Greg Gillis, a/k/a Girl Talk, was born on October 26, 1981 in Pittsburgh. While a student at suburban Chartiers Valley High School, Gillis formed the experimental noise group the Joysticks (full name: The Joysticks Battle the Scanned Feed Relay to Your Skull), whose spastic, improvised performances included the setting off of indoor fireworks and the destruction of consumer electronics and toys. While still in high school, Gillis attended a party featuring live-electronics performer Kid 606, whose laptop deconstruction of N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton" proved strongly influential for Gillis, who then began deconstructing and remixing previously released samples and music on his own laptop.
In 1999, Gillis issued the debut Girl Talk single "U Are." In 2002, he then released his first full-length, SECRET DIARY, which combined Kid 606-influenced remixing and liberal use of sampling from a variety of mostly mainstream sources. After several...