They met like so many other bands do, singing about the 1938 Supreme Court case Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins. Andrew Jondahl ’15 (bass), Amir Badat ’15 (rhythm guitar), Michael Pernick ’15 (fiddle), and Alexander Cousins ’15 (vocals) first performed on Erie Day in University Professor Arthur Miller’s Civil Procedure class. Following a decades-long tradition, Miller’s students enact different parts of the famous trial each year with skits, musical numbers, and dance performances. This is the first time, however, that a band was born. (Raphael Holoszyc-Pimentel ’15 [drums] and James Aliaga ’15 [lead guitar] joined shortly after Erie Day.) “I told Professor Miller that he has inspired something far larger than he ever imagined,” says Holoszyc-Pimentel.
In a short time, the band known as Champagne Friday has become an endearing part of the Law School community. They performed at the 2014 Public Service Auction and for Student Bar Association Band Nights at the Red Lion and the Bitter End.
Keeping a band together under normal circumstances can be difficult, but rehearsing regularly while participating in student organizations, summer associate programs, and other activities is nearly impossible. “It’s pretty tricky,” says Aliaga. “It helps that we’re all very understanding.” Jondahl agrees: “Once you get it on your calendar that from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Sundays this is where I am, you just start to plan around it.”
The band practices at a small studio in the East Village where Sonic Youth, David Bowie, and Third Eye Blind have all rehearsed, says Pernick. Their musical inspiration is as varied as their legal interests, ranging from the Clash to the Roots, from education law to intellectual property litigation. For that fateful Erie Day performance, they presented the Bob Dylan/Old Crow Medicine Show song “Wagon Wheel” with lines describing the majority opinion.
For now, and especially while they are full-time students, they are content being a cover band. “Our goal is to give our friends and colleagues who come to our shows a really great time,” says Pernick. And, he says, if all six remain in New York past graduation, the band will play on.
2014 Home