Collection: Evolution 3
Before April 1981, Don Gordon And Gary Smith were playing in a band called Pin-ups, which had recorded a couple of demos. But Don and Gary had an idea for a new band, a more electronic sounding band, and they had an idea for a name-- Images in Vogue. They had run an ad in the Georgia Straight asking for a keyboard player with gear...influences Japan, Ultravox, Simple Minds, etc. Kevin Crompton had played in a few bands, including a punk band called Illegal Youth with his high school friend, Al Nelson, but hadn't yet committed himself to being a full-time musician. Gary Smith was working in a record store where he would play interesting new music. Gary and Kevin both were fans of Japan and it was inevitable that they would start talking about David Sylvian, the lead singer of Japan. Joe Vizvary had spent the three years since graduating from UBC playing in various bands, touring bars and beer parlours throughout BC. His band NV had started playing original material, but was running out of steam. Joe had also started recording his own 4-track demos of some new electronic music that was not right for NV. He saw a note in an entertainment column in The Georgia Straight about a band looking for a keyboard player with gear. Dale Martindale was attending The Emily Carr School of Art in Vancouver after finishing high school in Chilliwack, a suburb about 100 kilometres outside Vancouver. Dale had started spending time at various clubs around town that played new music. A few people had mentioned that he looked like Steve Jansen, the drummer for Japan. Glen Nelson, whose brother Al had played in Illegal Youth with Kevin, had gone from The Mobile Clones, who had released a 7 inch single, to e, an experimental electronic band. When Joe's band NV finally ended in April 1981, he called the number he had seen in the Georgia Straight, and ended up talking to Don for hours about music and their ideas about what kind of band they saw themselves in. Both seemed to have the same ideas about forming an electronic-based band that would concentrate on writing music about moods and textures. A few days later, Don, Gary, Kevin, and Joe (along with Pin-ups singer Gary Johnson) met to see if they might form a band. A mutual interest in the types of music everyone listened to became apparent, particularly in groups like Yellow Magic Orchestra, Kraftwerk, Japan, Ultravox, and many others. A rehearsal was arranged and after playing a few songs together, on April 29,1981, Images in Vogue was born. The band's first decision was to concentrate on writing and recording, then wait until the right moment before playing live. Everyone would keep their day jobs during this time: Don was working as a marine biologist for the Department of Fisheries, Gary had started as shipper/receiver at a music store, and Kevin was a checker at a Safeway grocery store in North Vancouver. Joe had been working as a full-time musician, but he went to work at the sawmill where he had worked summers as a student. Later that year, he started substitute teaching at high schools. The band pooled their resources to pay for recording time and to purchase new equipment. In 1981, the band bought one of the first Roland TR-808 drum machines and one of the first Sequential Circuits Pro-1 synthesizers in western Canada. The band started writing immediately, and within weeks had five songs ready for the studio. In June, IIV entered Bullfrog Studios, a 16 track studio in Vancouver. The songs they recorded included Anxiety Reaction, which had been a Pin-ups song which Don and Joe reworked to suit the new band. Politics of Sound was a song Joe had previously recorded on his own and had performed with NV. The demo tape received great reviews, including a cover headline on the Georgia Straight. The sound was pop, but not quite pop; dance, but not quite dance; experimental, but still accessible. Anxiety Reaction was remixed and released on tape to club DJs around Vancouver. In September, the band recorded 5 more songs at Bullfrog and, again, the demo received great reviews for it's combination electronic and acoustic percussion and high quality of production Now the band was ready to make it's live debut. IIV wanted to make their debut an event, something that would be memorable. The band got together with another new band, Moev, managed by Terry McBride. They decided to rent a hall and put on a 'Fashion Dance' where not only would the two bands make their premieres, but the audience could show off it's own new fashions and be part of the show. The idea caught on, as there had not yet been an event which brought together the developing post-punk scene in Vancouver. This was an opportunity for everyone to help define the new underground scene. Gary and Terry worked hard to promote and organize 'Elektra: The Fashion Dance.' Terry sold tickets at Cinematica, the import record store where he worked. A young artist, Douglas Coupland (author of the novel Generation X), was enlisted to create the poster and ads for the event. The event was soon sold out, and on September 26, 1981 Images in Vogue and Moev made their live debuts at the Viking Hall. IIV played a ten song set consisting of all the songs they had recorded to that point. An eleventh song, For Germans, had been written two days earlier in order to lengthen the set, but was not played. Reviews of the show in the Georgia Straight were favourable, declaring that IIV and Moev were sure to be sign to record deals soon.