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Californian post-nu-metal quartet Trapt formed in the '90s while the original lineup were still in high school, where Chris Taylor Brown and Peter Charell absorbed the heavy rock sound of Korn, Soundgarden, and Metallica. Both were music geeks and naturally flirted with the idea of getting a group together. Casual gigs in school motivated them even more, leaving Brown and Charell to design what would become Trapt. In 1997, guitarist Simon Ormandy joined the band. The trio recorded its own demo and landed gigs in and around the suburbs of southern California. Within a year, Trapt were opening for the likes of Papa Roach, Dredg, and Spike 1000, but high-school graduation loomed ahead.
Trapt's second album, Amalgamation, was self-released in 1998, but the band's dynamic was shifting. Ormandy and Brown were attending classes at UC Santa Barbara by fall 1999 while Charell was several hours away at UC Santa Cruz. The band met up on weekends for rehearsals and shows, and also managed to issue another record, Glimpse, in early 2000, with hopes that a record label would notice. As luck would have it, Trapt impressed those at the Immortal label after a standout gig at the Troubadour one evening in late 2000. Talks of a deal were in the works, but Immortal walked away from the band after eight weeks.
Each member eventually dropped out of school and moved to Los Angeles to focus solely on Trapt. Seattle native Aaron "Monty" Montgomery joined to play drums and, after a 9/11 benefit show, Warner Bros. offered the band a deal in late 2001. A year later, Trapt released their self-titled debut album, featuring their biggest hit "Headstrong," which topped the Billboard rock chart and peaked in the Top 20 of the Billboard 200.