The Vines started up shortly after Craig Nicholls and Patrick Matthews met at the McDonald's they worked at in Sydney, Australia, in 1991. The Anglophiliacs were enamored with bands like Suede and the Verve, and they also shared a love for Nirvana. By 1994, they were ready to play their first gig, during which they sloppily ran through Nirvana's "Been a Son" and tracks by You Am I, an alternative band that was big in Australia at the time. By 2000, the Vines had evolved into a distinct group, with vocalist Nicholls' unpredictability getting more press with each performance. By 2001, the band was in Los Angeles, recording its first album, Highly Evolved. When the LP was released, the British press went mad for its mixture of baroque pop and spastic, grungy-garage rock. Meanwhile, Nicholls seemed to be throwing himself and his guitar into anything he could on stage. "Get Free" began to break in America, and the band started selling out gigs and ransacking late night TV shows. Their live U.S. debut took place at the Coachella festival in 2002. When their follow-up, Winning Days, was released in 2004, it was one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the year.