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The Filthy Thievin' Bastards were originally a side project put together by members of the Swingin' Utters. Taking influence from folk-rock, as well as Celtic drunkards the Pogues, Johnny Bonnel and Darius Koski (both of the Utters) wrote an EP's worth of songs in 2000 and eventually released it as Our Fathers Sent Us on TKO Records. The two enlisted former Camper Van Beethoven guitarist Greg Lisher, producer Randy Burk (who ended up on drums), and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes singer Spike Slawson (who ended up on bass) to join the band and made an album that impressed both critics and listeners alike. The next year, the lineup reunited to record a full-length album, this time including Red Meat's Max Butler on mandolin. The result, A Melody of Retreads and Broken Quills, appeared at the end of 2001 on BYO Records; My Pappy Was a Pistol followed four years later.