Based out of New York City, the energetic and danceable punk of the A.K.A.s materialized around vocalist Mike Ski, the former frontman for influential Pennsylvania hardcore outfit Brother's Keeper. He relocated from Erie to N.Y.C. while BK were still active, and though the band managed to release one more album and tour worldwide, the distance ultimately proved too much and they eventually fizzled. Ski (who also does graphic design work on the side) moved on and got together with some guys he'd met in the city, guitarist Lukas Previn and bassist Chad Bowser (ex-the Heartdrops), to begin anew. Going through some drummers, the band settled down when Ski's former Brother's Keeper bandmate Bob Williams relocated to come on board behind the drum kit. the A.K.A.s wrote early material as a four-piece, but when their friend Nina Aron came to the studio one day to just hang out, her half-serious performance on some tracks quickly resulted in her (and her Farfisa organ) becoming a permanent addition. Channeling the trashy vigor of bands like the New York Dolls and MC5, the A.K.A.s started a buzz in 2002 with their self-released three-song EP, The A.K.A.s Are Everywhere. This eventually led them to perform at 2003's SXSW festival, where the gang impressed Fueled by Ramen so much that they were quickly signed and thrown in the studio with producer Tim O'Heir to record their debut album. The resulting White Doves and Smoking Guns was released in September 2003 to positive response. In early 2004, Aron parted ways with the group and another Brother's Keeper alum, Chris Bazan, joined on. They continued touring over the next few years, including a stint on the 2004 Rock Against Bush tour (alongside Anti-Flag, Midtown, and more), and played shows with Lost City Angels, T.S.O.L., and the Kinison. More lineup reshuffling occurred over time and by late 2006, the A.K.A.s featured vocalist Ski, guitarist Bazan, keyboardist Josie Outlaw, bassist Justin Perry, and drummer Chachi Darin.