It’s rare for work relationships to span decades and it is even rarer for musical acts to last that long. Despite the odds, Rob Fetters (guitars, vocals), Chris Arduser (drums, vocals) and Bob Nyswonger (bass) have made it work as the Psychodots, which returns to town for its annual Thanksgiving show at Gilly’s in Dayton on Saturday, Nov. 19.
The Cincinnati-based musicians flirted with mainstream success as members of the Bears with Adrian Belew but spent most of their career below the radar as the Raisins in the 1980s and as the Psychodots since 1991.
“The wonderful magic of the Pyschodots is we’ve been playing with each other since we were tweens,” said Fetters, who pays the bills by composing music for commercials and corporate projects for clients such as Disney, the Ohio Lottery, Frisch’s and P&G. “A lot of the survival is because it’s an open marriage. If somebody gets an offer to do something, it’s OK to go do it.
“That can be a negative for a lot of people but we usually pull together,” Fetters continued. “We’ve played in so many other bands but we always seem to come back together and play. When we get together it’s like we’re all high schoolers again. We just try to play really hard and good.”
The Psychodots only book a handful of performances each year, one of which is the group’s annual November show in Dayton, which has been a tradition for more than 25 years. The show was always the night before Thanksgiving but was moved up to the Saturday before the holiday this year to avoid competition with the Last Waltz benefit at Dayton Art Institute.
“We’ve got 33 People playing the show with us this year for the first,” Fetters said. “I actually produced their EP 15 years ago or longer so I’ve known those guys for a long time. Doing a show together at Thanksgiving sounded like fun. It’s a mutual admiration society from two power pop trios so it should be a really cool show.”
The Psychodots played an acoustic show earlier this year but the Gilly’s date is the band’s first electric show of the year.
“We’re champing at the bit but trust me, we’re rehearsing because we really care about sounding good,” Fetters said. “We’ll do a Raisins song or two, a Bears song or two and some Psychodots songs. We’ll also do some stuff off our solo albums and all of that material makes for an interesting set.”