The band established themselves in the indie scene with their 1998 release of the concept album Leitmotif, landing them a deal with Interscope Records. Dredg released El Cielo in 2002 and in 2005 released the album Catch Without Arms. The band is most often associated with progressive and art rock.
The name Dredg may have come from the English word dredge, which in its verbal usage means to unearth or widen/deepen a river or channel; dredge is also the name of the device used to perform this function. In 2005, Campanella added, "It was so long ago that we named it I can't even remember. Honestly, we don't even like the name anymore. We mostly don't like the way it sounds. It doesn't roll off the tongue well."
In 1996, Dredg recorded and released their first demos of original material, the Conscious EP, garnering them exposure as far away as Boston. Currently, very little information has ever been released about these demos. In 1997, they released what would become the early stages of their musical transition, the Orph EP. While the EP shows their nu metal upbringings, it includes the group's first instrumental track, "Orph". Additionally, the track "Kayasuma" shares its title with the name of the shaman in Leitmotif's liner notes for "Lechium". With the release, Dredg slowly built a name for themselves in the Bay Area, as well as on the East Cost, such as Boston and New York.
Over the next two years, Dredg toured mostly within California, slowly expanding their fan base. The band began sending out a demo tape to several labels with four new songs intended for their next album, "Of the Room", "Redrawing the Island Map", "Running Through Propellers" and "The Papal Insignia". In February 2001, Dredg was offered a deal by Interscope Records. As part of the deal, Leitmotif was re-released by Interscope on September 11, 2001.
With the re-release of Leitmotif, Dredg toured nationally and internationally in support of the record with bands such as Alien Ant Farm, Pressure 4-5, The Apex Theory, Taproot, Deadsy and Onesidezero.
When the band began writing material for the new album, they secluded themselves in the deserts around Palm Desert. The majority of the album was recorded at Skywalker Ranch. The band used three producers, Ron Saint Germain, Tim Palmer and Jim Scott, on the record, adding an additional layer of diversity to the album. Completed in May 2002, the album was widely available on the internet before being released on October 8, 2002. Dredg made music videos for two of the album's tracks, "Same Ol' Road" and "Of The Room".
Upon releasing the album, the band once again returned to their hectic touring schedule, including their first national headline tour with Codeseven, a then-unsigned Strata and either STUN or Woven supporting. They also toured with acts such as Ozomatli, Deftones, Chevelle, Hoobastank and Phantom Planet, as well as earning a spot on the Sno-Core Tour with Sparta, Glassjaw and Hot Water Music.
While touring in support of El Cielo, Dredg began work on their third album, Catch Without Arms, spending 8 months writing material before taking another 10 months to record and mix the album. Like their previous albums, Catch Without Arms was a concept album; however, differing from the concrete stories and events surrounding their earlier releases, Catch Without Arms was about opposites, mainly focused on positives and negatives. Produced by Terry Date, Catch Without Arms was Dredg's most successful album, debuting at 124 on the Billboard album charts and eventually reaching the top of the Heatseekers chart. The only single on the album, "Bug Eyes", was made into a music video directed by Philip Andelman.
With the release of Catch Without Arms, Dredg began a treasure hunt based around the Bay Area. The three winners each received a painting from Catch Without Arms, as well as the opportunity to name a song for the next album, "Vague Clues and Long Days".
Dredg headlined several tours in support of Catch Without Arms, playing with bands such as Circa Survive, Day One Symphony, Delta Activity, Vedera, Ours and Ambulette. They played the Taste of Chaos tour in 2006 with Deftones, Atreyu, Thrice and Story of the Year, as well as shows with Coheed and Cambria, The Blood Brothers and MewithoutYou. Engles and Campanella also took some time to record the soundtrack for the 2006 independent film, Waterborne.
On May 11, 2006, Dredg recorded their concert in San Francisco for a live CD entitled Live at the Fillmore. Released on November 7, 2006, Live at the Fillmore contained songs from all three studio albums, as well as a new song titled "The Warbler". A remix of "Sang Real" by Dan the Automator was released with purchase of the album on iTunes.
On September 14 and 15, 2006, Dredg played two special shows at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, California, playing Leitmotif and El Cielo in their entirety on separate nights. During these shows, songs from Catch Without Arms were played before diving into the full album of the night. Of note, each night a very early version of "It's Not Worth It" (a song that may appear on their upcoming album) was played at about the mid-point of each album. On the second night, as a segue into El Cielo, an early instrumental version of "Wondrous Miracle" (another song that may appear on the upcoming album) was played.
On February 14, 2007, Dredg issued an update on their website and MySpace blog detailing production on a new album. The updated announced several working song titles, including "Ireland", "Hurricane Felix", "Pieces of Gold", "Wondrous Miracle", "Fleeing to Mexico", "It's Not Worth It", "Long Days and Vague Clues", "2001", and "Fucking Smile Pt. 2".
On July 8, 2007, lead singer Hayes posted a Myspace blog with new information on the forthcoming album. Hayes said that the band has 12-15 songs that may or may not make the final cut, with more songs expected to be written during the recording process. Of the songs previously performed or mentioned in other updates, only "Ireland", "Quotes", "Wondrous Miracle", and "Push Away" are listed as being worked on. In addition, a new song entitled "Light Switch" was mentioned.
On December 21, 2007, a Myspace update stated that the writing process for their new album is almost done, and they plan to enter the studio in early 2008 to start recording. This will be followed by extensive touring in the spring. The band provided several new working titles, including "Gathering Pebbles", "Mourning This Morning", and "McGuffin".
The band posted a new updated on their MySpace page on January 31, 2008 stating that they will be playing at the Coachella Festival in California on April 26. Directly afterwards they will enter the studio to begin recording their new album and begin a full US tour in the summer.
Since late February, the band has been posting several previews of demos for songs rumored to be on their upcoming album, including "Push Away", "Quotes", and "Holding a Remedy Potion". They also added a song entitled "entire new album", which was a track consisting of every song played at once. In addition to these songs, during recent live shows, Dredg has been playing several new songs, including "Waterbourne", "I Don't Know", "Wondrous Miracle", "Ireland", "It's Not Worth It", "Saviour" and "Where I'll End Up".