A Brief History of Kitchens & Bathrooms, Part II (1996-1999)

Fortunately, we had friends who could fill the gaps and then some. After [finally] being awarded his undergraduate degree from Mizzou, Tom Carty had returned to Memphis just when K&B needed a bassist. Ditto Wally Peterson, who had been on tour—with the Navy. The truth is that the four of us, close friends since high school, made a pretty natural quartet.

We took to the studio, happily free of the constraints that come from paying by the hour. We recorded brand new songs, as well as new tracks for existing tunes. When the dust settled, we had the material for our first CD. Our good friends Brian and Shannon Dixon contributed graphic design and photography, and we were ready to be loosed upon the world. Rockingchair released These Modern Nights in Fall 1997, to strong reviews. We played a barn-burner CD release party at Young Avenue Deli.

We continued to gig around Memphis, with some forays into other towns around the region, notably Oxford, MS. In February 1999, the band helped organize a benefit concert to restore a beloved Sputnik-era neon sign at Joe's Liquors, a proud local business and Midtown landmark of long standing. Dubbed "Satellite of Love," the show drew a capacity crowd to local watering hole Neil's and brought in enough revenue for the substantial completion of the restoration work. Sharing a bill with The Moves and Crash Into June, we had a terrific time and played what we felt was our best live set to date, drawn mostly from songs that would form the nucleus of our next album.

Sadly, in the months since These Modern Nights, the Rockingchair Studio had closed; consequently, the label was in limbo. But we had itchy palms to record the new material. In July, we entered Jim Medlin's Crosstown studio on Cleveland St. for three days of recording. After an additional day for mixing, we had a finished album. As a nod to our conversations with Jim—who shared the band's obsession with Coen Brothers films—we named the record Put One In The Brain.

Despite its humble production values, we felt the collection was our best. Recorded and mixed in four whirlwind sessions, the songs seemed to be cut from the same cloth, capturing the essence of the band at that time. But with Wally's announcement that he would be moving away later that year, and feeling the strain of years of gigging, the band lost steam. The record sat shelved, unreleased.

Kitchens & Bathrooms went on indefinite hiatus.

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