It all started with Haggard of the Year. I won’t go into details about that band name, but I can say with confidence it was named after me. I am so proud.
Michael and I started collaborating on songs with our friend and drummer Jeff Smith in 2004. We played the usual high school gigs—different Battle of the Bands around town and for our biggest fans, our parents. But our favorite opportunity was playing for thousands of people at our high school graduation. Graduation Song is still one of my favorite memories.
That summer we were able to upgrade our recording capabilities from a set up in Michael’s living room, to Big Fish Studios, a professional recording studio in our home town that was offered to us for free. We spent lots of long hours laying down tracks and editing music while we had this awesome opportunity. I remember feeling like a celebrity and ordering lots of pizza.
After high school, Jeff’s older brother Chris started playing music with us. Our band felt more complete and this was one of my favorite times in life. We played music together throughout our years in college when we would come home to San Diego from our respective universities and sending each other ideas over email in between. We needlessly went through a variety of band names, which still irritates me to this day. But Everlee was before Summer Circus, so at least I now have a chronological marker for our songs 🙂
We had so much fun together during these years, building a recording studio in Michael’s parent’s garage, and writing all sorts of songs about growing up. In the spring of 2009, Michael and I had both gotten into different grad schools in separate states. We were prepared to go and end our band life, until we got the offer to have some recording help from a family friend. We all agreed to take a gap year before entering the real world of adulthood. We played at bars and venues, recorded at a couple major studios in San Diego, and had the time of our lives.
As we all moved into different chapters, Michael and I remained together. We went to grad school, and still found ourselves connected with music but it was in a much different capacity.