A major player throughout the post-grunge boom of the late ’90s, Lit featured the combined talents of frontman A. Jay Popoff, his guitar-playing brother Jeremy, bassist Kevin Baldes, and drummer Allen Shellenberger. The group formed in 1990 in Orange County, California, where it initially performed metal-influenced music under the name Razzle. After changing their name, Lit began embracing a spunky brand of punk-pop that helped attract a local following in California. The group sold out local venues (including Club 369 in Fullerton) and issued two recordings: an EP, Five Smokin’ Tracks from Lit; and the full-length Tripping the Light Fantastic, which arrived during the spring of 1997 and became a college radio hit.
Lit then landed a contract with RCA Records, which released the follow-up effort A Place in the Sun two years later. This proved to be Lit’s breakthrough record, as the catchy rock riffs of “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Zip-Lock,” and “Miserable” all paved the way for platinum sales. With “My Own Worst Enemy” topping the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart, Lit toured the country alongside groups like the Offspring, No Doubt, and Garbage. Furthermore, they performed a set at Woodstock 1999 and earned a spot on the 2000 Vans Warped Tour.
A third album, Atomic, was released in fall 2001, spawning several singles including “Lipstick and Bruises.” A self-titled album arrived in 2004, marking Lit’s fourth full-length effort (as well as their first release on the Nitrus label). In 2008, drummer Shellenberger was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He died on August 13, 2009 at the age of 39. Nathan Walker was added as the band’s drummer and Lit began work on new material. In 2012, Lit released their fifth studio album, the Butch Walker-produced The View from the Bottom. They dedicated the album to Shellenberger.