Take three geeky but music-smart guys from the high-school AV club, add their Winona Ryder-gone-punk dream date, feed them all a steady diet of Judas Priest, the Buzzcocks, and movies selected from The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, and there's a good chance the results might resemble Seattle's Schoolyard Heroes. The Schoolyard Heroes story begins in 2000, when vocalist Ryann Donnelly, guitarist Steve Bonnell, bassist Jonah Bergman, and drummer Brian Turner were all attending the same private school in Tacoma, WA. Bonnell and Bergman had just started the band when Donnelly, who had taken classical voice lessons as a child, pestered them to let her sing, and when a local youth club announced they'd be holding a Battle of the Bands, they decided to enter, with Donnelly belting out their cover of the Misfits' "Last Caress." However, they were unaware the contest was sponsored by a Christian youth group, and midway through their performance the song's lyrics caused the promoters to pull the plug.
From this inauspicious beginning, Schoolyard Heroes moved forward, blending the band's precise punk metal attack with Donnelly's full bodied, theatrical vocal style and lyrics that often cited the titles and themes of pulp novels and horror movies, and soon they were playing out regularly. Too young to appear at most Seattle clubs (Donnelly was 14 when she joined the band), Schoolyard Heroes became a regular fixture at all-ages shows in the Pacific Northwest, as well as competing in the Experience Music Project's "Sound Off" talent search (they came in second) and The Seattle Stranger's "Big Shot" Contest (they were finalists). In 2003, Schoolyard Heroes signed with the independent label The Control Group and released their first album, The Funeral Sciences. Following lots of regional gigs and a tour opening for Vendetta Red, Schoolyard Heroes released their second album, 2005's Fantastic Wounds, which fueled the flame of their growing following. In 2007, Schoolyard Heroes jumped ship to Stolen Transmission Records, home of the Horrors and the Photo Atlas; the label released the band's third album, Abominations, in mid-September of that year.