Some of the members of Petland have come and gone as often as the animals in a pet store. The brainchild of Eric Teather (lead vocals and guitar), the band first gathered together in 1997. Teather's rather dark sense of humor delighted in creating ways to synchronize sci-fi and music. He loved letting emotions and ideas express in technical phases through the electronic medium. In 1998, Petland, consisting of Teather and two friends, self-released a four-song EP, Salad Days, which is no longer available.
Andrea (Wang) Pina, a classically trained piano and violin player, joined Petland in 1998 and became the keyboardist along with doing backup vocals. Michael Bolan, formerly with Big Girl, the Absurd, and Schroeder, had also played both bass and cello in productions of The Sound of Music, Hair, and Little Shop of Horrors. Sharing Teather's love of horror, Bolan joined the band in 1998.
Petland self-released their first CD, Antenna, in June 1999. The album contained favorite songs such as "Can I Keep You" and "Submerge." The band came out with another EP in May 2001, Automatic Sheep, containing three songs; this limited-edition quickly sold out. In addition to recording and touring, Petland was featured on The Chili Factor and BBC's extreme sports show Rad TV.
John Paul Travis, a jazz drummer originally from Delaware who ended up at Montana State, joined Petland in time to jazz up its second CD, Miss Roboto, in 2001. This CD tells the musical story of a boy who creates a female robot only to lose his own identity in her. On Miss Roboto, Petland, in tune with its basic love for the dark side, blended together pieces from classic horror films The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and The Crawling Hand (1963), and combined them with electric waves merging with experimental guitar. To this they added many whistles, bells, and weird sounds. This was a new expression of horror electrica, and by the end of 2001, Petland's Miss Roboto was climbing the charts.