The Ottomen started in 1996 when Jim and Dave began recording demos in the dorms of the Kansas City Art Institute. Before they were "The Ottomen", Jim and Dave went through many clever names including "James and the Giant Peaches", "Alexander and the Grapes" and the "Jim and Dave Band". It wasn't until they heard the Dead Milkmen song "I Tripped Over the Ottoman" from "Metaphysical Graffiti" that they finally settled on "The Ottomen". In late summer 96 they had their first gig, A talent contest on the campus of KCAI in which they both play electric guitars and played a raw version of "Animal Kingdom" written by jim. The song had tones of "The Pixies" mixed with a "Velvet Underground" undertone. At the end of the show they won a plush snake and some candy for being the most interesting band that performed. In late 96, fall semester, they met a young scholar named George Garcia and recruited him as their drummer. With a complete band, they began playing shows in and around the school and Kansas City, and quickly became rivals of the Emo scene and The Get Up Kids. Within a couple years they had recorded three full albums and over 40 original songs. After graduating the ottomen moved to Saint Louis and added local jazz and rock bass genius Justin DiCenzo on the bass or guitar...depending on what was needed for the particular show. Because George stayed behind to finish his degree, John Halloran was added on drums. THEN, Jim moved to NYC so Dave and Justin recorded their new album without him. Then Dave and Justin added Mario Viele from Pubes and sex robots to the lead guitars. The next album was recorded at Dicenzo Studios and included a few guest appearances by Duane Bridges from Shedshot and Vegabasin, Alison Derrick from UT austin orchestras. Before April 2004, ottomen added a new member, Mark youngbauer. He filled in all the holes for justin to play a billion other instruments when they played live. In winter of 2006, the original Ottomen lineup appeared at CakeShop in Manhattans lower east side for a reunion, and to celebrate the release of Jim’s new band Paper Fleet’s debut 7 inch record.
Recently, The Ottomen, aside from their own releases, have started a record label Ottomen Records to release albums by bands such as Paper Fleet, Man Cat, The Rough Snailfish, Misung and the Computers and Misung and the Keyboards.
The Ottomen released Back to the Past in June 2007 collecting all new recordings of the greatest hits from 97-06. The album also included 4 brand new songs, mixed and produced by The Ottomen.
In April 2007 Justin Dicenzo left "The Ottomen" to join an up and coming art-experimental band called "Hecuba", and Promote the new Ottomen album to big wigs in the City of the Angels.
The remaining Ottomen are currently writing and recording new material for a new album due out sometime in the near future, promising to be just as fun and adventurous as the albums before it.
At many of the live shows in the past, The Ottomen sometimes do what they named "Make Up Songs" in which they have the people in the audience yell out topics to sing about and Misung then makes the one he feels most comfortable with up on the spot. Many amazing songs have been created through this procedure including "Ninja Girlfriend" "Revenge of the Nerds part 2" , "Breaking Beer Bottles on the Ceiling" ,"Penguins in Leather", "Werewolf song", the political song "10,000 more troops" about the troop surge and many, many more!