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Founding their themes upon an effervescent punk-pop formula, combining catchy rhythms and sharp melodies, and revealing influences coming from bands like Green Day and Weezer, Punchline bring forward distinctive tunes to the alternative rock scene. Established in Pittsburgh, PA, in July of 1997, Punchline began with the lineup of Paul Menotiades (guitar/vocals), Steve Soboslai (guitar/vocals), Chris Fafalios (bass/vocals), and P.J. Caruso (drums). From the beginning, the band built a loyal fan base, mostly due to its rousing live performances and unending show schedule. Only one year after forming, the crew entered the studio and a few months later self-released How to Get Kicked Out of the Mall, their first record. In 1999, and again by their own initiative, Punchline issued their second disc, the self-titled Punchline.
Following two years of nonstop shows across the U.S., the band recorded the eight-song Major Motion Picture, with production credits divided with Billy Rossi. Fueled by Ramen took notice of the guys, signed them, and February 2003 saw Punchline's first release on the label, The Rewind EP. Exactly one year later, Sean O'Keefe recorded their debut FBR full-length, Action, which contained hook-filled melodies, sing-along choruses, and three-part vocal harmonies. January 2005 saw the departure of guitarist Menotiades and Greg Wood joining the band in his place. Later, Punchline toured with Bayside and released a split 7" with Over It. Their next album, 37 Everywhere, appeared in April 2006 — titled such for the band's love for and ability to spot the number 37, well, everywhere — and a subsequent headlining tour in support of the record ran through the spring. Wood amicably exited Punchline in late summer to pursue other interests, replaced on guitar by Jon Belan (ex-the Berlin Project).