Yellowcard was an American rock band that formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1997 and was based in Los Angeles beginning in 2000. The band is well known for its singles “Ocean Avenue“, “Only One“, and “Lights and Sounds“. The group’s music is distinctive within its genre because it features the prominent use of a violin. The band released ten studio albums, with its most recent and final one, Yellowcard, released on September 30, 2016. The band played its final show on March 25, 2017, at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California.
Yellowcard was formed in 1997 in Jacksonville, Florida, after its members met at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. The band got its name from a phrase its members used in high school: whenever somebody did something stupid at a party, such as spilling beer on the carpet, they cited soccer laws and gave the offender a “yellow card” for committing a “party foul”.
Yellowcard’s original lineup featured Ben Dobson on vocals, Todd Clary on guitar and vocals, Ben Harper on guitar, Warren Cooke on bass, and Longineu Parsons III on drums. Modern Amusement frontman Ryan Key appeared as a guest, on background vocals, as did violinist Sean Mackin. Key had also been in California band Craig’s Brother.
Yellowcard recorded its first EP, Midget Tossing, at the Music Factory in Jacksonville Beach with Michael Ray FitzGerald at the board. Where We Stand, the band’s debut studio album, featured the same lineup as Midget Tossing, and Mackin was brought in for more songs. Soon, however, the band fired Dobson and replaced him with former guest vocalist Key. This changed the band’s style from hardcore punk to pop punk.
In early 2000, Yellowcard recorded the Still Standing EP. Soon after it was released, Todd Clary left the band. Key then filled both Clary’s and Dobson’s duties, guitar and vocals respectively. After sending the new EP to friend Steve Lubarsky at Lobster Records, the band signed its first recording contract in June 2000 and in November, headed west to Camarillo, California, to begin working on another full-length album. The group released its third album, One for the Kids (Lobster Records), in 2001 and followed up with The Underdog EP (Fueled by Ramen Records) in 2002. Both of these were well received by fans. However, soon after The Underdog EP was released, Warren Cooke left for personal reasons on July 16, 2002. The band then asked Pete Mosely from Inspection 12 to play bass, and he joined the band four days later.
Shortly after releasing The Underdog EP, Yellowcard signed with Capitol Records. The group recorded their major-label debut Ocean Avenue in February-March 2003 and released on July 22, 2003. During the recording of the album, Mosely left Yellowcard, devoting his time to his first band, Inspection 12, and finishing the band’s album, Get Rad. The members of Yellowcard began the search for a new bass player and chose Alex Lewis, whose sister, Alieke Wijnveldt, contributed vocals to the Ocean Avenue track “View from Heaven”. After Lewis joined, the band filmed an unreleased music video for the song “Powder”. The video was later put on the enhanced version of Ocean Avenue.
Yellowcard released its first single from Ocean Avenue, “Way Away“. The song did well on MTV2 and rock radio, peaking at No. 25 on the modern-rock charts. The song created enough buzz to cause the band’s mainstream explosion. In the middle of the band’s first headlining tour, Peter Mosely decided to leave Inspection 12 and asked if he could rejoin Yellowcard. Because Mosely had been an integral part of the writing for Ocean Avenue and had also been friends with most of the band’s members since high school, Lewis was asked to leave on March 1, 2004, and Mosely was reinstated as the bass player.
In late 2003, Yellowcard finally broke through with a hit single, “Ocean Avenue“, in part due to the song premiering on MTV‘s TRL program. Radio eventually picked up on the single, with it peaking at No. 37 on the BillboardHot 100 during the summer of 2004. The band experienced its peak popularity during the second half of 2004. They were cover features on Alternative Press magazine, a headliner of the 2004 Warped Tour, performed “Ocean Avenue” and won the MTV2 award at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, and were featured in the season 2 premiere of One Tree Hill with their song “Empty Apartment”. The band was featured episode 3 in season 8 of MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge (later abridged to “The Challenge”), performing “Way Away” while cast members trashed a mock hotel room for a “rock star redecoration” challenge. The album’s first track, “Way Away”, appeared on the soundtracks of SSX 3 and Madden NFL 2004. The album’s second track, “Breathing”, also appeared in EA‘s Burnout 3: Takedown and FlatOut 2. Following “Ocean Avenue”‘s success, the band released the single “Only One“, a rock ballad which also did fairly well on TRL and radio. The Ocean Avenue album sold over one million copies in the U.S. alone.
As Ocean Avenue’s popularity began to decrease, Yellowcard spent some time contributing songs to various other soundtracks. The first, “Gifts and Curses”, appeared in the hit film Spider-Man 2. Another, a cover of Lagwagon‘s “Violins”, was featured on Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2 compilation album. At the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, Yellowcard performed a cover of the song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” during a special tribute to the movie The Breakfast Club.
On August 13, 2013, an acoustic version of Ocean Avenue was released in honor of the album’s 10th anniversary.