped into a million pieces followed by a ceremonial smashing up of the hotel lobby?

No such luck these guys are way too cool for that!

Jonathan Meadows (golfer), Chris Speasmaker (golfer), Scott Lane, and Raphael Katchinoff, make up the four piece band and who have just released a new album, The Game, which you can get here .

Here’s how my interview went with the guys.

B. I have to confess in not having heard of the band before your team approached me (I live a sheltered life), so listening to you guys on Spotify, I was really blown away. You guys actually rock. I am loving The Poison and the Antidote….cool. Maybe we can start with somebody explaining how you all found each other?

TC. “Thanks! Poison and the Antidote is one of my favorites on the record. Jon wrote that one when he was 18 (16 years ago). While we were all raised and currently reside in Virginia, the band really got going in Denver. Jon, Scott (guitar), and Raph (drums) ran an open mic night in Richmond nearly a decade ago. Scott and Jon got wind of Denver’s thriving music scene so they made the move. I met them while they were hosting an open jam out there and I joined the band a couple years later. Raph joined us under a year ago after we made the move back east”.

B. How do you guys mix so many music styles together and get it to work?

TC. “We listen to and love so many different genres so it comes pretty naturally for us. You can get a really good idea of what bands we’re listening to at the time by hearing us play”.

B. Where in the world are you right now?

TC. “RVA”! (Richmond, VA)

B. What’s the hardest thing about being on the road?

TC. Slow drivers in the left lane. Less literally, being away from family and pets.

B. Where would you never return to, given the choice?

TC. “Man… never been asked that one. I played a course outside Ruckersville, VA in the spring. I am certainly no golf course snob but this one took “Redneck Golf” to a whole new level. For $50 on a weekday in Podunk, VA, you’d think it would be in decent shape. Oh no. It looked like their grounds crew hadn’t showed up to work in a few weeks. Let’s just say, you were better off using a wedge on the greens. It was a total dump. On top of it all, my buddy (after some beers) decided to give his constructive criticism to the “head pro” (if u can call him that) which ended him wanting to fight in the parking lot. Top notch customer service. I will not be returning to that course although I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t in business”.

B. OK you have to name and shame….

TC. “Not going there, literally”.

B. OK, So, Chris you are the keyboard player and Jonathan you are bass guitar, how did you get into golf and are you any good?

TC. “We both started playing with our Dads growing up. My Dad and I looked at golf more as a reason to hang out in high school and the quality of play was pretty pathetic. It wasn’t until I moved to Denver 7 years ago when I started playing once a week. One of the perks of being a musician is being able to get on the course during the week when its cheap and wide open. Are we good? Hmm. Given that this is being read by mainly avid golfers, I have to say no. Amongst my friends, I’d say I’m ok. I shoot mid 80s on a good day. Jon is shooting low/mid 90s”.

B. If you could organise the perfect fourball, who would be in it, and where would you be playing?

TC. “Great question. 1. Jordan Speith 2. Dustin Johnson. I would want two pros so I can get some pointers and watch them kill it. Jordan and DJ just seem like good dudes while also being at the top of their game. Watching DJ’s long ball and Jordan’s short game would be pretty spectacular in person. #3? Bill Murray – purely for entertainment purposes. Charles Barkley would be an alternate. Course… Pebble Beach. I would likely need 20 balls to get through the round but the views there are surreal”.

B. What’s your best score, and where did you record it?

TC. “79. Willis Case in Denver, CO. Full discloser – its a par 70”.

B. Ever signed for a five when it should have been a six?

TC. “Any amateur that says they haven’t done that is a liar”.

B. You guys are from Virginia, are there any decent tracks (and I mean golf courses not songs), in your home state?

TC. “Virginia has tons of beautiful courses. The nicest one I’ve played is Farmington CC in Charlottesville. It’s very well maintained with lots of elevation. I’ve heard that Colonial Heritage in Williamsburg takes the cake. I’d love to get out there sometime”.

B. Everyone has a memorable shot, what’s yours and where was it?

TC. “I had a Bubba moment when we were playing on tour in Jackson, MS. I had a terrible lie with a huge oak tree in my line 160 or so yards out. I was actually playing with Jon at the time and gave him the classic “watch this”. I pulled out the 4 iron, wrapped it around the tree and rolled it 15 ft from the pin. It felt good”.

B. Anyone had a hole in one?

TC. “No hole in one yet. Closest I came was during that same round with Jon and I was 6 inches short. One day though”.

B. Who do you admire most in the golfing world?

TC. “I read a lot about Arnold Palmer’s life following his passing. He was a true legend in the entire sports world. He has given so much to the game of golf aside from being one of the best”.

B. What’s your favourite golf book/magazine?

TC. “I saw a book titled ‘Shanks For Nothing’ in a friend’s bathroom. I found it pretty relatable. Jon and I do however live and die by GolfNow. It is the best place to find new courses for a discounted rate while we’re on the road. We have found some real gems through that site”. 

B. What makes you angry on the golf course?

TC. “Sucking”. Also…..groups in front of me that neglect their rate of play gets pretty frustrating as well. Jon and I pride ourselves in being fast golfers. 

B. You are not allowed to google this and you have to answer straight away, do you know what R&A stands for?

TC. “No. I just googled it though. I should probably check that out”.

B. Any golf inspired tunes in the making?

TC. “Haha. Golf is our way to relieve stress on tour (and at home) so in a way, golf inspires all of our songs”.

B. Top five courses you want to play?

TC.
5. Woods Hole CC – http://www.woodsholegolfclub.com/
4. Fossil Trace CC – http://www.fossiltrace.com/
3. Pinehurst CC – http://www.pinehurst.com/
2. Augusta CC – http://www.augcc.com/
1. Pebble Beach Resorts – https://www.pebblebeach.com/

B. Sadly not managed any of them myself yet, a great list. Given where you guys reside you should cross the state line and get out to Kiawah some day, now that is an awesome place!

B. I hear you guys are off to Spain on tour I hope you like Tapas and Sherry. Are you taking your clubs? 

TC. “Ha! I wish. We’ll probably be too busy to play on that tour but we’ll keep an eye out”.

B. If I could get you on free at the Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya (which is totally awesome by the way), can I get a tour tee shirt and a shout out at your next gig?

TC. “Absolutely. Free shirt, vinyl, CD, sticker…you name it. One day we’ll have Congress ball markers”.

B. Good luck on Tour guys and who knows I may see you in Spain!! Keep swinging!

For more information, click to http://www.thecongressmusic.org/.

UPCOMING TOUR DATES:

11.10 Barcelona, Spain @ Rock Sound
11.11 Zaragoza, Spain @ Las Armas
11.12 Mataro, Spain @ Clap
11.13 Tarazona De Aragon, Spain @ SalaSTAR
11.15 Madrid, Spain @ La Boite
11.16 Bejar, Spain @ La Alquitara
11.17 Santander, Spain @ Almacen Little Bobby
11.18 Santiago, Spain @ Capitol
11.19 Ermua, Spain @ Centro Cultural
11.20 Valladolid, Spain @ El Zagal

12.23 Richmond, VA @ The Camel

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