Chicago based "The Reputation" began after lead singer Elizabeth Elmore and her former band "Sarge" disbanded in 1999. After recruiting ex-Sarge drummer Russ Horvath and ex-Chisel bassist and law school classmate Chris Norberg. Due to the strenuous schedule with law school and the heavy tour from their first 5 song demo, Horvath and Norberg had to call it quits. Soon after, Elmore recruited ex-Moreno guitarist Sean Hulet, drummer Scott Rosenquist, and ex-Andiamo bassist Joel Root.
Elmore took a temporary leave of absence from law school to focus on the band before signing to Initial Records in 2001. After a name and some line-up changes, the band settled on the name "The Reputation" which was a backlash at certain members of the indie music scene who promoted speculation about her sex life.
In 2002, their self titled debut album was met with positive critical acclaim with the LA Times, CMJ, and Village Voice leaving much praise. After securing a new drummer in Matt Espy, the band embarked on a North American tour. In 2003, amidst touring, songwriting, and a return to law school, the band lost yet another drummer due to personal reasons.
The end of 2003 saw the band going into the studio to record their follow up "To Force a Fate", which was released on Lookout! in April of 2004. The album was anything but easy as Elmore was finishing law school, touring with the band, and writing songs, and 14 hour studio days kept "The Reputation" quite busy. This experience was different for the band in that the other members assisted Elmore in the songwriting process.
Like their debut album, "To Force A Fate" was met with positive reviews from leading publications like Entertainment Weekly, Spin Magazine, and Blender describing her vocal prowess and the jabs of her learned history reflecting in the songwriting style. The album shot up the CMJ charts that year to #58.
The band drew comparisons to the Fastbacks, Liz Phair, Neil Young, and Elvis Costello whose song "Almost Blue" was featured in their self titled debut as a cover. In late 2006, after going through 5 drummers and several other line up changes, Elmore announced that the band had broken up.