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The Valley Arena

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Biography

Based out of Long Beach, CA, the members of rock outfit the Valley Arena had all played in various groups around Southern California for several years prior to the band's formation, and guitarist/vocalist Chris Stevens and drummer Mike Nielson had been jamming with each other since they were both 13 years old. Once the two friends abandoned their other musical projects and got together in 2003 with singer/guitarist Warren Woodward and bassist Dave South, things fit immediately, and the Valley Arena were officially born. Just months after forming, the quartet had finished its first album, Take Comfort in Strangers, which was influenced by '90s D.C. post-punk acts like Fugazi and Jawbox. The label-less Valley Arena didn't stay unsigned for long, and shortly after the record's completion, they were snatched up by New Jersey-based Astro Magnetics Records -- an imprint of Eyeball Records co-owned by Thursday's Geoff Rickly -- in time for Strangers' proper 2005 release. A summer tour followed, and the guys added shows in the U.S. and Europe to their tour diary before entering the studio in late 2006 to begin work on their next album. The Valley Arena released the resulting Sesso.Vita, which is Italian for "Sex.Life," in December 2007 through Anodyne Records; the groove-oriented record was comprised of songs built around a series of stories set in a made-up version of their Long Beach hometown. ~ Corey Apar