Bassist Lisa Rickenberg was playing in the Texas-based group the Inhalants during the mid-'90s when she met guitarist Dave Holmes of the Seattle band the Fall-Outs. She was a big fan of the group, and since the Fall-Outs were looking for a touring bass player, she offered her services. After the tour had ended, Rickenberg told Holmes that she was seriously interested in moving to Seattle. Her only concern was that when she got there, she would not have a band to play with. Holmes told her not to worry, and Rickenberg packed her bags and departed from Texas. As soon as she arrived in Seattle, Holmes and Rickenberg approached Super Electro Records' employee Caryn Palmier about singing vocals. Holmes had ties with Super Electro because it had released two albums from the Fall-Outs. Prior to her recruitment, Palmier had been involved in the Man Tee Mans with guitarist Rob Vasquez of the Nights and Days and Dawn Johnson of Chintz Devils. Holmes' old friend Stephen Malmin was recruited to play drums for the new band. Holmes and Malmin had known each other from their days in the band Calabros. The lineup for the new quartet was finally concrete by July of 1996. After milling through such possible band names as Sexy Brains and the Razzle-Dazzle Gang, Holmes finally came up with the Wiretaps, and no one argued the title. Due to the fact that the Wiretaps had a connection to Super Electro through Palmier, the band released their first single, titled Call Waiting, on the imprint in 1997. This was followed by the group's full-length debut, Recording, in 1999. The band did release one external single, called Romulan Invasion, for the Columbus, Ohio label Anyway Records in 2000. After that record came out, Palmier decided to move to New York for a change of scenery. The group moved forward with Rickenberg taking over the vocal duties. In early 2001, the Wiretaps recorded a split 7" record with the Cripples. In order to support the self-release, both bands hit the road in June of 2001 and toured the West Coast and into Texas. By the middle of that year, the Wiretaps were playing shows around Seattle with Head, the A-Frames and the Cripples, as well as working on material for a new album.