BioPatterson Hood had been writing songs since third grade and had spent a decade and a half in and out of various bands in Muscle Shoals and Auburn, Alabama before moving to Athens, Georgia. There he began writing a group of songs that became the skeleton for DBT's first two albums (Gangstabilly in 1998 and Pizza Deliverance in 1999). He co-founded the band with long-time musical partner and fellow Alabama native Mike Cooley and a bunch of really talented Georgia musicians (mostly borrowed from other local bands).
After two years on the road (documented by a live album, 2000's Alabama Ass Whuppin') the band had morphed into a tight self contained unit playing close to 200 dates a year. Independent almost to a fault, they also managed to self-finance, record and release a twenty-song, 2 CD song cycle about growing up in Muscle Shoals, people's misconceptions of Southerners, and "The Duality of The Southern Thing." 2001's Southern Rock Opera seemed to hit a nerve with fans and critics alike, earning a four-star review in Rolling Stone Magazine and ending up on many national year-end lists. Later it was reissued by Mercury / Lost Highway Records.