In early 1981 Vancouver, marine biologist Don Gordon and music shop shipper/receiver Gary Smith wanted to form an electronic rock band. They ran an ad in the Georgia Straight asking for keyboardists who were interested in making music similar to Japan, Ultravox, and Simple Minds. Eventually, substitute high school teacher Joe Vizary and Safeway employee Kevin Crompton were recruited. Chilliwack native Dale Martindale joined as lead singer. They called themselves Images in Vogue or IIV. The five pooled their resources to purchase the latest synthesizers and, of course, to book studio time. They recorded a demo which was well-received but a record deal eluded them. They recorded some EPs on their own label and concentrated on touring across the country. WEA eventually signed them and they scored a radio hit called “Lust for Love”. A full-length album was recorded which was produced by Gary Wright; however, the band was very disappointed with the production of Wright and returned to the studio to re-record some of the songs. WEA did not share the same vision as the band in terms of musical style which led to a host of conflicts. Eventually, the disunity spread amongst the band members themselves; Crompton left to join Skinny Puppy. They relocated to Toronto and switched to a more commercial and guitar-based sound which did not increase their commercial success and they had to call it quits at the turn of the decade.
Images in Vogue’s early electronic music was some of the best in the world, sounding somewhat fresher than the synth pieces coming out of Britain. The band’s story was one of the most heartbreaking in the history of Canadian bands. They were able to score some radio hits but perhaps it was simply a case of their not hooking up with the right record company and personnel to embellish rather than stifle their creativity. Of all the band’s songs, we favour an instrumental piece off their 1983 self-titled EP, entitled “For Germans” probably a reference to the world’s first successful electronic rock ensemble—Kraftwerk. We do not get to hear the raspy voice of singer Dale Martindale on this track but “For Germans“, which was played all over Vancouver as background music in the early to mid-80s, is absolutely brilliant.
Song: “For Germans”
Album: Images in Vogue (EP)
Artist: Images in Vogue