The Other Half - A Brief History

The band consisted of: Tim Deagnon on lead guitar, Dave Burkhart on keyboards, Brent Gilbert on Drums, and myself, Don Pettit, on bass. Tim, Dave, and I were in the Canadian Armed Forces at the time, stationed in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. Brent was a civilian living in Portage. Tim, Dave, and I (plus a couple of different people) had been getting together jamming. We had also been trying to get a band on the go in order to make a little money to supplement our incomes, as we weren't making very much at the time. Back then, there were four hotels in town that were hiring local bands for about 3 nights a week, and there were also people hiring for weddings and other events. Winnipeg and Brandon were not that far away, either, so there were lots of potential areas to play. After various trials and tribulations and growing pains (as is the case quite often when trying to get four people to work together), our local efforts finally came to an end. The three of us could always find a way to work together but we had troubles with lead singers and drummers. Tim started working with another local dance band at the time called The Travelers, who did mainly weddings and Legion dances on Friday and Saturday nights. It was mainly Brent's family's band, consisting of Brent's mom Marg who played organ, her husband Harvey who managed, another son who played the bass, and Brent on drums. Tim played lead. When the bass-playing son moved to Calgary, I was asked to fill in for him. Dave also filled in on organ occasionally. With the four of us playing everything seemed to be going fairly well and we thought we should try and put something together. Sometime in late 1973 or early 1974, we thought it would be great to do an album. I don't believe any of us had ever been in a recording studio previous to the project, though Tim may have been. We scheduled a recording date in May at a studio in Winnipeg, whose name I believe was Century 21 Studios. Tim and Dave did most of the bookings. An 8 hour time slot was booked at the studio, and Brian Hildebrand,I believe that's what his name was, produced it for us. We had already decided which songs we were going to do, so we started rehearsing to prepare for the session. We were on a pretty tight budget, and were splitting the cost of the studio time amongst ourselves, so we had to have everything pretty well nailed down before we went in. There was a minimum lot of 500 albums that we had to purchase, and also the cost of the master tapes. Tim and Dave paid the extra, and each has one side of the album on a master tape. I figured if we were going to do this, I was writing a song for it; so, I wrote the words and music to "Warm Summer's Night", which Dave sings on the LP. "Thoughts" is another original sung by Tim. A certain Padre Walsh, who was a minister at the base at the time, wrote the words to this. Dave and Tim wrote the music. "In Passing" was a poem which Tim put the music to, though I don't recall the author's name. The rest of the songs were ones we liked at that time, so they ended up on the LP. We didn't have the copyrights to the cover songs, but since we weren't going for commercial distribution we weren't really worried about it. After all, the album was more for fun and experience than it was to try and make any money on. I sold enough of my share of the albums to family and friends to recoup the cost of making it, and that was about it. In July of 1974, I was posted to Cold Lake Alberta. That was my short-lived but very memorable experience with a little band called "The Other Half". The album did receive some air play on a local radio station, CHCL, in Cold Lake Alberta, and Warm Summer's Night was put on their play list. Funny, though, I don't remember exactly how we came up with the band's name other than it is written on the cover of the Album. The little "story" was written up by one of Tim"s friends. The only thing about the album cover I remember for sure is that when it went into printing, "Don" somehow became "Dan" on the front of the cover; so, my actual name doesn't show up anywhere on the album itself! This was later corrected when my son, Greg, had the album re-engineered in digital format and printed a new cover for a CD. There is also no information on the inside label as to who is writing or performing which instruments on which songs. Here is a list of who is singing which songs, as well as a note about which are original tunes. As for the whereabouts of the other band members, we've lost touch. I believe Dave is in Alberta around the Edmonton area. Tim, is in the Kelowna, B.C. area and Brent is in Winnipeg, Mb. I reside in the suburbs of Ottawa, On.