That adage “everything old is new again” certainly applies to the China Crisis duo of Eddie Lundon and Gary Daly who find themselves in greater demand globally than even in their early 1980’s when they were part of a new romantics wave of bands which included the likes of A Flock Of Seagulls, Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark, Teardrop Explodes and Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
All of these bands came from Liverpool England and although they met U.S resistance when they originally tried to forge an identity on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, Lundon reports that his band’s persistence is finally paying off and that China Crisis itinerary has rarely been this busy.
Set to perform at Toronto’s Revival Event Centre with Montreal’s Rational Youth and Toronto’s Slave To The SQUARE WAVE on Saturday, January 25th, (Ed Sousa Presents) China Crisis will also include select U.S dates in January and February before moving on to Australia and New Zealand while maintaining a full diary of dates in the United Kingdom and Europe.
“Just go online and you’ll see how well we are doing with our UK shows, we are playing all over the world and we are selling out all over the place,” enthused Lundon in his thick Scouse accent. “Gary and I have never stopped playing but there’s a definite 80’s revival going on. Bands like A Flock Of Seagulls and OMD are all doing well again.”
Lundon credits social media with the ability of his band to reach a new audience who can go online and check out original China Crisis material and maintain direct contact with the band. “I think it’s great that record companies have gotten their comeuppance. They ripped off bands for such a long time. The royalty rates they paid out were so poor that a lot of bands finally realized they could do it themselves a lot cheaper and make much more profit.”
One of the first bands to be signed by Richard Branson’s fledgling Virgin Records in 1982, following the success of an independent single, “African And White”, school mates Lundon (guitar) and Daly (vocals/keyboards) joined forces with percussionist Dave Reilly and later Gary Johnson (bass) and Kevin Williamson (drums) to release their debut `Difficult Shapes And Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It’s Fun To Entertain’.
“We went over well in the UK and Europe and even did well in Canada (performing with Rational Youth at Toronto’s Kingswood Theatre) but we just couldn’t breakthrough in America,” Lundon bemoaned. “As far as they were concerned, they already had the Talking Heads and REM and that was that!”
Even the inclusion of Steely Dan stalwart, Walter Becker, who produced and played keyboards on their third and fifth albums (Flaunt The Imperfection in 1985 and Diary Of A Hollow Horse in 1989) couldn’t trigger sufficient interest stateside and Virgin eventually dropped the band after their fifth album.
Lundon feels Becker’s involvement with China Crisis had a great impact on the band and should have provided sufficient impetus to crack the U.S “That third album `Flaunt The Imperfection’ sold over one million copies worldwide, we had some great songs on that record; “Blackman Ray”, “King In A Catholic Style” but they weren’t big in America and you need a catalogue to have a hit over there.”
“Our problem was I think we were pigeon-holed with all those other bands (Echo And The Bunnymen, OMD, A Flock Of Seagulls, Frankie Goes To Hollywood) just because we were all from Liverpool but I think the critics misunderstood us. They pigeon-holed us, they stuck us in the same box. Yet our musical style was totally diverse, we performed, jazz, progressive rock, ballads, but we just didn’t get the right exposure at that time.”
Sometimes performing as a quartet with two session players and sometimes even expanded the band size to seven players, (depending on the economics of each situation) Lundon and Daly have maintained a special bond since day one. “Me and Gary are like a family, we went to school together, our connection is very strong, it’s what has kept us together all of these years” Lundon explained.
The success of their 2015 pledge-funded “Autumn In The Neighbourhood” release fuelled the duo’s belief that the current environment had changed and with their popularity as strong as it was in the early 80’s (if not stronger), Lundon and Daly are ready to ramp things up and head out on the road in 2020.
“It’s going to be a busy year for us,” Lundon enthused. “We’d love to record a new album but I don’t know when we are going to find the time. An idea we have is to re-record some of our catalogue and add some new material. But the important thing is that we are still busy, I can’t remember a time when we were more In demand.”
For ticket information for the band’s Saturday, January 25th date at Toronto’s Revival Event Centre, please link to https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/china-crisis-tickets-70226319813?aff=ebdssbeac