Chapel Hill-based band Collapsis, which mixed country sounds with bar-band rock, was formed from the ashes of several other southern bands, namely Queen Sarah Saturday, who in their demise donated the talents of Collapsis' guitarist/vocalist Ryan Pickett and bassist/vocalist Chris Holloway. Local legends Dillon Fence also collapsed, leaving drummer Scott Carle free to join the band. Around the same time, guitarist/vocalist Mike Garrigan followed the advice of one of his law school professors and left the law behind to devote his attention full-time to the band. The effort paid off when Collapsis, during a period of increasing local fame, managed to sign a contract with Cherry Records, a subsidiary of Universal. They quickly self-produced their Chartreuse EP to provide a recording for their growing fan base and then left Chapel Hill briefly in 1999 to record their major-label debut. The result, Dirty Wake, was released in early 2000.
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