Ol' Yeller had a pretty good run. The group Rich Mattson started in 2000 called it quits on July 26, 2008 after a farewell show in their hometown of Minneapolis. Reason being, well, life got in the way. Mattson, a die-hard musician performing in 3 separate groups, also a producer/studio owner, had a rough time getting his Ol' Yeller bandmates in to rehearse and/or record new material since moving 200 miles north to Sparta MN. 200 miles is a long distance for a band to hold itself together. Add to that new babies, and carpentry businesses, and a rock and roll dream is doomed..for most.
In the spring of 2007 Mattson recorded a 9-song cd for Hotel Coral Essex, a band fronted by his old friends from (Duluth's favorite rock and/or roll band) Giljunko; Tony Derrick and Pat Nelson. The songs, written mostly by Derrick, were heralded by Mattson as some of the best music to ever come through his new Sparta Sound studio. A year later, as the Hotel Coral Essex was falling apart, Derrick returned to the studio to record some new demos. He brought along HCE bassist Jason Kokal. Rich was invited to play on the sessions. The three of them crafted away at more amazing tunes. Mattson himself had been demoing new songs on his own, playing all the instruments himself, facetiously calling the project "Rich Mattson and the Tisdales"; Tisdale being the wine of choice, a cheap wine that is somewhat hard to find on the Iron Range. During a break at one of these Tony Derrick sessions, Mattson suggested that perhaps the two of them should "join forces", keep the solid Jason "Kokes" Kokal on the bass and find the best available drummer.
After auditioning somewhere around 5 drummers, they brought in the young Derek Rolando, of Eveleth MN. Derek also drums with the Six 9's, a cover band that dabbles in original music and recorded at Sparta Sound. When Mattson gave him a cd of 16 songs on a Thursday and the four of them got together the following Sunday, Rolando "outplayed them all." The Tisdales were born.