By: Benjamin Bunda
The forming of Altameda is an interesting story, as most band origins are. All the members grew up in the local Edmonton band scene playing in different bands. They knew about each others existence, but had no intentions of teaming up. Around 2008 drummer Erik Grice reached out to some other bands, seeing their talent saying,
“If you ever need someone let me know.”
Shortly after, a couple of the bands fizzled out and that’s when Altameda really got rolling. The group ended up living together and with that came inevitable jam sessions.
It was at this point when the band went to California in attempt to make it big. Which coincidentally is where their name comes from. They worked on their first album for about a year and didn’t come up with a name until the night of their first gig. All of their experience playing in multiple bands in the past made them keenly aware of the trials and tribulations when naming a band. Knowing this they wanted one word, simple and ambiguous. Originally for their first show they were named “Almeda” but later found out that another band was already using the Californian city as a name. Then they changed to Altameda, another city in California but with a fun nod to home. The abbreviation for Altameda is Alta, the old abbreviation for Alberta.
While Altameda has found success now touring across North America, with home shows in Edmonton on the 30th and 31st of this month, every band starts somewhere. In 2007, Erik was 17 years old and had just gotten his first band a gig at Blackspot on Thanksgiving weekend.
“We had a great time, and wanted to ride that high forever; even though we basically were playing for no one”.
The Thanksgiving tradition of being out of town would become common for him and the rest of Altameda. Between touring, and recording in California, they haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in years. As cliché as it may sound the band has become family, living together while touring and just goofing off as friends in their down time. The bandmates live together and consider themselves family, especially when they can’t be home for the holidays.
When asked for any advice for upcoming bands Erik says to get on the road as soon as you can.
“Bands come and go but if you can ‘stay together for the kids’ you’ll never have to get an office job and just have fun”.