Back in the mid 90s, a band called Cymonic Drive featured Dan (now in the band Madhops) on bass and Dennis AKA D-hauz (now ex-20 Dead Flower Children) on vocals. While another band called Skumbag featured Steve (now of Taproot) on drums and Mike (now of Taproot) on guitar. One day these bands played a gig together and they both took an interest in each other's band. After a few conversations, the 4 members dissolved their current bands and formed the first incarnation of Taproot. The initial line-up featured D-hauz on vocals, Mike on guitar, Dan on bass and Steve on drums.
The band's first song was "Coma 99" which later went on to become a 20 Dead Flower Children song in a different version. Things went well at the start but the band's line-up only lasted about 3–4 months when it was cut short by D-hauz leaving the band to join 20 Dead Flower Children after their original singer left the band. With no singer to front the band Dan left shortly after and formed Madhops. Taproot's future wasn't looking too bright until Steve stepped out from behind the drumkit and attempted the vocal duties, it turned out that Steve could sing adequately which brought Dan back into the fold to lay down the bass on some demo tracks (one of which included the song from Taproot's debut album, ...Something More Than Nothing, called "Negative Rein4sment", in which Dan can also be heard busting a freestyle on). The new band configuration worked out well but Dan was well into Madhops and returned to them leaving Steve and Mike to search out a few new musicians to take their place. They first found Phil, their current bass player, before finding J-rod, their long-time drummer, which worked well and was their stable line-up back then.
In 1997, Taproot sent their demo to Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. Impressed with their material, he offered to get them a recording contract through Interscope Records. However, after extended negotiations, Taproot looked elsewhere, where they finally landed a lucrative record deal with Atlantic Records. Durst heavily cursed the band on vocalist Stephen Richards' answering machine. He also put some blame on System of a Down, who assisted Taproot in securing the Atlantic deal. In retaliation, Durst also kicked System of a Down off the 1999 Family Values Tour. Taproot later went on to independently release three albums: ...Something More Than Nothing (1998), Mentobe (1998) and Upon Us(1999).