Red Shirt Brigade formed in late 1998 when singer/guitarist Trevor Naud, drummer Ryan Allen, and bassist Paul Bissa met at Central Michigan University. The trio quickly became a quartet with the addition of keyboardist Scott Allen. Early on, they made waves with their brand of chaotic, yet melodic pop/rock, all born out of a punk ethic. From the beginning, Red Shirt Brigade turned heads with Naud's steady vocals and inventive guitar work, Ryan Allen's rousing drums, Scott Allen's frenzied keyboards, and Paul Bissa's steady hand on bass. The band's 1999 recorded debut was a self-released cassette, entitled The Crafty Bastard EP. The four songs were recorded and engineered by the Scott and Ryan's father, Brad Allen. The band performed regularly in Michigan and began work on their first CD. That disc, entitled Mock Election and the Post Selection, was released in 2000 on Suburban Sprawl Records. With the artwork designed by Ryan Cady of Audiopants Recordings, the six-song CD was the impetus of their eventual signing with Arborvitae Records out of Champaign, IL. In late 2000, Bissa left the band when he moved to Ohio for graduate school. Enter bassist Dan Clark, who had been a longtime friend and supporter of the band. Clark's entry into the band marked the beginning of a new era for Red Shirt Brigade, as they retired their older songs in favor of new songs, which were composed with Clark on bass. In early 2001, Red Shirt Brigade was featured on Michigan's Elkion Records' compilation entitled Reveal the Character. In the summer of 2001, the band made a westward journey to Seattle, WA, for the purpose of recording their first full-length disc with Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla. The ten-day recording session at Walla's Hall of Justice Studios planted the seeds for greater things to come. The tour and recording session invigorated the band and the Home of the Cannon Saints album was released in late 2001 on Arborvitae and Suburban Sprawl Records. Arborvitae also released a limited-edition nine-song tour CD for that summer 2001 tour, entitled Furious Lessons From History. In late 2001, a previous recording of the Four Tops' song "Same Old Song," featuring the original lineup with Scott Allen on vocals, was released on the Audiopants Recordings compilation Shoop Dee Doop: A Tribute to Motown.
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