New Jersey ska-punk combo Catch 22 were formed in the autumn of 1996 by singer/guitarist Tomas Kalnoky, trumpeter Kevin Gunther, and drummer Chris Greer. Recruiting bassist Pat Calpin, trombonist Jamie Egan, and saxophonist Ryan Eldred, the group spent the next two years touring relentlessly, selling out all 2,000 copies of its self-released demo, Rules of the Game. Signing to Victory Records in late 1997, Catch 22 issued Keasbey Nights the following year, quickly becoming one of the best-selling bands in the label's history. The grind of touring ultimately became too much for Kalnoky, however, and upon his exit from the roster (he would later go on to front ska-punks Streetlight Manifesto), the remaining members of Catch 22 tapped new frontman Jeff Davidson; with Calpin then assuming guitar duties, new bassist Pat Kays was brought aboard for the 1999 EP Washed Up! Alone in a Crowd followed a year later. Davidson departed the band in March 2001, and Catch 22 were still looking for a replacement when November's Washed Up and Through the Ringer was released.
The album was a sort of compilation; it contained the Washed Up! EP and some rare tracks, along with several live cuts and two new songs that found Gunther and Eldred sharing vocals. This vocal dynamic continued for 2003's Dinosaur Sounds, an album met with mixed fan response. Catch 22 Live appeared in October 2004; an accompanying DVD included bonus features and live footage shot the previous August at the Downtown in Farmingdale, NY. The band continued touring, including a stops at 2006's Bamboozle and Warped Tour festivals. Catch 22's next full-length was a concept album that followed the life of Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky, entitled Permanent Revolution. It was issued in June 2006; the band later headlined a nationwide tour with Voodoo Glow Skulls, Big D & the Kids Table, Suburban Legends, and more in tow. ~ Jason Ankeny