Pinwheel first started when vocalists/guitarists John Surge and Jeff Donahue became friends in the Long Beach band scene. When their groups began to break up, they discovered their love for the '80s power punk scene, sharing inspiration from groups like the Replacements and Hüsker Dü. The two put together a home studio and began recording their debut album, 1999's Chemical Jar. The follow-up, 2002's Trouble Doll, found them signed to Pinch Hit Records and adding bassist Fluffy and drummer Matt O'Connor to the lineup.
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