Story of the Year took root in the late '90s under a different name, Big Blue Monkey, in St. Louis, MO. At the time of its inception, the band's sound was much heavier (similar to the Deftones), and the lineup that would eventually become Story of the Year was not yet in place. Big Blue Monkey played frequent shows in the St. Louis area, issued several EPs, and endured the lineup fluctuations typical to any struggling combo. Creative and persistent self-promotion soon caught the ear of producer John Feldmann, who in turn brought Maverick Records into the picture. By 2002, Big Blue Monkey had become Story of the Year, signed a record contract, moved to Southern California, and toured with Feldmann and Goldfinger.