Hawthorne Heights did not shape up at an instant. They went through several line-up changes and a couple of altered stage names before finally settling with the five-piece consisting of Eron Bucciarelli, Matt Ridenour, J.T. Woodruff, Casey Calvert and Micah Carli. But their journey began with A Day in the Life which was established in summer 2001. The Dayton band recorded an EP "Four Bullets for One Girl" that received local attention and went on selling 500 copies within a couple of months. Confined Records consequently became their recording house and dropped the band's first album "Nine Reasons to Say Goodbye". They also recorded one more EP called "Paper Chromatography: The Fade from Dark to Light" in 2003, the same year when they decided to take another turn becoming Hawthorne Heights.
After the praises on their demos and local gigs traveled though the ears of music producers, the war to sign them began with Victory Records living up to its name. Under the new label, the band entered the studio to record "The Silence in Black and White" which was in shelves in 2004. Due to the popularity of single "Ohio is for Lovers", the album was sold more than 1 million copies, becoming Victory's biggest selling record at that time. Due to their youth appeal, the band were nominated at 2005 mtvU Woodie Awards for Streaming Woodie (Most Downloaded), thanks to "Ohio is for Lovers".
Soon after the release, the band began promoting the LP in a national tour and took time to record for the next project. 2006 marked the release of their sophomore effort, "If Only You Were Lonely" that, propelled by their debut's success, reached #3 on Billboard Hot 200 chart. This achievement came under fire when there were reports saying that Victory launched a street team whose job was to make the album more prominent than Ne-Yo's album "In My Own Words" that was released on the same day. The team had been criticized for allegedly rearranging store displays to hide Ne-Yo's LP and put the Hawthorne's on the spotlight. Despite the controversy, the album spawned a popular hit titled "Saying Sorry" that sat at the top ten on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.
The 'street team controversy' consequently led to the band having some internal rift with the label. In August 2006, they announced that they planned to leave Victory and even sued the label for not paying royalties and damaging their image. The band claimed that they were not acknowledged on any street team and unveiled that the head of Victory, Tony Brummel was "greed driven". Despite the released statement, the band toured in support of "If Only" and worked on their third album for the label. Sadly, a tragic death occurred within the band when guitarist Casey Calvert was found dead in their tour bus in November 2007. It was later on revealed that he died of accidental mixture of medications during his sleep just before the band was due to have a sound check for a Washington, D.C. concert. "It was especially weird for us at our first show back," said drummer Bucciarelli post the death. "We have had to come to grips with all this, but Casey will always be in our hearts forever." Without Casey, the band released their third album "Fragile Future" under Victory on August 5, 2008.