IIV First Lineup

June 1981
First Lineup

Don Gordon and Gary Smith joined together to form Images In Vogue with Kevin Crompton and Joe Vizvary in April 1981 out of common interests in synthesizer-based music and the many types of post-punk experimental music coming from England. Rather than playing in bars around Vancouver, the band decided to concentrate on writing and recording. By September 1981, IIV had released two well-received 5 song demo-tapes to college radio and local DJs.

The band made its live debut September 26, 1981 at “Elektra-- Vancouver’s First Fashion Dance.” That October IIV entered Water Street Studios to record their first EP. After their second concert, at the Luvafair in December 1981, popular local club DJ Kim Clarke Champniss became the band’s manager. Around that time, Gary and Kevin had seen Dale Martindale at a local club and asked through mutual friends whether he might be interested in singing in the band. A meeting was arranged, and Kim’s first act as manager was to replace original vocalist Gary Johnson with Dale.

IIV Vancouver Show

October 1982
IIV on The Vancouver Show

In January 1982, IIV recorded a new instrumental, For Germans, at Mushroom Studios, then added Dale's vocals to the unfinished Water Street tracks.

Dale’s first live performances were two sold-out shows in February 1982 at Pharoah’s, a small club in Vancouver’s Gastown. By the time IIV opened for Depeche Mode at the Commodore Ballroom in May 1982, they had recorded more than an album’s worth of material at Mushroom. In June 1982, Pre-Release, a limited edition 3-song 7” EP, was released on their own label, followed by a 5-song EP, Educated Man, in October 1982. Both EPs received college and indie radio airplay across North America.

Between the releases of the two EPs, IIV expanded its line-up by adding former e and Mobile Clones keyboardist Glen Nelson. This gave the band a bigger, fuller sound, making it possible to play their songs the way they had been recorded in the studio. In December 1982, the new line-up recorded Lust For Love at Mushroom as they prepared for their first national tour.

IIV Educated Man tour

January 1983
Educated Man tour

IIV’s first Canadian tour started in Vancouver in January 1983 and climaxed with shows opening for Depeche Mode in Toronto and Roxy Music in Vancouver and Edmonton in May 1983. During the tour, the band generated interest from several record companies and in March 1983 agreed to a contract with Warners Canada. The band’s first major label release, in October 1983, was a self-titled EP featuring the single version of Lust For Love along with new versions of For Germans, Masks, Breaking Up and Just Like You.

By the end of 1983, Lust For Love was being played by radio stations across Canada, reaching the Top 20 on some stations. IIV was asked to open for Bryan Adams on his 1983 Western Canadian tour. After the tour with Bryan Adams, IIV headlined their own show at the Commodore Ballroom. In response to these successes, Warners invested in a music video for Lust For Love, though there were not many programs that showed video in Canada at that time.

Just Like You alt cover

March 1984
Just Like You alternate cover photo

In early 1984, IIV opened for Duran Duran on their Seven and the Ragged Tiger tour. IIV did shows in Calgary, Vancouver, and Seattle before being refused further work permits by US Immigration. A second single from the EP was released in April 1984, a remix of Just Like You and a dance remix of For Germans. At the 1984 West Coast Music Awards, IIV received several nominations, winning awards for Best Video and Best Album Artwork. At the 1984 U-Know (Casby) Awards the band received Most Promising Group and Most Promising Male Vocalist awards.

As the band prepared to record their first album for Warners, Don Gordon was replaced with Strange Advance and Instructions guitarist Ed Shaw. At Warners’ suggestion, Gary Wright, of “Dream Weaver” fame, was chosen to produce the album. In May 1984 IIV went to Los Angeles to record at Gary Wright’s home studio. It took over three months to record and mix the album, and when completed, the band was extremely disappointed with the results. The album did not sound like IIV’s previous recordings.

1985 promo

October 1984
Rituals Promo

Rather than releasing the album tracks, IIV gathered enough money to record a new version of Call It Love, as well as redo vocals and add Ed's guitar parts to the 1983 demos of Save It and Calling My Name. The three tracks, with the demo version of Everything About You and Rescue Me from the California sessions, became the Rituals EP, released in November 1984. While Rescue Me was the track chosen as the single by Warners, many radio stations across Canada started playing Call It Love.

In early 1985, the band, now managing themselves, prepared to tour in support of Rituals. Warners, in response to the success of Rituals and interest in Call It Love outside of Canada, decided to release the Gary Wright-produced album, with Call It Love as the first single. The band, again at their own expense, recorded one new song, King’s Service, then rerecorded vocals and remixed as many tracks as their budget and time allowed. The “Touring Rituals” began in January 1985, crossing the country twice by May 1985.

IIV’s first full-length album, In The House, and a 12” extended mix single of Call It Love were released in Canada and Europe in March 1985, midway through the tour. After the tour, the band prepared a video and extended mix for Save It to support its upcoming June 1985 release as IIV’s last single for Warners.

1985 Dec alt promo

December 1985
In The House 12" photo

Because the band had spent much of the tour in Ontario, Kevin suggested that the band relocate to Toronto to make it easier to tour and conduct business. However, Kevin’s side-project, Skinny Puppy, was beginning to take more of his time, so, ironically, when the band moved to Toronto in August 1985, Kevin stayed in Vancouver. His replacement was Derrick Gyles, former band-mate of Ed Shaw in Strange Advance and the Instructions.

One of IIV’s goals in moving to Toronto was to tour more extensively, and they did so for the next eight months. IIV was recognized for their hard work with a Juno Award nomination for Most Promising Group on November 1985. In January 1986 IIV released a re-recorded version and video of the song In The House produced by Dee Long on Quality Records and made plans for an album to follow. Three songs, Look Me In the Eye, Someday, and Nothing Stays were recorded at Dee Long’s ESP Studios in Buttonville, Ontario for the album before Quality Records was sold and the project shelved.

March 1987
Session for The Spell cover

While touring had brought IIV increased recognition and a larger following, it also caused tensions within the group. Glen and Ed left the band in August 1986, replaced by former Sylum guitarist Tim Welch. The new line-up debut later that month in front of 5000 people at Molson’s 200th anniversary celebration at Toronto’s Harbourfront. August 1986 continued to be an eventful month as IIV received CASBY awards for Group of the Year and Single of the Year for In The House. By the end of the month, IIV had signed a contract with Anthem Records and started work on their next album.

With Joe producing, Piece of Your Heart and What If? were recorded at Phase One Studios in late 1986. John Switzer, bass player and producer for Jane Siberry, joined as co-producer for the next tracks recorded at Saved By Technology. By March 1987, four songs were completed. Kerry Crawford and Jon Goldsmith, producers of Jane Siberry and Bruce Cockburn, were chosen as producers to complete the album.

July 1987
Anthem Records Promo

The Spell, IIV’s second album, was released in January 1988. So Careful was the first single. In March 1988 IIV started touring to support the album. Strangers was the second single released from the album. However, by May the band had lost support of their record company, who cancelled the western Canadian dates of the tour. In June 1988, due to internal and external pressures, Gary left the band he had founded in 1981.

IIV continued to perform occasionally until 1991, when the band recorded and produced a video for Tonight. However, without Gary in the band, the remaining members had lost their momentum and enthusiasm. After a show at Toronto’s Opera House in November 1991 to celebrate the release of the Tonight video, the band unofficially went on hiatus.

In 1994, IIV’s first compilation CD, Collection, was released featuring extended mixes, remixes and unreleased tracks from the band’s archives. Through the nineties, IIV songs appeared on many eighties compilation albums. Songs from The Spell continued to be heard around the world as part of the soundtrack of the TV show Degrassi Junior High.

In October 2002, after years of fan requests, Gary, Dale, Glen, Joe, Derrick and Ed, with a special appearance by Tim, reunited for a concert at Toronto’s Opera House. Gary and Joe spent much of 2002 gathering together IIV master tapes for restoration and digital archiving, as well as creating final mixes of the 1986 recordings of Look Me In the Eye and Someday, resulting in the March 2004 release of Collection V2.0: Chronology CD.

In August 2004, IIV played their first show in Vancouver since June 1985 at the Commodore Ballroom with a line-up that included Dale, Don, Gary, Glen, Joe, and Ed. In December 2004, IIV once again reconvened in Vancouver to produce a video for the release of a remix of Look Me In The Eye. In the following years, IIV released two more compilations, 2006’s Collection V3.0: Evolution CD and the digital-only Collection V4.0: Prototypes in 2010.

IIV were asked by their friends the Spoons to perform a few songs at the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the Spoons’ Arias and Symphonies album. On November 30, 2012, Dale, Gary, Glen, Joe, Derrick, Ed and Tim reunited at Toronto’s Revival Bar to perform a seven song set.

In the fall of 2013, IIV joined with the Spoons on a short tour of southern Ontario. IIV performed a show in Burlington, Ontario in September 2014.

In 2014, Gary and Joe started work on compiling Incipience 1981-1983, a limited edition four-LP vinyl box set, released by Artoffact Records. Incipience, released April 2018, gathers IIV’s earliest recordings from 1981 up to the 1983 release of Lust For Love and is IIV’s first release on vinyl since 1988.

IIV finished 2018 with live performances in Mississauga and Waterloo, Ontario and continue to perform around southern Ontario.