Images in Vogue formed in April 1981 when Don Gordon And Gary Smith joined together with Kevin Crompton and Joe Vizvary. The four came together 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 demos to college radio and local DJs.

The first line-up (1981): Joe Vizvary, Gary Smith, Gary J, Kevin Crompton, Don Gordon.

The band made its live debut September 26, 1981 at "Elektra" Vancouver’s first (and only) fashion dance. The following October IIV entered Water Street Sound studios to record their first album. After their second concert at the Luv-a-fair in December 1981, popular local club DJ Kin Clarke Champniss (now of Much Music) became the band's manager. His first act as manager was to replace temporary singer Gary J. The band found Dale Martindale through mutual friends, and the band's line-up was complete.

IIV continued work on their first EP at Mushroom Studios, with Dale rerecording vocals on the Water Street tracks, as well as working on new songs like For Germans. Dale's first live performances with IIV were two sold-out shows at Pharoah's, a small club in Vancouver's Gastown, in February 1982. In March 1982, IIV were asked to open for Depeche Mode at the Commodore Ballroom.

Gary Smith and Dale Martindale at an early photo shoot inside Pharoah's nightclub.

During that spring and summer IIV recorded an more than an album's worth of material. In June 1982 a limited edition pre-release 7" 3 song EP was released on their own IIV label, followed by a 12" 5 song EP, "Educated Man" in October 1982. Both EPs received college radio airplay across North America.

Between the release of the two EPs, IIV expanded their line-up adding keyboardist Glen Nelson to the line-up. 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, and prepared for their first national tour.

Images in Vogue's first Canadian tour started in January 1983 and continued until May 1983, climaxing with opening slots with Depeche Mode in Toronto and Roxy Music in Edmonton and Vancouver. During the tour, band generated record company interest, and in March 1983 IIV were signed to Warners Canada. The band's first major label release was a self-titled EP containing remixes of Lust For Love and For Germans and re-recordings of Masks, Breaking Up, and Just Like You.

Lust For Love 7" single.

By the end of 1983, Lust for Love was being played by radio stations across Canada, reaching the top 20 on some stations. The success of Lust For Love led to IIV being asked to open for Bryan Adams on his 1983 Western Canadian tour. After the tour with Bryan Adams, IIV headlined their own show at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom. In response to this success, Warners decided to invest in a video for Lust For Love, though there were not many programs which showed videos in Canada at that time.

In early 1984, IIV were asked to open for Duran Duran on their Seven and the Ragged Tiger tour. IIV did dates in Calgary, Vancouver and Seattle with Duran Duran before being refused further work permits by US immigration. A second single from the Images In Vogue 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 many nominations, including Song of the Year, Group of the Year, Best Vocalist, And Best Video. Glen and Joe were both nominated for Best Keyboardist. The group won awards for Best Video and Best Album Art. At CFNY's U-Know (Casby) Awards the band won Most Promising Group and Most Promising Vocalist awards.

At Mushroom Studios' mixing desk in Vancouver: Joe Vizvary, Dave Ogilvie, Ed Shaw.

As the band prepared for their next album, Don Gordon was replaced by former Strange Advance and Instructions guitarist Ed Shaw. Gary Wright, of "Dream Weaver" fame, was chosen to produce the album, and in May 1984 the band went to Los Angeles to record the album at Gary Wright's home studio. It took three months to record and mix the album, and when completed, the band was extremely disappointed with the results. The album sounded weak and not at all like the IIV of the previous recordings. The band asked Warners to not release the album and went into the studio to record a replacement. The band raised enough money to record Call It Love, and redo vocals on two demo tapes--Save It and Calling My Name. These songs, along with a rough mix of Everything About You, were put together as the Rituals EP, released in November 1984. Warners decided to add Rescue Me from those sessions to the EP, and release it as the first single. While Rescue Me received moderate airplay, many radio stations started playing Call It Love instead.

In early 1985 the band, now managing themselves, prepared to tour in support of Rituals. Warners, in response to the success of Rituals, decided to release the Gary Wright album, with Call It Love as the first single. Again the band raised money on their own, this time to record one new song--King's Service and redo vocals and remix as much of the album as possible. The "Touring Rituals" began in January 1985 with dates in Ontario and Quebec and moving westward.

Kevin Crompton.

IIV’s first full length album, In The House, and a 12" extended mix of Call It Love were released in Canada and Europe in March 1985. The In The House tour continued from March until June. At the end of the tour, Kevin suggested that the band move to Toronto in order 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. Before leaving for Toronto, the band prepared a video and dance mix for Save It to support the release of the single.

The band's goal in moving to Toronto was to tour more extensively, and for the next eight months that was what they did throughout eastern Canada. IIV was recognized for their hard work with a Juno nomination for Most Promising Group in November 1985. In January of 1986 the band 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, Someday, Look Me In The Eye, and Nothing Stays, were recorded for the album.

Glen Nelson on location at the Save It video shoot.

While touring had brought IIV recognition and a larger following, it also caused tensions in the group. Ed and Glen left the band in June. They were replaced by Tim Welch, a guitarist formerly with Sylum. The new line-up debuted in July 1986 in front of 5000 people at Molson's 250th birthday party. That summer IIV won Casby awards for Group of the Year and Single of the Year. Shortly after that, the group signed with Anthem Records and started work on their next full length album.

The first tracks for the album were recorded at Phase One studios and Saved By Technology in Toronto in late 1986. Piece of Your Heart and What If? Were recorded with Joe producing, then John Switzer, bass player and producer for Jane Sibbery, was added as co-producer on the next tracks for the album. By March 1987, four songs were completed. At that point Kerry Crawford and Jon Goldsmith, who had also produced Jane Sibbery as well as Bruce Cockburn and others, were hired to finish the album.

Dale Martindale on CBC TV's Switchback.

Though the album was completed in July 1987, Anthem delayed release until January 1988. During this time the band did not perform live, so members worked at various jobs until the album release. Most notably, Dale became host of the CBC TV show Switchback. Joe And Tim occasionally provided backing music for the show and the band performed 3 songs live on one episode.

The Spell, IIV’s second full length album, was released in January 1988 and the first single, So Careful, was heard on radio stations across Canada. In March 1988 IIV started touring in support of the Spell, but by May had lost support of their record company. In June, due to record company pressure, and internal finger-pointing, Gary left the band he had formed.

While the band continued to perform occasionally until 1991, and recorded and produced a video for Tonight in 1990, the remaining members had lost their momentum and enthusiasm without Gary. After a final show in November 1991 at the Opera House in Toronto, the band unofficially ended as members went on to other projects.

Dale Martindale and Gary Smith on stage with a reunited IIV in 2002.

In 1994, IIV’s first compilation CD, Collection, was released on SPG records. The CD featured extended mixes of many songs as well as remixes and unreleased tracks from 1982 and 1986. 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 TV show Degrassi Junior High.

In October 2002, after years of fan requests, IIV reunited for a concert at Toronto’s Opera House. The line-up consisted of Gary, Dale, Joe, Derrick, Glen, and Ed, with a special appearance by Tim. The band performed songs from all parts of IIV’s past, from the all-electronic For Germans played by Gary, Glen and Joe, to So Careful with Tim and Ed on guitars.

to be continued