Eiffel Tower was born at a psychiatric hospital in the Chicagoland area where Alex (bass), Matt (handclaps) and Pete (bells) were working as orderlies. The three were in a seclusion room holding an aggressive patient who, in a last-ditch retaliatory effort, took the liberty of urinating on the floor. With the patient somewhat subdued, the three made a gallant dash to exit the room before the patient, hot on their heels, could egress. Things only went further awry when Alex lost his footing and slipped three feet across the slick, linoleum floor through the puddle of tepid urine. Matt and Pete instantly tumbled over Alex and found themselves equally soaked. The three spent the rest of the shift donning patient pajamas and questioning their chosen career path.
The three bonded over their work with psychotic patients and obsessively collecting their clients’ personal narratives. They found the coping mechanisms of the patients not far removed from many of their own misguided efforts to make sense of the world around them. They came to treasure these stories as the stuff of myth and legend. As the band began to write music, they focused on how alienation often leads to obsessive or delusional thinking. Musically, the band’s exultant energy was been characterized as “Frank Sinatra meets Bad Brains,” and as “marr[ying] the jangle-pop of Feelies with the playful self-loathing of Stephin Merritt.”
The trio quickly settled on the name Eiffel Tower, after the French monument. Upon its completion, the tower had widely been considered as a mistake and an eyesore. Guy de Maupassant, who reportedly hated the tower, was known to have lunched in it daily. When asked why, he remarked that it was the only place in all of Paris where he could not see the awful structure. The band Eiffel Tower celebrates the grandiose courage necessary to pursue seemingly foolhardy ambitions.