Roeland van Niele formed indie pop/rock group Gitbox in 1994 when the Holland native recorded the band's earliest recordings along with Maarten Verdwaald, ex-Big Trouble House member Phil Harder, and Herman Antonisse. The sessions were later released on the Last Night I Dreamed of Gary, Indiana EP. The debut included bluesy covers of the Meat Puppets' "Lake of Fire" and the Urinals' "Hologram," as well as the startling title track. Back in Holland, van Niele recruited Verdwaald and Wilf Plum to record the band's first full-length release, Our Lady of the Highway, which debuted in 1995 on Brinkman Records. The band toured Europe and the United States to support the disc.
The follow-up, Soulsharks, was released by Brinkman in 1998, and marked the debut of drummer Peter Palermo. The disc also featured guest appearances by Carol van Dyk and Herman Bunskoeke of Bettie Serveert, among others. In 2001, bassist and backup vocalist Camille Courbois joined the group. Steering By the Stars on Munich Records followed (preceded by The Low Road EP). Recorded by Allan Muller of the band Metal Molly, the album showed the band at the brink of a breakthrough. Courbois left the band in early 2004.