Interviews wilton-elder-taste-of-dc-crop

Published on November 7th, 2012 | by Ballard Lesemann


‘The Punch List’ with Wilton Elder

Metronome Charleston‘s weekly Punch List puts local musicians on the spot with a questionnaire that touches on music, venues, gear, records, vices, and more. This week, sax man Wilton Elder of local funk band Super Deluxe responds to the big 10.

1. What is your favorite local hang and why?

“The Mellow Mushroom in Avondale. I can eat, drink, and get the interwebs most hours of the day. They have friendly service, and I always seem to run into Leah Suarez there. My favorite new restaurant is Twenty Six Divine on King Street. Jenn and Enan Parezo make me feel like I’m their favorite customer every time I dine there. And my favorite music venue is the Voodoo Lounge in Avondale. Jen and Mike Kulick do a great job with that venue, and they have always have the best bands playing jazz and alternative instrumental music.”

2. You know you’ve played an excellent show when…

“Every one from age 8 to 82 is dancing, smiling, and singing along to our music. I really dig having people of all ages enjoy our shows.”

3. What was the last show you attended that really got you fired up in a good or bad way?

“The last show I attended that got me fired up in a good way was Shovels & Rope at the Pour House in April. I love Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent. They’re great people — a great couple, great song writers in their own right, and great performers. They sing their tails off and know how to get the crowd involved in the music. On that particular night, they were home among lots of touring, taking requests, and people were throwing money on stage, screaming out the songs they wanted to hear. I threw Cary Ann a ten and asked to hear ‘Who’s Gonna Raise Them Babies.’ A few songs later, they played it, and I smiled for days.”

Wilton Elder (center, back row) and an extended version of Super Deluxe (photo by Reese Moore)

Wilton Elder (center, back row) and an extended version of Super Deluxe (photo by Reese Moore)

4. Define your musical style in exactly 10 words.

“A fun, eclectic, engaging, spontaneous, melodious, sing-along dance party.”

5. What’s your theme song?

“My theme song is ‘Theologians’ by Wilco.”

6. Gear-wise, what’s is your irreplaceable baby?

“My Phil Collins signature head-set microphone. Just kidding.”

7. What’s the most overplayed album in your collection?

“Frank Ocean’s new Channel Orange. It’s gotten the most play. ‘Sweet Life’ is one of my favorite songs. Great music, great lyrics, great vocals. Check out Frank.”

8. When was the last time you were genuinely star-struck?

“Never. I’ve been meeting famous music and entertainment folks my whole life. I have my dad, Kelly, to thank for being conscious of introducing me to a lot of legendary musicians. Though that process, I’ve learned that everyone is fallible and puts their pants on one leg at a time, just like me.”

9. What’s your poison?

“Sweet tea, fried chicken, and homemade ice cream.”

10. In 10 years, I will be…

“Learning a new instrument, maybe guitar or bass clarinet … writing a movie, a book, or both … collaborating with my brother Holmes on some original music … and producing unique, exciting events in Charleston and beyond with my group Super Deluxe. If I’m lucky, I’ll have shared the stage at that point with John Mayer, D’Angelo, or Stevie Wonder.”

Wilton Elder has been playing jazz, funk, soul, rock, and other styles on sax, keys, and percussion in Charleston for years. He studied music at the University of North Carolina and Michigan State University before landing in the Lowcountry. He splits his time between performing with Super Deluxe and other groups and being an adjunct instructor at Trident Technical College where he teaches Music Appreciation.

Super Deluxe will perform an “all-Herbie Hancock music program” titled Electric Herbie at the Voodoo Tiki Lounge in West Ashley at 9 p.m. on Tues. Nov. 13. The set will include classic stuff from the ’70s and ’80s. Special guests include keyboardist Richard White, guitarist Tommy Gielingh, bassist Kenny Shider, and drummer AJ Jenkins. Admission is $3.

Visit and for more.

Photos by Reese Moore.





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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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