The Deli Philly's Best of 2012 Fans'/Readers' Poll Winner: Dear Althea
- by Alexis V.
Alt rockers Dear Althea
came in determined and outlasted the large field of competitors to become the winner of The Deli Philly’s Best of 2012 Fans’/Readers’ Poll. After returning from a trip to England, we caught up with Ashley Wildes and crew to learn more about the band, the members’ likes, their future plans, and more. You can read our interview with them below.
The Deli: How did you start making music?
Ashley Wildes: The band started via a chance meeting at an open mic night in 2008 between Dean and I led to a late night coffee fueled discussion of all things indie music. Individually, we all found our ways to this particular creative outline through various means.
I’ve been singing ever since I fell in love with Roxette’s “She’s Got the Look” as a toddler (this resulted in me spending a great deal of time hiding under the table so no one could see me as I was insanely shy). After that, it was flute music lessons followed by guitar, and then I met Dean.
Kait Pawko: As a band, I started playing drums for Dear Althea in 2010. I played piano in grade school, and learned percussion instruments in high school. I played the drums in three different bands during my college years.
Lisa Gaub: I know Ashley’s boss, Tom, and when he learned I play bass, he took Ashley and I out to dinner so we could meet each other, and I started practicing with the band a couple weeks later. In college, I played bass in a girl band, and I sang for another band. While in grad school, I played bass for an instrumental metal band.
TD: Where did the name Dear Althea come from?
AW: It came from a 17th Century English poem, “To Althea From Prison,” that had that famous quote “Stone Walls do not a Prison make, Nor Iron bars a Cage…” But “Althea” is also referenced in a Grateful Dead song, and is the name of Courtney Love’s character in The People Vs. Larry Flynt.
TD: What are your biggest musical influences?
AW: 90’s riot grrls, Babes in Toyland, Sleater-Kinney, Hole - Courtney Love during the Big Day Out ’99 was love at first sight - not to mention my adoration of Springsteen and singer songwriters like Aimee Mann and Tori Amos. Oh, and I’m pretty certain Ke$ha is my spirit animal.
Dean DeCampli: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
LG: Kim Deal and Melissa Auf der Maur.
TD: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
: Pissed Jeans
, Best Coast, The Gaslight Anthem, Kate Nash.
LG: The Beatles and Pixies are always going in my house. The only music radio station I listen to is WXPN so I enjoy a lot of the local and indie bands being played on there. A dream of mine would be fulfilled if we ever got some airplay on there.
TD: What’s the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
AW: First concert was Blink 182, “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket Tour.” First album was Nirvana’s Nevermind.
DD: First show was The Who, The Clash, Santana & The Hooters at JFK. First album I ever bought was Monkees Greatest Hits.
KP: I think my very first show - I was in the womb while my mom was at a Neil Diamond concert.
LG: I honestly don’t remember my first concert. I’ve been to so many shows in my lifetime. And I don’t recall the first album I bought, but I do remember that when Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was released, it was constantly on in the house, and was regularly incorporated into our living room performances.
TD: What do you love about Philly?
AW: The music community, South Street, Kelly Drive, the art museum.
DD: O’Neals Pub, Milk and Honey Cafe, Bean Café…
KP: Skyline, history, bars & restaurants, venues, parks, events.
LG: As a girl who grew up in rural Indiana, living in a big city constantly creates a sense of awe in me. I love that Philly has everything a big city should, but is very accessible and unpretentious as well. Oh, and water ice!
TD: What do you hate about Philly?
AW: It has city problems like anywhere else but I don’t specifically hate anything.
DD: Crime… Had my place broken into, and my Rickenbacker stolen…but at least, the Pawn shop down the street was kind enough to sell it back to me…
LG: The way people say water.
TD: What are your plans for 2013?
AW: We’re very excited to be in the final stages of issuing a limited CD version of our new 4-song EP, recorded with Fancy Time Studio, in April at our NYC show. If everything goes as planned, a 7-inch version will be released on an independent label TBD. We also hope to hit up a few new markets we.ve yet to visit. Boston, D.C., Baltimore, etc.
TD: What was your most memorable live show?
AW: Right before the Khyber changed ownership, we played a show where we supported Girl in a Coma with our favorite Philly, now Pittsburgh, band, the Lopez. The venue was packed. I wore a nurse costume. People were crazy. It was awesome. Not to mention the ladies from Girl in a Coma are insanely rad. Perfect show.
DD: Performing as the Jefferson Airplane at Sugar Town’s 10th Anniversary Tribute Show. Packed house and an amazing line-up!
LG: I actually love playing Kait’s housewarming party! The set was upbeat and tight, we were relaxed, and we were surrounded by supportive friends. Everyone had a blast!
TD: What’s your favorite thing to get at the deli?
DD: Chicken salad sandwich on wheat.
KP: Turkey hoagie, American cheese, mayo, onion, lettuce, tomato, extra pickles.
LG: As a vegetarian, I rarely eat at delis, but I have a near-unhealthily obsession for pickles, so my final answer is: a giant sour kosher pickle.