Raised in a musical family, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson were always involved in music. In the early 1980s, they joined a band called Strange Agents. Later that decade, they put together their own band and got a recording contract with Geffen Records. Their debut album, 1990's After the Rain, was a success, and the band went on tour to support it. The album produced the No. 1 hit "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection." The album also featured Bobby Rock (Vinnie Vincent Invasion) on drums.
Following that tour, the band immersed itself in the recording of their next project. The result was a harder and heavier concept album called Imaginator. However, when they played the album for Geffen, the label considered it too heavy. According to Nelson members, Geffen even threatened to drop the band from the label if they did not produce another record more to their tastes.
The band spent another year recording another album called Because They Can. The label finally approved and released it in 1995. Still, the pop music landscape had undergone a dramatic change in the five years following After the Rain, and Geffen chose not to promote the new album and quickly dropped Nelson entirely from its roster. The Nelson brothers then set up their own label, Stone Canyon Records, and released Imaginator in 1996.
Despite not receiving the same level of success in the United States, the band has been a consistent seller in Japan. With their label, they have released four other albums, including a tribute to their father.
As of Spring 2008, Nelson has become featured band on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Circuit, playing on Brilliance of the Seas among other ships. They performed for the sixth-consecutive year in Epcot's Flower Power Concert Series as part of the annual International Flower & Garden Festival.
In addition to touring as Nelson, the brothers also perform a separate tribute act for their father, called "Ricky Nelson Remembered."
They are also part of the super-group, Scrap Metal. A band that features artists like; Mark Slaughter, Kelly Keagy and other special guests.
In 2009 Nelson were booked to appear at the third annual Rocklahoma festival in Pryor Oklahoma.