Algernon Cadwallader

Provoking kids to crowd surf, mosh and dance all at the same time, Philadelphia’s own Algernon Cadwallader’s music is sloppy – in all of the right ways.

Algernon Cadwallader
Courtesy Peter Helmis | Algernon Cadwallader
Courtesy Peter Helmis

Comprised of Peter Helmis on vocals and bass, Joe Reinhart on guitar and Tank Bergman on drums, Algernon Cadwallader has been making houses shake throughout and outside of the city. All natives of the Yardley, Pa. and Bucks County, Pa., areas and active in the Philly music scene within different bands, it was only a matter of time before these three joined forces.

“Parrot Files,” the latest full-length from the group, was released in May 2011. The band hasn’t slowed since, consistently performing for enthusiastic audiences.

In addition to performing, Reinhart co-founded a recording and production studio, the Headroom, with Kyle Pulley of Dangerous Ponies. According to his biography on the studio’s website, Reinhart graduated from Drexel in 2008 after studying audio engineering.

When it comes to independent productions, the guys in Algernon Cadwallader don’t stop in the recording studio. The band has released its past three albums on their own record label, Hot Green Records.

Algernon Cadwallader’s most recent show in Philadelphia was at the Danger Danger Gallery at 51st Street and Baltimore Avenue. As soon as the first chord was strummed, the crowd that was casually chatting a few minutes before electrified into a pleasantly chaotic mass, screaming every lyric as if it were the last punk rock show in history.

Helmis and Reinhart will play at First Unitarian Church with fellow Hot Green Records band Hop Along’s release show on June 1 for their new album “Get Disowned.”

The Temple News: What does “Algernon Cadwallader” mean?

Peter Helmis: He’s really kind of all of our great, great, great grandfather. He was from Yardley. A very important man.

Joe Reinhart: We’re all descendants of his seed.

PH: Giant beard. His beard was actually his sperm, and his beard inseminated three lovely women.

TTN: What’s the appeal of playing a house show as opposed to a more formal show that you’d need to buy tickets for?

PH: You can’t hear any mess-ups. I think it’s a much more personal experience for us and the audience. Sometimes you’ll play a show at a place where it doesn’t get that rowdy, and you can’t tell if people like it. There’s really no mistaking it here so we can really fall into the groove, as they say.

JR: They’re spitting on us, we’re spitting on them, we’re all covered in each other’s sweat and stuff.

PH: We’ll play any show, but we definitely couldn’t do it without these kinds of shows.

TTN: What’s it like when you’re up on stage and you see a bunch of kids screaming their hearts out to your lyrics?

PH: Terrifying.

JR: They’re watching me. What if I do something wrong? But it’s the best thing, in all seriousness.

PH: I don’t know what else we would do this for besides that.

TTN: Since you guys are natives of the Philly area, what are some of your favorite Philly bands?

JR: That’s a long list. All of our friends play in amazing bands. In our warehouse alone Bandname and Dangerous Ponies live there.

PH: Dead Milkmen, Oriental Wood, King and Dagger [and] Dr. Dog.

TTN: What’s your warehouse? Can you tell us more about that?

JR: We call it Big Momma’s Warehouse, it’s where we all live. There’s a studio and we all jam and hang out. It’s a big hippie commune.

TTN: Do you guys have shows there, too?

PH: The shows that we had were too big. Our place got ruined. We had a wrestling party show. It’s pretty wild. We have pictures to prove it. We actually had a guest wrestler at that party. He was a wrestler from around here named Sweeney, and he passed away about a year ago. So, rest in peace Sweeney.

Tank Bergman: And what’s-his-name – he ate pizza for 100 days straight.

JR: That was something else. But also a notable mention.

TTN: What do you think is special about the Philly punk scene?

JR: I like that compared to other cities, I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s amazing. People are always like, “What goes on there? Why are there so many amazing bands that come out of Philly?” And it’s true. I’m not even going to be modest about it. I think we’re lucky to know a lot of them and be friends with them. It’s exciting.

TTN: Do you think there’s a rhyme or reason why there are so many great bands from Philly?

PH: I think it’s all the chemicals in the water.

JR: Guitar players are growing extra fingers.

Jenelle Janci can be reached at

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