Born in a small garage in Marshall, Michigan, Small Brown Bike set out to absorb the influences of the greatest, rawest American punk bands of the past 10 years, and then reached inside themselves to make their own music that's personal, fresh, compelling, exciting, unpredictable, and ultimately, right on the money. Several years later, with two full-length records on Gainesville, Florida's No Idea Records, Small Brown Bike received the highest praise from U.K. and regional Michigan press alike (see above). From 5 out of 5 stars in Kerrang, to sold-out shows at Gilman St. in Berkeley, Small Brown Bike has exploded onto a jaded punk scene and awakened new excitement and interest from fans and critics alike.
In 1997, two brothers (Ben and Mike Reed) and two friends, (Travis Dopp and Dan Jaquint) practiced together for the first time, and it wasn't long before they self-released two 7-inches. The band was offered a helping hand by No Idea and went to work on their first full-length, entitled Our Own Wars (June 1999). Later that year, Travis Dopp stepped down from guitar duties and long-time friend Scott Flaster stepped in. During 2000, SBB spent most of their time on the road, touring by themselves, and then joining Hot Water Music and Saves the Day. Small Brown Bike's second No Idea full-length, Dead Reckoning, was recorded in between tours at Red House Recordings in Eudora, Kansas, with Ed Rose (Get Up Kids, Coalesce, Reggie and the Full Effect). Released to international acclaim, the album was instantly hailed as a "powerful and enormous" leap forward for the band. SBB continued touring across North America, making new fans everywhere they played.
In January 2002, Travis Dopp returned to guitar and Jeff Gensterblum took over on drums. With this new line-up solidified, the band again entered Red House Recordings to work with long-time friends The Casket Lottery. The EP that resulted, Small Brown Bike and the Casket Lottery, was not a split featuring two individual bands, but an actual collaboration. Released on Second Nature Recordings in October 2002, the project went far beyond everyone's expectations; critics called it "essential" and "exceptional." Along with the band's prior efforts, the new EP grabbed the attention of Berkeley's Lookout! Records.
"Small Brown Bike caught my ear with their unique blend of aggressive and intelligent punk rock, with an honest sweetness thrown in. They're a smart, witty group of guys who simply work hard and love music. I can't wait for their leagues of fans to learn these new songs and know every beat as well as I do. I'll be there at the shows, right down in front singing every word with them."
-Cathy Bauer, Lookout! General Manager
Having recently finished work on their third full-length, "The River Bed," slated for a September 9, 2003 release on Lookout!, Small Brown Bike pushed themselves by working amid new surroundings. The album was recorded at Tempermill in Detroit, and was mixed in Omaha, Nebraska at Presto, home base for Bright Eyes, Cursive, and The Faint. Rarely has a new album by a modest bunch of Michigan boys been as eagerly awaited in the press offices of U.K. music magazines as by the inhabitants of the 40th Street Warehouse in Oakland, CA.