After the Vertebrats spent the very earliest '80s proving the promise of Champaign-Urbana/University of Illinois scene, a host of like-minded bands churned up in the wake of their dance-friendly DIY rock. Many were formed by U of I students transplanted from parts untold, but bassist Paul Chastain, Vox organist John Slocum, and drummer Jerry Schweighart played the role of townies looking to cut in. Chastain, Slocum, and Schweighart began as half of Centennial High's Sphinx; Chastain and Slocum morphed into urban contemporary outfit Metropolitan the summer after graduation. The three spent their first couple of college years checking out the cavalcade of post-punk bands (local and touring) that graced the stage at Mabel's, the "it" venue on the early '80s C-U scene. Ready to start a new band, they ditched smooth R&B covers and glommed onto the burgeoning new wave movement as Plan 9. By the spring of 1982, they'd dropped the "Plan" and went with Nines, no "the" required. Around then, original guitarist Ron Hoshizaki was replaced by guitarist Doug Montgomery, their Mabel's debut in June 1982 and soon became staples on the C-U campus party circuit.

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