Vocalist Tom Higgenson's basement, or "The Pad," was where all of the magic began. After covering various punk bands for a while, he began to write music of his own - introducing it to his musically inclined friends, they officially formed The Plain White T's in 1997.
Growing up in Chicago, the world, in a way, was at their fingertips.
"It was a great scene in Chicago. We came up with all of these other bands and we traded shows with each other," Higgenson said.
Through trading shows with other Chicago and surrounding area bands, the group blew up. They played in places like Ville Park, Naperville, The Metro and Fireside Bowl.
"[We] just really built it up from the ground with all of our friends, Higgenson said.
How do you go from playing punk covers to happy-go-luckyish songs? A car accident can have some influence on that.
In 1999, Higgenson was involved in a nearly fatal car accident - it was then that something clicked.
"I [said], 'You know what? I should have died, but I didn't. So while I'm still here, I'm going to write - I'm going to really put myself into these songs and [write] really personal stuff.'"
As the main songwriter, Higgenson's accident had a huge effect on the band's music and writing process. Whenever he began to really put himself into the lyrics, he wrote about basic everyday things from seeing a pretty girl at the airport to wondering about the mark he might be leaving in the world like with the song "Helium."
The first huge song for the band wasn't "Hey There Delilah" but instead was "Hate." Delilah wasn't supposed to overshadow their first single, but it exploded unexpectedly.
""Hey There Delilah" was on MySpace and it just took on a life of its own. Every comment we had was like, 'Oh my God, "Hey there Delilah" is such a good song.' Everybody's profile that we'd go to used that song on their