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Endo was formed by singer Gil Bitton and bass player Zelick. Bitton, the son of Moroccan parents, was born in Israel but grew up in Florida. He dropped out of high school in the 11th grade and began hosting an open-mic night at Cool Beans, a Miami café, then turned to singing and playing the guitar as well. Joining the heavy metal band Above and Beyond, he met Zelick, who had first pursued acting before taking up the bass. Deciding to form their own band, the two recruited Cuban-born drummer Joel Suarez and guitarist Eli Parker, who had played with Suarez in Level Nine. The group was signed to Concrete Management in 1999 and began opening for such bands as the Foo Fighters and Static X, and played the South by Southwest music conference, which led to their being signed by DV8, a label distributed by Columbia Records. Their debut album, Evolve, was released in March 2001. ~ William Ruhlmann