Michael Petersen formed We the Cats, his first band, in 1991 with Mark Lolwing. Joined by singer Debra “Ruby” Petritsch, they were an acoustic band that later expanded to a full band with bassist Gibson Arlasky and drummer Eric “Alf” Swanson on drums. After Lolwing left the band in 1995, We the Cats continued with guitarist Bob Maller and, later, guitarist Mike Winchell. Lolwing, Petersen, and Petritsch regrouped for the Ilk album, “Got Ilk?” in 1999. Petersen and Arlasky formed Still Hill, which created the soundtrack for the popular independent film, Tio’s Game (2002). Soon after, Petersen and guitarist Leo Swiontek formed the Damn Hoovers and then 45 Souls (with Arlasky on bass and John Spicuzza, Robert Koppensteiner and others on drums), which has produced three acclaimed CDs. Petersen and Arlasky recently have completed a new 45 Souls album, and they are in the studio recording another. These albums will be released later this year.
Mark Lolwing (A.K.A. Marky Starrr) pounded the midwest college scene in the late 1980's with The Renfields before returning to Chicago to form We The Cats with Mike Petersen. Leaving the band in 1995, Lolwing self produced two solo albums under the moniker "Morsel" before reuniting with Petersen to co-write and produce Ilk - "Got Ilk." In 2005, Lolwing formed One Louderrr and the Joint Chiefs with We The Cats drummer Eric Swanson, along with former members of Gravey and Seers Poncho. Their debut album, "Tattoos and Cigarettes" boasted some of Lolwing's most creative songwriting to date, including the reggae flavored "Condoleezza'a Rice," and the anthematic "Downtown." Now residing in Tucson, Arizona with his wife and two children, Lolwing is a professional newspaperman by day, who continues to write and record shamelessly hooky rock songs by night.
Eric “Alf” Swanson trained as a jazz and orchestral drummer in his home state of Iowa before moving to Chicago and joining We The Cats. Bringing an exciting percussive edge to the formerly all acoustic group, Swanson brought the fun onstage and the swagger to the studio. A sought after live and sessions drummer, Swanson haunted the Chicago scene throughout the nineties playing with Jean D'eau, and subsequently formed stalwart Chicago jam band Seers Poncho in 1999. In the mid 2000’s, Swanson formed the harder rocking One Louderrr and the Joint Chiefs with former We The Cats bandmate Mark Lolwing, with that band soon morphing into popular Stones cover band Dead Flowers. Some of Swanson's other live and recording credits include Club ESP, Current Resident, Bad Influence, Super Guapo, South of 80, Mike Echlin, Dave Roth, Trick Bag and Happy Ashtray. A seasoned drum instructor himself currently teaching at Chicago Ave Drums Studio, Swanson has received masters drumming instruction from the likes of Bernard Purdie, Stanton Moore, and Steve Maxwell. Swanson currently lives in Chicago working as a mortgage banker while maintaining a robust schedule of live gigs with both Dead Flowers and the Joynt Cheefs.
Gibson Arlasky joined We the Cats in 1993 and, along with Eric "Alf" Swanson, created the dynamic rhythmic backbone of the band. In 2001, Petersen and Arlasky formed Still Hill, which created the soundtrack for the popular independent film, Tio’s Game (2002), and which has currently regrouped and is recording a new album. In 2002, Arlasky joined Petersen, guitarist Leo Swiontek, and drummer John Spicuzza to form 45 Souls. The band has created three critically-acclaimed CDs: Spriralbound (2004), Jackal and Dove (2012) and Mortal Moon (2012). Petersen and Arlasky recently have completed a new 45 Souls album, and they are in the studio recording another.”