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Punk-pop combo Army of Freshmen formed in Ventura, CA, in late 1997 — vocalist Chris Jay, a recent New Jersey transplant with some 500 completed songs to his credit, assembled the band after meeting guitarist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Kai Dodson, keyboardists Owen Bucey and Dan Clark, and drummer Mike Milligan at local open-mike showcases. A relentless touring schedule earned the band a devout local following, and in mid-2001 Army of Freshmen signed with the indie label Blue Hand to issue their self-titled debut LP. With minimal promotion, the record sold in excess of 10,000 copies and earned a Japanese distributor, resulting in Army of Freshmen's breakthrough appearance at the 2003 edition of the Japanese music festival Summersonic alongside Radiohead and the Strokes. AOF resurfaced in 2004 with Beg, Borrow, Steal, issued via 33rd Street — a stint on the Warped Tour followed, as did the band's first U.K. dates. The third Army of Freshmen album, Under the Radar, hit retail in the summer of 2006.