Pop-punk outfit Hey Mike! began in Bakersfield, CA, when drummer Justin "Juice" Cabrera was looking for a new band. He called up vocalist/guitarist Steven Neufeld, whom he'd previously played with in Craig's Brother, and the two decided to start something up together. After bringing aboard guitarist Brandon Henderson, they took the advice of a mutual friend and snatched bassist Josh McDonald away from college life to complete their enthusiastic crew. The band held its first practice in November 2003, but didn't settle on the name Hey Mike! (which is a shout-out to NOFX's Fat Mike) until a few months later.
Having yet to record even a demo, Cabrera called his friend Ben Harper, Yellowcard guitarist and owner of local indie Takeover Records, to take a look at his new project. Harper was interested and a few shows later, Hey Mike! had sealed the deal to become the second act signed to his label. A mere five months after forming, the quartet recorded the EP Embrace Your Hooks and released it in June 2004. They jumped on tour, including Warped dates and a stint with Autopilot Off, before hitting the studio early the next year to work on their freshman full-length. The guys went on a hiatus of sorts that same year, later regrouping with new bassist TJ Arriaga on board. Things were looking up for Hey Mike! in 2006 until they went on another extended break early that summer; the album was finished, though, and the band's self-titled debut surfaced in August. ~ Corey Apar