Twin City punk group Grotto first began playing together when they were freshmen in high school, in the winter of 1995. Their first shows were sporadic and scattered around the punk clubs of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and other than releasing one 7" in the spring of 1998, the band dwelt in relative underground obscurity. The band took a short break in the spring of 1999 as bass player Mike Dombrowski was bitten by the post-high school travel bug. The remaining members, guitarist and singer Chris Mishek and drummer Jeff Brown, played and recorded with miscellaneous Twin Town bands of varying profile, such as the Hidden Chord, Sean Na Na, and the short-lived Pushbutton 3. When Dombrowski returned from his sojourns, Grotto regrouped and recorded their debut full-length, Get a Hustle, with local engineer/musician Mike Wisti (Rank Strangers, Pocket Genius, Unbelievable Jolly Machine) at his popular Albatross studio. The album, a raucous blast of snotty but melodic hardcore, was released on Modern Radio records to local acclaim in January of 2000. After a number of successful local gigs in support of the record, the band embarked on a lengthy tour of the southern and eastern regions of the U.S. In December of that year, Grotto recorded the Sicker Liquor CDEP, which was released in the summer of 2001 on the St. Paul-based imprint Double Indemnity records.
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