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The first task as 1985 began was to find a new bass player. New manager Jim Ford suggested New Orleans native Jeff Beninato, who was hired and remained with the band for the rest of its existence.

That winter a tour was put together with Let’s Active, The dB’s, and The Chris Stamey Group. All three bands had put out records around the same time in the fall; all three records won critical raves, frequently being reviewed together. The shared Winston-Salem background of two or more members of each band was an easy-to-grasp angle for publicists and reporters if not the public (outside of those who were already fans).

The high point of the tour was undoubtedly the show in Winston-Salem at Reynolds Auditorium, located next door to the high school of the same name from which seven members of the bands had graduated. (An eighth Reynolds graduate on the tour was dB’s soundman Chris Chamis.) A photo of the seven in front of the school appeared in Rolling Stone.

A stop in New Orleans for Mardi Gras was another high point, with a second show featuring performances by Ted Lyons (Stamey’s drummer) and Wipe Me Mommy (an occasional side project begun around that time with Will as singer, Jeff on bass, Ford on drums, and dB’s soundman Gilbert Nestor on guitar).

In the spring The dB’s opened a few shows for Lone Justice, whose first album had just been released. Although they were receiving strong support from their label Geffen and consequently were headlining the shows, Lone Justice was probably the beneficiary of The dB’s’ following and draw on the East Coast (Philadelphia, Washington, Chapel Hill, and two or three other places) rather than the other way around.

For the song "Christmas Time" Chris Stamey asked The dB’s to accompany him. This song has a curious history. The original track was done at Bearsville Studio in the summer of ’85 on time paid for by the advertising agency handling the Miller Beer account, and after the band did the track a photo session for Miller (with well-known commercial photographer Moshe Brahka) was done in the studio with Chris, Gene, Will, Jeff, Mark McKenna, and various friends.

Peter was out of town and added his vocals and guitar at a later session, and also didn’t have to live down the ribbing suffered by participants when the ad appeared in the center spread of Rolling Stone and in other magazines.

This was actually the second 1985 Miller photo session for which The dB’s were given a day of recording time in payment; the first shoot was deemed unusable for an ad, but The dB’s recorded 16-track versions of "Any Old Thing," not the released version, and "Suspicious Minds," which was never finished.

(Other bands, including the Del Fuegos, Long Ryders, and Cruzados, made television commercials around the same time for Miller in which their band names were used, but The dB’s, being against nonmusical endorsements and more partial to Budweiser, agreed to do the ad only without their name appearing.)

"Christmas Time" appeared in 1986 on the Coyote Records LP of the same name, later again on a 45 (with a slightly different mix) and finally on CD, always credited to "The Chris Stamey Group (with The dB’s)."

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