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Drummer Ryan O'Connor and bassist Joe Lussa formed the core of the band in their hometown of Chicago in 2003, working with a revolving cast of musicians in their early years. They recorded their first album, All in Your Head, at The Gallery of Carpet before Danny Stevens, Seth Johnson and Timmy Klepek joined the group, and played some gigs with other local Chicago acts like The Academy Is.... Stevens, who became the singer, was originally brought in to play guitar for the band. TheAUDITION then signed to Victory Records; national touring followed, and Controversy Loves Company, their debut LP for the label, was released in September 2005 to mixed reviews. The band's lineup at the time of the CD release included O'Connor, Lussa, guitarists Seth Johnson and Timmy Klepek, and vocalist Danny Stevens. Touring with Silverstein and Spitalfield ensued in February 2006; more touring with Mae and Lovedrug followed later in 2006.
In early 2007 the band joined Head Automatica and Jack's Mannequin on The West Coast Winter Tour, including dates in Canada. Following this they headlined a nationwide tour, supported by Monty Are I, New Atlantic, and The Graduate. They have also toured nationally with Rock Kills Kid. They played on the Warped Tour in 2006 and returned for Warped Tour 2007. They also supported Boys Like Girls on Tourzilla with All Time Low, We the Kings, and Valencia in late 2007.