A Brief History of Kitchens & Bathrooms, Part I (1994-1996)

K&B formed in 1994 when Sean Lee and Clay Combs, late of Memphis indie rockers Nuclear Café, recruited fellow Rhodes College chum Mike Augspurger for bass duties. The trio joined up with longtime friend and Three guitarist Chris Wood, who pulled double duty, playing with both outfits. Combs and Lee, each with a backlog of songs, would share vocal leads.

With the lineup set, it was time to practice up and hit the clubs. Name a Memphis stage from the mid-'90s, and we've likely played it: Antenna (R.I.P.), Barrister's, New Daisy, Hard Rock Café, Young Avenue Deli, The Hi-Tone, High Point Pinch, Murphy's, Union Jax, South End/Martinoya's, Newby's, R.P. Tracks, T.J. Mulligan's, Neil's. We also played a couple of well-received shows at Crossroads, the showcase weekend for unsigned/indie acts from our region (i.e., the tiny section of the U.S. outside of NYC, L.A., or Austin).

At the time, there was a healthy alt-rock scene in town, fueled by a couple of new radio stations who were bringing national acts to the clubs and even playing some local artists on-air. We enjoyed sharing the stage with our mates in Crash Into June, Mea Culpa, The Moves, and Three—power pop bands with an ear for songcraft.

Perhaps more even than playing live dates, recording was a priority for the band. Inside of a year, we'd come out of the studio with a six-song EP cassette, The Sound And The Furry, and begun work on a second, The Many Moods of Kitchens & Bathrooms. The sets, recorded whole or in part at Rockingchair Recording Studio in Memphis, received warm reception from local press. When Rockingchair established a house label, we were on the short list of acts in line for a spec deal.

Around this time, we seemed to lose our rhythm—or, that is, our rhythm section. Bassist Mikey hopped the tenure train, pursuing a Ph.D. in Iowa City. Meanwhile, drummer Sean Lee decided to head back home to the New York City area for a career in the voice-over business. (Did you see that documentary about the Tower of Pisa?) Ain't that the way it always happens on Behind the Music? You start losing folks to doctoral programs and the rat race of showbiz.

  On to History II  >