Chevy Chase’s royal rockers band together for charity

Dana Gooley, special to

WASHINGTON – It’s late Thursday night in Chevy Chase, D.C. Families are quietly going about their business, putting their kids to sleep and getting ready for the next day.

But in a garage on the eastern side of the neighborhood, four men are very seriously studying the chord progression of a Top 40 pop hit. They pick up their instruments and start playing Icona Pop’s summer anthem, “I Love It.”

Music blares from the room and the Farrah Fawcett poster nearly comes off the wall as Peter, Louis, Vinny and Hunter tear into the song. Tangled wires and carpet squares are trampled underfoot and beer bottles vibrate on top of the amplifiers.

This is PRINCESS, your average amateur rock band. Except, of course, the band members are middle-aged dads — and high-powered Washington lawyers.

The PRINCESS story is long and mildly complicated. Peter Willsey met Louis Smith at a birthday party for one of Peter’s kids. The two picked up Hunter Bennett at an elementary school picnic. Vinny Badolato came into the picture when the trio realized its current drummer wasn’t cutting it. Thus, PRINCESS was born.

And the name? That came from a little pink princess rug that belonged to one of Peter’s daughters. One day Peter and Louis walked across the rug and thought it would be a great name for a band — especially one that plays angry music.

“I thought it was the worst name I’d ever heard, so when they asked me to play with them I kept saying