Floating, Falling, Sweet Intoxication: An Interview with Worhol

As an only child, Ashley Worhol had a big decision to make when it came to choosing where she wanted to attend college. The comfort of staying close to home gave her the opportunity to be within reasonable distance with her best friends – her mom and dad – but traveling beyond her comfort zone wasn’t something she would object to if the offer was right.

Ultimately, she chose the University of St. Thomas – the same university her father, Larry, attended. While getting her degree in composition, Ashley went home one weekend and heard the sounds of a guitar coming from one of the rooms in the house. At first she thought her father was listening to a record but soon realized it was him playing. Up until this point, she only knew her father as a pianist and that he studied saxophone at the University of St. Thomas. It was that moment that she knew their backgrounds in music were meant to be shared together.

Worhol is a meticulously thought-out quartet, from the sounds created in the recording studio to the atmosphere of the stage at a live show. With Larry’s love for classic rock and Ashley’s operatic training, the songwriter duo, along with bassist Craig Malinowski and drummer Marty Naul, mix influential lyrics with handwritten orchestration to create music unlike any other. Their latest record, The Awakening, comes from the concept of coming into existence or awareness and really speaks on a personal level. “To finally have a product that you sit and write down and you finally hear it knowing that that was in your head… is just an overwhelming feeling,” Ashley said. “This album, it really evolved [my dad and I] not only as a business relationship but a personal relationship. Now that we are basically able to live our dream together, it is a feeling that is undeniable and can’t really be put into words.”

Ashley’s love for musical theater plays a part in their live performances in many different aspects. Her dream of wanting to share the stage with a full orchestra and choir stems from the many performances she’s attended throughout her life. It has also inspired Worhol’s stage presence – the gothic wardrobes symbolize the deeper image they want to portray, the gothic castle theme complete with castle entranceway and fog machined gargoyles and gravestones. Every piece of their set tells a story that adds to the experience of their storytelling through music.  

The storytelling aspect Ashley creates with Worhol is apparent not just on the stage but in other endeavors of hers as well.  Her love for stories and creative writing inspired her to start writing poetry, and one poem turned into another that turned into another that turned into Perception. Perception is 14 poems alongside 14 photos that very much involve the audience. “The idea is everyone perceives things differently so the concept that I’m going with the book as well is to let people read, see what they want and when they look at the image that will make them perceive things a little bit differently,” Ashley said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what I visually saw when writing these poems and seeing what other people saw when they read the poems.”

The University of St. Thomas carved a path for Larry and Ashley Worhol’s musical journey. It’s clear the paths were meant to cross over and become one. It’s where the path leads to next that makes this story all the more compelling.