Say Anything is the pop-punk brainchild of singer/songwriter Max Bemis, who founded the band while its initial members were still attending high school in Los Angeles. Although the lineup has featured rotating cast of characters throughout its existence, Bemis remains at the band’s core, spinning tales of insecurity and frustation with help from longtime drummer Coby Linder. Say Anything first appeared with two self-released and self-produced EPs — Junior Varsity! and Menorah/Majora, the latter being released online — and a full-length album, 2003’s Baseball. These releases saw the band leaning toward the emo rock/pop-punk formula made popular by bands like blink-182 and Saves the Day. Bemis soon grew tired of the genre and revamped his band’s sound for …Is a Real Boy, their debut on Doghouse Records in 2004. A self-described punk rock musical, the album was fittingly produced by Tim O’Heir (Dinosaur Jr., the All-American Rejects) and Stephen Trask (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), with Bemis playing nearly every instrument on the record. Bemis‘ bipolar disorder proved to be increasingly disruptive, however, plaguing both the recording of the album and its aftermath. Struggled with crippling stress, the singer suffered a nervous breakdown that ultimately led Say Anything to drop off two tours in 2005, including an opening slot with the band’s idols, Saves the Day. Despite the setback, the band signed with J Records that same year and reissued …Is a Real Boy in February 2006. The re-release boasted two discs, pairing the original record with a bonus EP containing demos, re-recordings of previous songs, and sessions from a never-released AIDS benefit record. A national headlining tour followed the reissue, and the single “Alive with the Glory of Love” found some success on radio and the MTV networks. Momentum continued to build as the band toured into 2007, eventually pairing with Saves the Day for a second attempt at touring. The effort was successful this time around, and Say Anything released a two-disc concept album, In Defense of the Genre, that October.