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The Revolution Smile was a Sacramento, CA-based alternative metal combo led by Shaun Lopez, a guitar player who had spent much of the '90s with the post-grunge quartet Far. Upon that band's 1998 demise, Lopez was set to join ex-Quicksand frontman Walter Schreifels in Rival Schools. However, a desire to pursue singing and songwriting — not simply be the guitar slinger — led Lopez to strike out on his own. Though the Revolution Smile was essentially his basement project, Lopez was eventually joined by guitarist Tim McCord, drummer Jeremy White, and bassist Octavio Gallardo. In 2001, the quartet recorded and self-released At War With Plastic. Around this point, things started moving a little faster for the Rev Smile, and Lopez in particular. Fred Durst had spent much of the previous year on a well-publicized search for a new Limp Bizkit guitarist, in the wake of Wes Borland's noisy departure from the band. Durst's people called Lopez, who was on the radar due to his work with Far. Lopez turned down the Bizkit audition, but did agree to showcase his new band for Durst's fledgling vanity imprint Flawless. The showcase led to a deal, but there was a problem. The Revolution Smile's next EP had already been slated for release through a label started under the auspices of Buddyhead, the infamous humor and gossip website. Some bad blood was shed, legal maneuvering ensued, and eventually the Revolution Smile holed up with producer Dave Sardy to record their Flawless debut. Above the Noise dropped in July 2003; it featured a straight-ahead alt.metal sound comparable to Foo Fighters or Filter. The Revolution Smile supported the record with a slot on that summer's Ozzfest extravaganza.