L.A.'s Phantom Planet formed at a local Pizza Hut in 1994, years before the bandmates' association with The O.C. helped catapult their mix of power pop songcraft and indie rock guitars into the mainstream. During the band's early stages, members Jacques Brautbar (guitar), Sam Farrar (bass), Alex Greenwald (vocals/guitar), Darren Robinson (guitar), and Jason Schwartzman (drums) played around with post-grunge stylings while taking their name from a 1960s sci-fi film. The band's moniker wasn't the only thing linking them to the movies, however. Schwartzman is the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola and the son of Talia Shire, and he later made a name for himself by starring in such films as Rushmore (1998) and Slackers (2002). Greenwald spent time modeling and became a familiar face in the chic Gap commercials during the new millennium; he also played a sociopath in the black comedy flick Donnie Darko (2001). Finally, Farrar is the son of renowned singer/songwriter John Farrar, who penned "You're the One That I Want" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You" for the 1978 smash musical Grease, as well as other chart-toppers for Olivia Newton-John.
Phantom Planet began playing shows throughout the L.A. area during the mid-'90s, which helped them ink a deal with Geffen Records in 1997. The group's debut album, Phantom Planet Is Missing, arrived the following year. Critics weren't quick to champion the band's sound, but Phantom Planet still enjoyed a heightened profile, with several members landing guest spots on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Get Real. In early 2001, Phantom Planet returned to the studio to work on a follow-up effort with Tchad Blake (Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow) and Mitchell Froom (Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney). A year later, The Guest appeared on the Dreamworks label, and "California" was picked as the opening theme to the wildly popular television series The O.C. Nevertheless, Jason Schwartzman announced his departure from the band in August 2003, although he continued to release music with his own Coconut Records project. Phantom Planet's 2004 self-titled third album introduced their new drummer, Jeff Conrad, while the band moved to Fueled by Ramen for the release of 2008's Raise the Dead. ~ Andrew Leahey & MacKenzie Wilson