China Crisis

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China Crisis
Eddie Lundon and Gary Daly (China Crisis) performing live at Let's Rock Liverpool, 31 July 2021
Eddie Lundon and Gary Daly (China Crisis) performing live at Let's Rock Liverpool, 31 July 2021
Background information
OriginKirkby, Merseyside, England
Genres
Years active1979–present
Labels
MembersGary Daly
Eddie Lundon
Past membersDave Reilly
Gary "Gazza" Johnson
Kevin Wilkinson
Walter Becker
Brian McNeill

China Crisis are an English new wave and synth-pop band. They were formed in 1979 in Kirkby, near Liverpool, Merseyside with a core of vocalist/keyboardist Gary Daly and guitarist Eddie Lundon.[2] Initially a politically charged post punk band influenced by Brian Eno's ambient soundscapes[3] China Crisis soon crossed over to a more commercial sound and had success in the United Kingdom in the 1980s with ten Top 50 singles (four of them reached the Top 20) and three Top 40 albums (two entered the Top 20 and received a Gold certification). The band also achieved commercial success in Western Europe (notably in Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands), Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and some minor chart successes in North America (particularly in Canada).

History[edit]

Early years and influences[edit]

Sharing an affection for Steely Dan, David Bowie, Brian Eno and Talking Heads,[4] Gary Daly (born 5 May 1962, Kirkby, Knowsley, Merseyside)[5] and Eddie Lundon (born 9 June 1962, Kirkby, Knowsley, Merseyside)[6] played with various Knowsley post-punk groups. Around 1980 they got a synthesizer and a drum machine and began writing songs;[7] electronic acts Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) and Depeche Mode were influential on their musical trajectory.[8] Eventually joined by drummer and percussionist Dave Reilly, they released their debut single "African and White" as China Crisis on the independent record label Inevitable in 1981.[2] Initially the band's main interest was in recording,[9] but did a few live gigs.[10] On 31 December 1981 they performed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London along with Haircut One Hundred.[11] In March 1982 they recorded a four-song Peel session for the BBC.[12] In April-May 1982 they played their first UK tour.[13] In June 1982, they backed Tom Verlaine at The Venue in London.[14] In September they performed at the Futurama 4 Festival,[15] followed by a late 1982 UK tour.[13]

First successes[edit]

The band were signed to Virgin Records and released their debut album, Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It's Fun to Entertain in November 1982.[2] A re-release of "African and White" reached No. 45 in the UK Singles Chart in August 1982.[16] The follow-up single, "No More Blue Horizons", released in October 1982 had little success, but the single "Christian", made UK No. 12 in early 1983 and brought them to national prominence.[2][17] By the time of this success, Reilly had left the band, but had remained with the band long enough to co-write and perform on "Christian", along with session musician Steve Levy playing oboe and saxophone. The album peaked at No. 21 in the UK Albums Chart.[17] During this period the band toured supporting Simple Minds on their New Gold Dream tour.[7][18]

Working with Fire and Steel[edit]

Adding Gary "Gazza" Johnson (bass guitar) and Waterboys drummer Kevin Wilkinson to the line-up, the band, augmented by Steve Levy (oboe), premiered new songs, including "Wishful Thinking", in a BBC Peel session in January 1983.[19] In May the single "Tragedy and Mystery" was released and peaked at number 46 on the UK Singles Chart.[16] The arrangement of the song with prominent use of Levy's oboe and flugel horn marked a noticeable change from the band's previous synth pop sound.

The band, again augmented by Steve Levy on oboe and saxophone on several tracks, recorded a second album, Working with Fire and Steel – Possible Pop Songs Volume Two, which was released in November 1983.[2] Prior to the release of the album the title track, "Working with Fire and Steel", was released as a single. While only a minor hit in the UK at number 48,[16] it became a hit single in Spain, Australia and Ireland, also entering the US Dance Club Songs chart.

In early 1984, the single "Wishful Thinking" peaked at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart, making it their first and only UK Top 10 hit single.[2][17] The song was also a Top 10 hit in Ireland, a Top 20 hit in several European countries and hit number 1 on the Swedish radio chart Poporama.[20] In March 1984 the follow-up single "Hanna Hanna" reached number 44 on the UK singles chart.[16]

The album itself was a top 20 success in the UK, also reaching the top 40 in several other countries (including Spain, Australia, Canada, etc.), and China Crisis spent 1984 and 1985 making their biggest chart run. In spring 1984 China Crisis toured Europe on their "Working With Fire Steel Tour",[21] followed by touring Europe and North America supporting Simple Minds.[22]

Flaunt the Imperfection and mainstream success[edit]

Their third album, Flaunt the Imperfection, was produced by Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame and reached No. 9 in the UK Albums Chart in May 1985.[2][17] China Crisis was so honoured to directly work with Becker that they officially listed him in the group as a quintet consisting of Daly, Lundon, Johnson, Wilkinson, and Becker on the album's credits. He never formally appeared with the band (but made important playing contributions on the album) or the subsequent tour featuring new keyboard player Brian McNeill. Johnson was now credited as co-writer with Daly and Lundon.

The album was promoted by the No. 14 UK hit single "Black Man Ray",[17] which also enjoyed critical acclaim and international success, reaching the Top 40 in Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the Netherlands, etc. The follow-up, "King in a Catholic Style (Wake Up)", was a Top 20 UK single at No. 19, but it would prove to be the band's last substantial hit.[17] A third release from the album, "You Did Cut Me", stalled at UK No. 54[17] but reached the Top 30 in Ireland and Top 10 in Spain. They simultaneously released a video compilation, Showbiz Absurd.

The album was followed by a spring 1985 UK tour, performance at the Netherlands Pinkpop Festival in May, six dates in the US and Canada in July/August and further UK dates in October 1985.[13]

What Price Paradise[edit]

In 1986, the band collaborated with producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (who worked with Madness) on What Price Paradise, which included "Arizona Sky", the album's first single release and another Australian hit. All the band were now credited as songwriters. A second single from the album, "Best Kept Secret", made UK No. 36 in early 1987[17] and reached the Top 20 in Spain and Ireland. It was to be the band's final Top 40 hit single.[17]

The album was followed by China Crisis touring UK and North America in 1987. In summer 1987 they performed at the German Rock am Ring festival, at Stockholm Olympic Stadium, and at the Leysin Festival in Switzerland.[13]

Diary of a Hollow Horse[edit]

The five-piece band worked with Becker once more on 1989's Diary of a Hollow Horse, which earned critical acclaim though little commercial success.[2] It fared slightly better than its predecessor, making the UK Top 60, and spawned the singles "St Saviour Square" and "Red Letter Day", both achieving the lower reaches of the UK Singles Chart.[17] Becker produced most of the album's tracks, but this time was not credited as an official band member.

The album was followed by a May-June UK tour, which was the last performances of the five-piece band and the last China Crisis concerts for over five years.[13]

Warped by Success[edit]

The band's sixth studio album, Warped by Success, was released in 1994, following the band's parting of ways with the Virgin label. The album produced their final studio chart single, "Everyday the Same",[2][17] which briefly edged into the UK Top 100. The band was now once again a duo of Daly and Lundon, although Johnson and Wilkinson were both amongst the session musicians employed in the recording of the album. In 1995 they released a live unplugged album and video entitled Acoustically Yours. This featured a live version of "Black Man Ray", and also saw a brief return for Johnson, McNeill, and Wilkinson.

Since 1992, there have been four compilation albums of their work for the UK and US markets and three live DVDs. The first of these, entitled Collection: The Very Best of China Crisis, made the Top 40 in the UK Albums Chart in 1990.

1995 – 2014: Interim years and reduced activity[edit]

Gary Daly (China Crisis) at Let's Rock Liverpool, 31 July 2021.

Since the late 1990s, China Crisis has concentrated on live performances with only original members Eddie Lundon and Gary Daly being constant throughout; the band alternates between performances either as a duo or with a fluctuating line-up of backing musicians.

On 17 July 1999, drummer Kevin Wilkinson died by suicide, hanging himself at the age of 41. Wilkinson had played with a wide variety of bands including The Waterboys, Fish, The Proclaimers, Squeeze and with Howard Jones. In 2000, Daly contributed a track to a tribute compilation to Wilkinson, Green Indians.[23]

In December 2002, China Crisis' Daly and Lundon held a one-night unplugged venue in Manila, Philippines, with the support of a local band, Rivermaya. They toured the UK during January and February 2007 as part of their 25th anniversary. Gary Daly released his limited edition solo album (The Visionary Mindset Experience) in 2007, featuring collaborations with Megan Kovacs (from the band Kovacs) and Jean Weir.[24]

In 2008 they were the support act for OMD's UK October tour.[25] The following year the band performed a fund raising gig for The Friends of Meols Park, played at Fort Perch Rock on the Wirral, the Rewind Festival in Henley-on-Thames, and the Mathew Street Festival in Liverpool.[13]

They returned to the Philippines to perform at Eastwood City on 20 January 2011 and played at the Rewind Festivals in Perth (Scotland) and Henley-on-Thames in August 2011. Another concert in the Philippines was held on 9 September 2011 at the SMX Convention Center, together with Ex-Simple Minds with further shows in the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong that followed. China Crisis' two lead musicians were joined by Siân Monaghan on drums.[26]

Subsequently, the band toured extensively playing dates in the UK (including regular gigs at the Cavern Club, Liverpool) as well as visiting the United States and Canada, and returning to the Philippines.[13]

2014 – present: New album and later years[edit]

On 16 December 2013, the song "Everyone You Know" was made available as a free download on the Pledge Music website, when pre-ordering the album Autumn in the Neighbourhood announced for release in 2014.[27] On 13 January 2014, the band posted an illustrated account of the track and how it was written and came to be recorded. 87% of the pledge goal had been reached at that time.[28] Ahead of the release of the new album, the track "Being in Love" was premiered on Steve Lamacq's BBC Radio 6 Music show on 25 April 2014.[29] The band toured in late 2014, playing some tracks from the new album alongside older favourites. As of 5 February 2015,[30] the band had achieved 235% of its Pledgemusic target and the album was in final mix and production.

Autumn in the Neighbourhood was released on 3 June 2015 via the Pledge Music website. It was their first studio album for 21 years, and contained 11 songs; however, the pre-release taster track, "Everyone You Know", was not included on the album. The band undertook an extensive promotional tour of the UK from the end of September until December 2015, both as a trio and as a full band.[31] The tour included a special "Flaunt the Imperfection Live" night at The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool on 17 October 2015 to mark the thirtieth anniversary of their 1985 album of that name. The band also played five nights in North America in December under the banner of "North America Merry Christmas Tour".[32]

In November 2015, a compilation album, 80s Recovered, featuring many 1980s-related artists was released on the Music Brokers label. China Crisis contributed a cover of Carole King's "It's Too Late", with both a regular version and an extended remix.[33]

In March 2017, China Crisis performed as part of the 80's Invasion Tour that included Toyah, Paul Young and Martika.

In July 2017, the band returned to the Philippines for a show at the Kia Theatre, alongside Peter Coyle of The Lotus Eaters.

Former China Crisis producer/band member Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017.[34]

While China Crisis continue to tour the UK and play live dates, founder member Eddie Lundon teaches songwriting at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.[35] Frontman Gary Daly released his solo debut album Gone From Here in May 2019.[36] Former China Crisis bassist Gary "Gazza" Johnson and keyboardist Brian McNeill both play on the album.[37][38] In February 2020 Gary Daly released the solo album Luna Landings, a collection of instrumental recordings written between 1981 and 1987.[39]

Band members[edit]

Current

  • Gary Daly – vocals, synthesisers (1979–present)
  • Eddie Lundon – guitars, vocals (1979–present)

Former

  • Dave Reilly – drums, percussion (1981–1983)
  • Gazza Johnson – bass guitar (1983–1989, 1995)
  • Kevin Wilkinson – drums, percussion (1983–1989, 1995; died 1999)
  • Walter Becker – synthesiser, percussion (1985; died 2017)
  • Brian McNeill – synthesisers, vocals (1985–1989, 1995)

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sutton, Michael (24 June 1997). "China Crisis Collection: The Very Best of China Crisis - China Crisis | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bush, John. "China Crisis | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  3. ^ Steve Binnie (5 November 2018). Sound of the Crowd: a Discography of the '80s (4th ed.). ISBN 9780244129651.
  4. ^ China Crisis exclusive Louder Than War interview, Louderthanwar.com, June 14, 2018
  5. ^ "Gary Daly | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  6. ^ "China Crisis Biography". Oldies.com. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  7. ^ a b China Crisis Interview The Electricity Club February 22, 2020
  8. ^ Wilson, PF (20 July 2022). "Concert Review: China Crisis, Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH". Pop Culture Beast. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  9. ^ Dan Goldstein (February 1984). "Crisis? What Crisis?". Electronics & Music Maker.
  10. ^ "China Crisis Live Music". 45worlds.com.
  11. ^ "China Crisis Institute of Contemporary Arts 31 December 1981". setlist.fm.
  12. ^ Peel sessions: China Crisis, BBC
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "China Crisis Concert Setlists & Tour Dates". setlist.fm.
  14. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books. p. 367. CN 5585.
  15. ^ "Futurama 4 Festival 1982". setlist.fm.
  16. ^ a b c d China Crisis Official Charts
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 105. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  18. ^ as discussed in interviews on the DVD Live in Concert at the Paul McCartney Auditorium Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts
  19. ^ Peel sessions: China Crisis BBC
  20. ^ Stefan Heiding: Poporama - Heta högen (1992) ISBN 91-971894-1-3
  21. ^ "Working With Fire and Steel Tour". setlist.fm.
  22. ^ "China Crisis Concert History". concertarchives.org.
  23. ^ "Shriekback Pages: Green Indians". Cleartrails.com. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  24. ^ "GARY DALY Interview". Electricityclub.co.uk. 30 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  25. ^ "OMD Gigography". omd.me.uk.
  26. ^ "About - Siân Monaghan". Sianmonaghan.com. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  27. ^ "New Album "Autumn In The Neighbourhood": Free download of Everyone You Know". Pledgemusic.com. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  28. ^ "New Album "Autumn In The Neighbourhood": Everyone You Know . . a tale of two cities. Liverpool and Glasgow". Pledgemusic.com. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  29. ^ "New Album "Autumn In The Neighbourhood": w o r l d exclusive. BBC Radio 6". Pledgemusic.com. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  30. ^ "China Crisis: New Album "Autumn In The Neighbourhood" on PledgeMusic". Pledgemusic.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  31. ^ "China Crisis official facebook page cover photo". Facebook.com. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  32. ^ "China Crisis official facebook page cover photo". Facebook.com. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  33. ^ "80s Recovered". 80s Recovered. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  34. ^ Kreps, Daniel. "Walter Becker, Steely Dan Co-Founder, Dead at 67". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  35. ^ Teaching Staff, Lipa.ac.uk
  36. ^ "Gary Daly, founding member of China Crisis, announces the release of his debut solo album: GONE FROM HERE, on 31 May 2019 | Latest press releases | PressGo | Journalism.co.uk". Journalism.co.uk. 25 April 2019. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  37. ^ "SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: GARY DALY - GONE FROM HERE". The Spill Magazine. 31 May 2019. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  38. ^ "Gary Daly - Gone From Here". Discogs.com. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  39. ^ Gary Daly Luna Landings The Electricity Club

External links[edit]