The Heartless Bastards are a power trio whose members have taken a no-frills approach to life and music. Singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter Erika Wennerstrom and her brother were raised by a single mom in Dayton, OH. Wennerstrom discovered her interest in music at a young age, but she always preferred writing her own songs as opposed to singing Disney tunes in school productions. Wennerstrom dropped out of her Catholic high school her senior year, and began concentrating more on music. After a few years of working dead-end jobs in Dayton, Wennerstrom moved to Cincinnati, where she met bassist Mike Lamping, who was working at his family's janitorial supply company. Wennerstrom and Lamping began performing around town as the Heartless Bastards, and quickly added drummer and pizza delivery man Kevin Vaughn to the lineup. The band began to tour, its music rooted in and heavily influenced by garage punk (MC5), indie rock (At the Drive-In), soul (Otis Redding), roots rock (Neil Young), and blues (Leadbelly). The Heartless Bastards eventually were signed to Fat Possum Records, which released both the band's 2005 debut, Stairs and Elevators, and its follow-up, All This Time, a year later, continuing with The Mountain in 2009.