The Long Island-based singer/songwriter Brendan B. Brown formed Wheatus as a vehicle for his witty, energetic rock songs. The quartet began taking shape in 1995, when Brown enlisted the help of his brother, drummer Peter Brown, as well as multi-instrumentalist Phil A. Jimenez and bassist Rich Leigey (replaced in July 2000 by Mike McCabe). The musicians recorded their self-titled debut album in the Brown home, helming the production themselves, before signing a contract with Columbia Records and releasing the album in August 2000. "Teenage Dirtbag" became the band's first hit, climbing to number seven on the American rock charts while peaking at number two in the U.K. "A Little Respect" also fared well with British audiences, but Brown jeopardized such newfound U.K. success by refusing to lip-sync for a performance on Top of the Pops.
In response, the band's label refused to release Wheatus' next record, Hand Over Your Loved Ones, in America. Although a U.K. release did appear in 2003, the label promoted it poorly, and no strong singles appeared. Two years later, the bandmates left the Columbia roster and created their own label to re-release Hand Over Your Loved Ones under a new title: Suck Fony. That same year also saw the release of Wheatus' third album, Too Soon Monsoon. The band toured and underwent lineup changes between 2005 and 2007, announcing a year later that new material was in the works. This culminated in a pair of EPs, Pop, Songs & Death Vol. 1 The Lightning, released in 2009 through their website, and Pop, Songs & Death Vol. 2 The Jupiter for Blacktop Records the following year.~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi