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Story of the Year took root in the late '90s under a different name, Big Blue Monkey, in St. Louis, MO. At the time of its inception, the band's sound was much heavier (similar to the Deftones), and the lineup that would eventually become Story of the Year was not yet in place. Big Blue Monkey played frequent shows in the St. Louis area, issued several EPs, and endured the lineup fluctuations typical to any struggling combo. Creative and persistent self-promotion soon caught the ear of producer John Feldmann, who in turn brought Maverick Records into the picture. By 2002, Big Blue Monkey had become Story of the Year, signed a record contract, moved to Southern California, and toured with Feldmann and Goldfinger. The lineup of vocalist Dan Marsala, bassist Adam Russell, drummer Joshua Willis, and guitarists Ryan Phillips and Phillip Sneed entered the studio with Feldmann, emerging in spring 2003 with the debut album Page Avenue. Story did some Warped Tour dates during the summer to advance the record, which was released the following September. By this point, the band's sound had morphed completely and comfortably into emo-inflected post-grunge, akin to groups like Thrice or the similarly Feldmann-shepherded Used. The CD/DVD set Live in the Lou/Bassassins followed in spring 2005; it was a precursor to In the Wake of Determination, which appeared in October and debuted at number 19 on the Billboard charts. Three years later, Story of the Year released their third album, The Black Swan, on Epitaph Records. The Black Swan charted even higher than its predecessor and led to another Warped Tour run, as well as additional tour dates. One year later, the band was back in the studio creating The Constant, which they released in early 2010. ~ Johnny Loftus
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1995 in St. Louis, MO