Institute was formed in 2004 in the wake of a hiatus of lead singer Gavin Rossdale's other band, Bush. Rossdale formed Institute with Chris Traynor (who had previously played with bands including Bush and Helmet) after Bush agreed upon taking a break after their last album, Golden State. The two later enlisted the help of bassist Cache Tolman (of Rival Schools fame) and drummer Josh Freese. Freese was only enlisted temporarily, as the band needed a drummer for the recording of their first album, Distort Yourself. Rossdale later recruited Charlie Walker (known for his work with Split Lip and Chamberlain, in addition to a temporary stint in Helmet) to take Freese's spot and round out the band.
After reuniting with Interscope Records (Interscope released Bush's first three albums), Rossdale started work on Distort Yourself with Interscope Producer and Helmet frontman, Page Hamilton. Rossdale chose Hamilton to produce the band's debut album after being told Hamilton could provide the guitar sound that he was looking for. Though not known for producing rock ballads, Hamilton also proved keen towards Rossdale's lighter songs, such as "Ambulances", which features Gavin's wife Gwen Stefani, singer of No Doubt and successful solo artist.
Distort Yourself was released 13 September 2005 via Interscope Records and debuted at No. 81 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts with first week sales slightly over 12,000. The album's first single, "Bulletproof Skin," reached a peak of 28th on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and 29th on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart. It was also performed on various television programs and found significant radio play. It also gained traction from being included in the main menu of the hockey video game NHL 06 from EA Sports and its inclusion in the big-budget motion picture Stealth.
Institute have played numerous Bush songs live, including (but not limited to) "Machinehead," "The People that We Love," "Swallowed," an acoustic version of "Comedown," and "Glycerine." They also performed on The Tyra Banks Show with Banks after Rossdale gave her some guitar lessons.
In late 2005, Institute opened for U2 for several of their Vertigo Tour dates. It is unlikely that Institute will reunite any time soon based on the fact that Gavin stated he "enjoyed being in that band" and that he was moving on with production of a solo album.
An unrelated band using the name Institute formed in Texas in 2013, releasing an EP titled "Salt" in 2014 and an inaugural LP titled "Catharsis" in 2015.
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