Signed to major label Elektra in the wake of the indie EP The Fabulous 8-Track Sound of Superdrag -- and at a moment in time when a loud, slightly abrasive pop-rock band had a chance at major stardom -- Knoxville, Tenn.'s Superdrag seemed to have it all in mid-1996. An MTV success with the video for "Sucked Out" and a Nirvana-esque howl about the death of the rock dream made frontman John Davis a pop culture face for a brief moment. Coolly puffing a cigarette (a move he repeated in the follow-up clip, "Destination Ursa Major"), Davis passionately gave a damn while not owning up to that emotion for a moment.
It didn't last, of course. A second album for Elektra, Head Trip in Every Key, scored with critics and aficionados, but didn't make an impression on radio programmers or record buyers. Like Nada Surf, another seeming flash-in-the-pan on the same major, Superdrag refused to die. Continuing to tour, they found roomfuls of listeners ready to hail Davis' songs and the group's crunchy, catchy sound. A third album, In the Valley of Dying Stars (2000), found them on the small but buzzworthy Arena Rock label. The record, along with its 2002 follow-up, Last Call for Vitriol, saw Davis and co.'s powers barely diminished.