It's been 35 years since Eddie & the Otters first performed at Chatham College's REA House in Pittsburgh, PA. Jim Sptiznagel and I have started a Facebook page, and after years of procrastination I've decided to start this blog. Hopefully we'll get some video up on YouTube soon, too.
The occasion was a Toga Party held to celebrate the recent release of the movie "Animal House". Jim Spitznagel (bass) and Doug Gebhard (guitar) masterminded the project while working at Jim's Records (Pittsburgh's coolest record store). The name Otis & the Otters was chosen, in honor of the movie characters Otter and Otis Day.
Eddie and Doug had played together in the band Uncle Sky along with bassist Steve Fisher, and they were both invited to join, along with Doug's roommate Craig Match on piano. Jim Bird (guitar) and I (drums) were getting ready to put out our first record under the name The Psychotic Petunias, and after I brought an acetate of the 45 to the store for Jim and Doug to hear, they invited us to join.
We rehearsed several times at REA House in early September, focusing on songs from the movie ("Let's Dance", "Shout", "Money", "Twisting The Night Away", and of course, "Louie Louie" - "Hey Paula" didn't make the cut). We added some 50's rock and roll standards and "Gloria" to fill out our repertoire. Along the way Craig chose not to play but did join us at the gig on backing vocals, and it was decided that Jim S. and Steve would share bass duties, with Jim playing the "Animal House" material.
The party ended up being even more successful than we'd hoped - we played three sets, playing all of the "Animal House" material twice, the police showed up during "Gloria" due to complaints about the noise, and there were no fatalities. As a result, we decided to keep the band together. We changed our name to Eddie & the Otters for obvious reasons, and another gig at Chatham College was booked for September 30, this time in the cafeteria.