Buttsteak performing in June for several hundred alumni friends in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Image caption: Buttsteak performing in June for several hundred alumni friends in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Credit: Photograph courtesy of Mike Evitts

Friends for life

Buttsteak still sizzles

Not all alumni have changed their tune since graduation. Meet Buttsteak, a Hopkins-born band that's been going strong since 1988.

The group's main lineup has stayed pretty consistent post-college: Scott "Fitz" FitzGerald, A&S '89, on vocals; John "Buttsteak" Keating, A&S '89, on rhythm guitar; Todd "New Guy" Oken, Engr '90, on guitar; Mike "Roadkill" Evitts, A&S '91, on drums; John "Faulk" Faulkingham, A&S '89, on bass; and Jeff "Fuzzy" Gold, A&S '89, on keys and saxophone.

"It's amazing that we're still friends after all these years," Faulkingham said, reminiscing on the group's early days. "We have not let up."

Buttsteak (full name Buttsteak and the Haggises Five) was created in the halls of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, where several members had been part of a predecessor band. Since then, their setlist has remained a grab bag of '80s rock, both hard and alternative. They perform all the old favorites— The Smiths, the Cure, Guns N' Roses, R.E.M., XTC—creating a time capsule of their own college experience.

During their undergraduate years, Buttsteak played gigs anywhere and everywhere, in part thanks to FitzGerald's role as student body president. This included performances at fraternity parties, the Glass Pavilion, Spring Fair, and even other universities.

"We had a farewell show on the steps of Shriver Hall," Evitts recalled. "It's funny because during that show everyone thought, 'Oh, they're graduating, the band's breaking up.'

Fitz was heard on the recording saying, 'This is our very last show ever,' and we now know that that's a little silly."

Shortly after this "last show," Buttsteak formally reunited in 1990 for a performance in the Glass Pavilion. They reunited again for Alumni Weekend 1994 (then called Homecoming). And again for Alumni Weekend 1999. And 2009. And 2010 and 2014 and 2019.

"It's a joy," Oken said. "People remember a lot of the songs we played back then, and they're so excited to hear these songs get played again."

Despite living in different states, Buttsteak's current members still see each other regularly, performing in East Coast venues nearly every year.

"Sometimes the best part of it isn't the show itself. It's the hanging out and the long dinners after rehearsal," Evitts said. "If you'd said that we'd all still be friends all these years later, I think we all would have been surprised, but we're thankful for it."

"We're all very close," Gold agreed. "My best friends in life are my old Hopkins classmates."

Want to catch Buttsteak's next show? Look no further than Alumni Weekend 2024. "We're going to rent out a place the night before and pack the room with people," said FitzGerald. "We're all still laughing and having a good time."