Zebrahead was formed in 1996 by vocalist/guitarist Justin Mauriello, guitarist Greg Bergdorf, bassist Ben Osmundson, and drummer Ed Udhus. Inspired by acts including Fugazi and the Descendents, the group found themselves uninspired by the local trend toward ska-punk and instead began incorporating elements of hip-hop into their sound, eventually recruiting rapper Ali Tabatabaee to join their ranks. After issuing the EP Yellow on the indie label Dr. Dream in May 1998, Zebrahead signed to major label Columbia to release their full-length debut, Waste of Mind, which appeared later that same year. Playmate of the Year was issued in mid-2000 and the Stupid Fat Americans EP followed only in Japan the next year. The guys headed over to Europe with Green Day to support the records, playing various festival dates as well. Throughout the years, they also shared gigs with bands like Less Than Jake, Kottonmouth Kings, 311, Reel Big Fish, and Goldfinger. The full-length MFZB (aka "Motherf*cking Zebrahead Bitch!") appeared in 2003, after which Mauriello exited the group to pursue other interests. His departure distressed fans, as the singing/rapping dynamic between him and Tabatabaee was crucial to the band's sound. However, Zebrahead was soon back in action with the addition of new vocalist/guitarist Matty Lewis to their lineup (who sounded remarkably like Mauriello). They spent summer 2006 on the Warped Tour as Broadcast to the World was released overseas that July through SPV/Sony. The album went gold in Japan in just a month's time, and the guys spent fall on dates throughout Europe.