Chicago popster Kevin Tihista was born in Walnut Creek, CA, picking up the guitar in the seventh grade after drawing his initial musical inspiration from childhood heroes Kiss. After high school, he worked a series of odd jobs before 1989, when a friend who had moved to the Chicago suburb of Naperville called Tihista to ask him to join the band he was forming; a week later, he relocated to the Midwest, arriving on his 21st birthday. Although the group, dubbed Maus, would prove short-lived, Tihista's next vehicle, the grunge combo Wood, became a staple of the Chicago club circuit. In 1993, he finally moved to the city proper, just in time to join former-Rights of the Accused frontman Wes Kidd's new project, emo-rockers Triple Fast Action. With Tihista moving over to bass, TFA issued a handful of indie-label singles before signing to Capitol to issue 1996's Broadcaster. The group soon found itself a casualty of major-label purging, however, and landed with indie Deep Elm to release 1997's Cattlemen Don't before dissolving the following year.