The Dopamines is an American punk-rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio, formed in late 2006 by Matt Hemingway (drums), Jon Lewis (guitar, vocals) and Jon Weiner (bass, vocals).
In 2008, Hemingway left the band (over personal matters) and Michael Dickson quickly took over as the permanent drummer.
Occasionally, the band tours with a second guitarist, the position most frequently filled by Mikey Erg from The Ergs!. Roger Lima, from Less Than Jake, and Dan Webb, from Dan Webb and the Spiders, have also filled the spot of touring guitarist over the course of the band's history.
The Dopamines formed as a side-project band, focusing on the ethos of "not taking ourselves or our band seriously" as a response to the overwhelming seriousness of the members' experience with previous bands they were in.
In 2006, both Lewis and Hemingway were in the skate-punk band Black Tie Bombers, another local Cincinnati band. Black Tie Bombers frontman Ryan Rockwell (Mixtapes) and Lewis had started a side-project band Ukraine Crane with Weiner in 2005, thus linking the introduction of The Dopamines founding members.
After a short tour with the pop-punk band The Queers in 2007 (which began the long-term relationship with Matt "Drastic" Yonker – who was drumming with The Queers at the time and would go on to record most of The Dopamines' material), Black Tie Bombers disbanded on mutual terms; Ukraine Crane followed suit shortly thereafter.
By this time Hemingway, Lewis and Weiner had already taken their side project to the next level, honing their sound and style in the form of a six-song demo that quickly gained momentum thanks to the Pop Punk Message Board, an online forum centered around pop-punk music from all over the world. Through the message board, It's Alive Records owner Adam Ali sought out the trio and offered to release what would become the band's 2008 self-titled début album.
Début album; split record with Till Plains; and the Insuborination Fest live CD/DVD (2007–2008)
In the summer 2007, the band went to the Drastic Sounds studio, in Nashville, Tennessee; Drastic Sounds is the home studio of Yonker, better known as the drummer of the Teen Idols and Bullets to Broadway. Drastic Sounds and The Dopamines would begin a long and rewarding relationship / friendship together, beginning with an 18 song recording session lasting just under two weeks.
Fourteen songs were kept for the self-titled full-length album and two would later be released in December 2008 on a split 7" record with Till Plains, both on It's Alive Records. The remaining two songs "Bad Day" and "Pity Party" (demo versions can be heard on the band's self-titled demo) have still never received an official release, but have been distributed by the band in the past digitally via the PPMB .
The album's official release was at the Insubordination Fest, in Baltimore, Maryland – the band's first festival appearance after a short tour with the Jetty Boys and The Leftovers. This is probably the genesis of the "crazy, beer fueled shows" for which the band would eventually become known. That weekend, video crews recorded the entire festival, and band's set would later be released (amongst many others) on Insubordination Records as a live CD/DVD.
The critical response to the self-titled album was positive and enthusiastic. The punk-rock fanzine Razorcake described, "...they sound like they're having the times of their lives, playing to a sweaty basement of wigging-out friends. That energy and the precision how they play make this record a fun, strong listen."
Soap and Lampshades EP; departure of Matt Hemingway; Songs About Fucking Up, Dangerous Intersections III (2008–2009)
Following the Insubordination Fest, the band returned to Drastic Studios to record eight more songs in two days in July 2008.
In September 2008, a personal dispute within the band at a local Cincinnati show resulted in the departure of Drummer Matt Hemingway. Instead of resolving matters post-incident, Lewis and Weiner would choose to move on without Matt and seek a new drummer.
Shortly after Hemingway's departure, Lewis and Weiner returned to Drastic Sounds to complete tracking on what would become "The Soap and Lampshades" six song EP. Matt Hemingway opted to take back a song he wrote for the EP, leaving the B-side "My Future's so Bright I Have to Wear Night Vision Goggles" as the only remaining track from the session. That song would end up on Volume III of the Traffic Street Records "Dangerous Intersections" 4- way split series along with Todd Congelliere, Apocalypse Meow and Closet Fairies.
With ample time left at the studio, Jon, Jon, and Matt Yonker (filling in on Drums for the session) recorded two new songs "Try This Kids at Home!" and "October 24th" for the "Songs About Fucking Up" split 7" with the Copyrights on It's Alive Records.
Both 7"s were released in the spring of 2009.
Touring; "Expect The Worst"; Arrival of Mikey Erg (2009-2010)
In 2009, the band released an extended play Soap And Lampshades; a split album with The Copyrights; and a live CD and DVD of its performance at the 2008 Insubordination Fest.
In 2010, the band released its second album "Expect The Worst" on Paper + Plastick Records, and went on tour with Paper + Plastick founder Vinnie Fiorello's band Less Than Jake.
In March 2011, the band started recording on a new album, produced by Yonker; the album, Vices, was released in June 2012.