Justin Mauriello made a mark on the pop-punk community in the mid- to late '90s as vocalist and guitarist for Orange County rap-punk group Zebrahead, where his distinctive singing complemented the rapping of co-frontman Ali Tabatabaee. The boisterous quintet released its third full-length album, MFZB, in 2003, and the following year Mauriello took to writing songs on the side to soothe the growing creative differences he was experiencing with the rest of the band. This outside work eventually took on a life of its own, and before the end of 2004 caused Mauriello to make his exit from Zebrahead to start a new band and fully see the new music through.
Based out of Huntington Beach, CA, I Hate Kate came to life around a love of power pop/rock and took their moniker from the name of a friend's then-girlfriend who Mauriello, well...hated. Bassist Scott Hayden and guitarist Jeremy Berghorst joined up and the group was off and running. They first released the album Act One, and because it became a rare find over time, half of its songs were later re-recorded for the band's eventual full-length, Embrace the Curse. The original version of Embrace the Curse was recorded in 2006 at their producer's home studio on a minimal budget and released in Japan in April 2007. Irresistible pop/rock with huge choruses and singalong melodies epitomized I Hate Kate, and unsurprisingly, the polished music quickly caught the attention of the programming director of Denver radio station KTCL. Favorite single "It's Always Better" was played repeatedly on the airwaves in early 2007, and listener support steadily took the song to the top.
A sold-out show at Denver's Bluebird Theater followed in the summer, and Glassnote Records head Daniel Glass was in attendance. He liked what he saw, and the band was signed. By the year's end, I Hate Kate had reentered the studio to record a new song and remix a few old ones with producer Mark Trombino (blink-182, Jimmy Eat World). Glassnote released the ridiculously catchy new version of Embrace the Curse in June 2008. By that point, shows with groups like Social Distortion, Hot Hot Heat, My Chemical Romance, and Unwritten Law had been played in venues throughout the U.S., Canada, and Japan. ~ Corey Apar