The Red Hot Valentines

After forming in a dorm room at an Illinois college, The Red Hot Valentines quickly took shape when founding members Jeff Johnson and Toby Kirk began collaborating on guitars and vocals. "We originally set out to write the catchiest pop songs possible and along with the guitars, we used this little Casio synth" explains Johnson. "In a way, it was our own sarcastic response to the cheesy mainstream pop stuff that was becoming popular at the time," Kirk elaborates. Melding early 90's rock influences with a more overt pop sensibility earned the attention of drummer Eric Humbert and bassist David Gerkin. The band soon relocated to Champaign, Illinois where full time keyboardist Tyson Markley traded in the Casio synth for a Moog Prodigy, becoming the fifth member.

The Red Hot Valentines self-recorded and self-released their eponymous debut in January 2002 followed by a split EP with Retro Morning released in the spring of 2002. The band's audience in the Midwest continued to grow, thanks in part to overwhelming support from Champaign-Urbana's resurgent music community. Encouraged by their success at home, the Red Hots decided to take their show on the road. This led to tour stories involving such things as armadillo sightings, Texas high school football, and a visit to the Pearl Brewing Company (home of Pabst Blue Ribbon). Equally as important were the crowds of kids they rocked to from Sante Fe to New York City and everywhere else in between.

June 2002 saw the band signing with local label Polyvinyl Records. The band soon entered Pogo Studio to record their Calling Off Today EP with engineer Mark Rubel (Hum, Shiner). January 2003, they again returned to Pogo Studio to record Summer Fling, their debut Polyvinyl full-length which saw release in May 2003.

After active touring throughout 2003 and 2004, The Red Hot Valentines went their separate ways.