and Jay Whitehouse were in Cannes, France for MIDEM, the international
music license conference, looking for a new European deal for the
band when they heard that, back in America, Waterdog's distributor,
Landmark, became embroiled in an ownership battle between its two
major partners. As a result of the ensuing squabble Landmark was
bankrupted, and most of the records they were handling, including
Eat At Godot's, were left helpless in the marketplace. Waterdog
itself was almost bankrupted as well, and only the tireless work
of Whitehouse, label manager Rob Gillis, and the Waterdog staff
kept the doors open.
Gerlach had agreed to replace John, and the band renewed its energy
in the face of yet another setback and pushed forwards. It was a
very rich time for the band creatively. The release of Cheap Beer
Night had cemented what was at the time a deep relationship with
the Beat Kitchen, and the band rehearsed there two to three times
a week during the day, and played three to four gigs a week, touring
in ten day bursts out of Chicago. It was out of this explosive period
of growth that the Kisses 50 Cents album was born. The band was
debuting new songs every week, just like the old days with Tommy,
and just like the first few years with John when they were touring
nationally all the time. One day the band set up at the Beat Kitchen
and recorded all its new songs so they could look at arrangements
and plan the new record.
the album was a creative success, Waterdog was still too badly damaged
from the Landmark disaster to effectively promote the album. In
January of 1995, Ralph's daughter Fiona was born, and the band took
several months to rest and re-group. Not long after, both Terry
Wathen, original drummer, and Steve Gerlach asked to step down from
the band. That spring, Ralph recorded the basic tracks for what
became the Birthday album, joined by Pickles, John Zdon (on guitar,
organ, and vocals), and by Craig Miller (on harmonica and vocals).
on any chapter heading below for a chronological history!