Origin: Brandon, Manitoba - Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canadian indie rock/power poppers the Perms formed in 1997 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, when Shane Smith (a bass player since the age of 15 and founder of alternative rock acts the AMC's and the Flower Pots), came into some extra cash and decided to form a new band. He enlisted his guitar/drum-playing brother Chad (a member of the alt-rock group the Savants), and high school friend Paul Thorsteinson. Within months, the trio recorded a debut album (Tight Perm); signed on to Winnipeg label, Hugtight Records; and shot a video for the single "Love at First Sight." Their first touring experiences saw them opening for established acts such as 54-40, Big Wreck, and Nickelback to much positive response.
Upon relocating to neighboring Winnipeg to access a larger music market, the Perms went through major lineup changes. These changes included the departure of Thorsteinson, the addition of former My Tragic Sister member Ian Feist on drums (Chad Smith would move from drums — his primary instrument — to the guitar), and Nick Kolisnyk on trumpet. Inserting the brass talents of the University of Winnipeg/Canadian Mennonite University-educated Kolisnyk allowed the Perms to broaden and define their sound with livelier pop/rock melodies and deeper ballads. Drawing upon combined musical influences (Ben Folds, Sloan, Weezer, Chicago, Elvis Costello, the Beach Boys, and the Beatles), the Perms completed work on their second album, Clark Drive, and released it in August 2002.