California Stadium is the brainchild of Andrew Basile, a Berklee College of Music graduate who began recording under the name in 1998. What began as a home-recording project soon evolved into a full-blown band, featuring notable musicians from around the Boston music scene.
Basile transferred to Berklee in Boston after a year of school in Providence, RI, and immediately began honing his skills as an engineer; first on his four-track machine at home and, later, at Boston's renowned Fort Apache studios. He produced a cassette-only demo called The Fontana Mix, which included a variety of songs and sound collages, and was distributed mostly to friends on used cassettes. Sometime after his stint at Fort Apache, Basile adopted the California Stadium moniker and released a split 7" with the Heartworms on Ace Fu Records. Feeling the urge to try the California Stadium songs out in a live setting, he played several shows solo, with a drum machine, and eventually with drummer Ken Bernard, formerly of the Wicked Farleys and later with Certainly, Sir.
Jeff O'Neil, of Rose of Sharon, began playing intermittently with California Stadium, and they released the College Try EP, which was distributed to local radio and was used mainly as a vehicle to introduce the band and get shows around town. This they did, grabbing a few high-profile gigs with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and the Ivory Coast. In late 2001/early 2002, California Stadium headed back into the studio with Andy Hong (Karate, the Ivory Coast).