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Los Angeles' theSTART combine eclectic new wave ambience over catchy hard rock hooks to be one of modern rock's trendsetters of the new millennium. The band, comprised of seasoned SoCal artists and musicians, initially came together with Aimee Echo (vocals) and Scott Ellis (drums). The two first made the scene in Human Waste Project during the mid- to late '90s. The band also toured with Snot, leading Echo and Ellis to meet up with drummer Jamie Miller (keyboards). They shared a bond, glowing over Depeche Mode, U2, and Jane's Addiction, but at the time, each member was at a crossroads professionally and physically. Sick of the metal road rage they'd been a part of for nearly half a decade, Echo, Ellis, and Miller decided to form their own band, a group they called Hero in 1998. Jeff Jaeger of the Sacramento band Smirch jumped on Hero's ship to play bass, and a deal with 143/Atlantic surfaced the following year. Legal conflicts and contractual differences lead Hero to change their name to theSTART, but also left the band disappointed with the industry. When they hooked up with Geffen, theSTART were satisfied, leaving Echo and her boys to record the electrifying and lush debut album Shakedown!. Producer Josh Abraham (Orgy, Deadsy) captured the band's infectious synth power and Echo's glossy vocals on Shakedown!, and debut single "Gorgeous" charted high among college charts and MTV2. Tours with Sugar Ray, Weezer, and Incubus followed in late 2001. In 2002, theSTART remained dedicated in getting their name and music heard. No longer with Interscope, they funded their own tour with Moth and Finch in March and the1234 EP was self-released in April. In June, the band announced the departure of drummer Scott Ellis. Brian Ferrero stepped in to replace him, for theSTART had scheduled West Coast dates with the annual Vans Warped Tour as well as their own headlining tour with Scarling. The independent Detroit label Small Stone Records distributed a self-titled EP in July 2002. By the following summer, the band welcomed bassist Erick Sanger (Sparta, Kissing Chaos) for a departing Jeff Jaeger and drummer Billy Brimblecom Jr. (the Creature Comforts). Nitro signed the band in October 2003 just as theSTART were playing to American audiences with Brassy, Lillix, and Northern State on the Girlz Garage tour. Initiation followed in August 2004. Shortly after its release, Brimblecom left the band and was replaced by Frank Zummo