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Cousins Tony and Matt Lovato grew up across the street from each other in the Blue Island section of the south side of Chicago and began playing together at seven, borrowing instruments from Tony's father, with Tony picking up guitar and singing and Matt playing bass. In high school, they hooked up with guitarist Jeremiah Rangel and drummer Nick Gigler. Tony came up with the band name Mest while looking at a case of Milwaukee's Best beer. Playing in local Chicago punk clubs, the group self-released their debut album, Mo' Money, Mo' 40'z. They got their first real break when Tony wrote to Goldfinger lead singer John Feldmann and got a response. After listening to a demo tape, Feldmann agreed to let Mest open for Goldfinger, got them a record deal with Maverick, and produced their major-label debut, Wasting Time, which was released in July 2000. A year later, Mest returned with a cameo-filled (Young MC, Save Ferris' Monique Powell) spiky-punk second album entitled Destination Unknown. A self-titled third album, which included a cameo from Good Charlotte's Benji Madden, appeared in June 2003. A lengthy stretch of Warped Tour dates followed, which led to exhaustion for Mest and back surgery for Tony Lovato in particular. But the band soldiered on, and in autumn 2005 they released their fourth effort for Maverick, Photographs. After ten years together, Mest called it quits in early 2006. They went out on an appropriately titled final tour, So Long and Thanx for the Booze, that February alongside Allister and Scary Kids Scaring Kids. ~ William Ruhlmann