After spending six years as a student in Germany, vocalist John Grant returned to Denver, CO, and formed the first incarnation of the Czars with bassist Chris Pearson, drummer Jeff Linsenmaier, and a revolving door of guitarists. Andy Monley, who had played with Pearson in Jux County, offered his services on guitar and eventually became a full-time member. The band sent a copy of a self-produced CD to the Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde, who had just started his own label -- Bella Union -- with bandmate Robin Guthrie. Impressed with the band's diverse mix of shoegaze and alternative country, Raymonde eventually flew the band to his September Sound studio to record 2000's Before...But Longer. The Ugly People Vs. the Beautiful People followed in 2001.