Virgin Records has announced the signing of acclaimed punk-pop outfit the Starting Line via a worldwide deal. The Philadelphia-based quartet will record and release their much-anticipated follow-up to 2005’s smash Drive-Thru/Geffen release, “BASED ON A TRUE STORY” later this year. “I cannot express how excited we all are about this,” says TSL guitarist Matt Watts. “Everyone at Virgin that we’ve met with are fans of the band and we’re looking forward to this relationship and making the best TSL record possible. To have a new life with Virgin adds a fresh level of enthusiasm to our band and to our music. All of us in the Starting Line are very excited to see what the future holds for us.” “I recently saw the Starting Line play a show in Providence, R.I. where I witnessed 10,000 kids singing along with their songs,” notes Virgin Records Chairman and CEO Jason Flom. “These guys have built a remarkable following and I am thrilled that they have chosen Virgin to be their home as they move on to become full-fledged superstars.” Widely hailed as one of today’s most exciting live acts, the band — currently co-headlined the U.K. MxPx tour — are set to kick off a major North American headline tour upon their return. The dates commence on February 11th with a homestate gig in Millvale, Pennsylvania, and continue through an April 13th show at Hartford, Connecticut’s Webster Theatre (see attached itinerary). The Starting Line’s guests on all dates will be Copeland, Gatsby’s American Dream, and Cartel. From February 26th to March 4th, the line-up will also feature TSL’s new labelmates, Virgin recording group Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Since their formation in 1999, the Starting Line has proven themselves to be as innovative and inventive as they are irresistible. Inspired by such Nineties punk icons as the Get-Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World, the band — singer/bassist Ken Vasoli, guitarists Matt Watts and Mike Golla, and drummer Tom Gryskiewicz — came together via a series of e-mails that quickly bloomed into friendship and artistic partnership. Right from the get-go, the Starting Line’s knack for buoyant songwriting and dedication to persistent touring saw them quickly growing a rabid and loyal fanbase. In 2000, they linked up with the renowned Drive-Thru Records, one of America’s best-loved and influential indie labels. A series of well-received EPs followed, amply displaying the band’s upbeat, ultra-melodic sound. The Starting Line spent the majority of its time on the road, touring alongside such like-minded artists as Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Sum 41, and Good Charlotte, as well as Drive-Thru labelmates New Found Glory and Finch. The band also drew a steady stream of new fans with appearances on the Vans Warped Tour, lighting up stage after stage on the annual trek’s 2002, 2003, and 2005 itineraries. The Starting Line’s full-length debut, “SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT,” arrived in 2002 to critical acclaim and an eager fan following, who promptly sent the album to the #1 position on Billboard’s “Heatseekers” chart of new and developing artists. The album went on to sell over 300,000 copies without significant radio airplay — a remarkable feat that can be credited to the band’s relentless tour schedule and internet savvy. The keenly awaited follow-up, dubbed “BASED ON A TRUE STORY,” landed in 2005, surprising and delighting longtime fans with its increasingly well-honed songwriting and expansive emotional palette. The set reaped a bounty of richly deserved praise from such high-profile publications as Stuff, who hailed its “punchy melodies and angsty anthems,” and Alternative Press, who twice put the Starting Line on its cover. In addition, the magazine raved about the album in its April 2005 lead review, declaring “the Starting Line have stretched out, now capable of songs you’ll want to live in as much as sing along to.” Driven by the critical acclamation and the band’s explosive live performances, “BASED ON A TRUE STORY” scanned over 41,000 copies in its first week, reaching the top 20 on both the Billboard 200 and the “Top Internet Albums” chart.