Miranda Lee Richards' songwriting career was shaped by her bohemian upbringing in San Francisco, where her parents (Ted and Teresa Richards) made a living as influential comic book artists. She grew up in the underground comic book scene, with R. Crumb serving as her de facto godfather. During her senior year of high school, a close friend began dating Metallica's Kirk Hammett, who took Richards under his wing and taught her to play several songs on guitar. It was in Hammett's basement that Richards recorded for the first time, creating a demo tape that later made its way into the hands of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Frontman Anton Newcombe invited her to sing with the band, which she did for six months. When asked to tour with the group, however, Richards ultimately declined, stating, "I love this sort of psychedelic, bass-like, Velvet Underground folky stuff, but these guys are so crazy. It was just going to be a rock & roll circus, but in the worst way." She nevertheless remained close with the band, co-writing "(You Better Love Me) Before I Am Gone" for 1997's Give It Back and contributing "Reign On" to Bringing It All Back Home Again in 1999.