St. Paul, MN-based punk group Dillinger Four were formed in 1994 by guitarist Erik Funk and bassist Patrick Costello; the group's original line-up, also including guitarist Sloan and drummer Lane Pedersen, held together long enough to record the debut 7" Higher Aspirations: Tempered and Dismantled before Sloan exited to join Man Afraid. After recruiting ex-Scooby Don't guitarist Bill Morrisette, Dillinger Four resurfaced in 1996 with the EP The Kids Are All Dead; a split single with fellow Twin Cities band the Strike followed a year later, as did a series of compilation appearances. This Shit is Genius, a collection of songs taken from compilations and various other releases, came out in 1999 on No Idea.
After signing to Hopeless, Dillinger Four issued their full-length debut, Midwestern Songs of the Americas, in 1998; Versus God appeared two years later. Tour dates around the world followed, including a stint in Japan for the first time, traveling with Green Day. Their third full-length release, Situationist Comedy, was released in the summer of 2002 on Fat Wreck. First Avenue Live, recorded on December 16, 2001, at First Avenue in Minneapolis, was issued on LSD Records in February 2005. The end of the year found the guys with a slot at Gainesville's fourth annual The Fest, playing alongside bands like Ted Leo, Against Me!, Bouncing Souls, and a reunited Radon. Funk also co-owns the popular Minneapolis bar and music venue, the Triple Rock Social Club. ~ Jason Ankeny