Crispy Ambulance were an English post-punk band, formed in Manchester in late 1977 by Alan Hempsall (vocals), Keith Darbyshire (bass), Gary Madeley (drums) and Robert Davenport (guitar).[1] They had been inspired by the Sex Pistols second gig in the Lesser Free Trade Hall and the bands Magazine and Hawkwind.

Career[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

The band played their first gig on 1 January 1978 at the Spurley Hey Youth Centre.[1] Following a self-released debut single, "From the Cradle to the Grave" (1980), the band joined Factory Records. Singles Unsightly and Serene and "Live on a Hot August Night" (produced by Martin Hannett) preceded their album The Plateau Phase, and final single "Sexus". The Plateau Phase was given a five star review by Sounds.[3]

In April 1980 singer Alan Hempsall also appeared on stage with Joy Division at Derby Hall, standing in for Ian Curtis who had suffered an epileptic fit,[1] a performance which ultimately descended into a riot. This scene is depicted in the Joy Division biopic Control. During 1981-1982 Crispy Ambulance played several dozen live dates in the UK, as well as a short European tour with Section 25. They also recorded a session for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show in January 1981.[3]

Crispy Ambulance disbanded in late 1982, leaving behind Fin, a live album of late period songs. A further posthumous album, Frozen Blood, included their 1981 BBC radio session for the John Peel programme. The four members carried on for a short time as "Ram Ram Kino", releasing one single "Advantage" on Temple Records.[1]

The original line-up of Crispy Ambulance reformed in 1999, and went on to release two studio albums - Scissorgun in 2002, and The Powder Blind Dream in 2004, as well as a live album, Accessory After the Fact.[1] All these later recordings were produced by Graham Massey of 808 State. The group also undertook a short tour of North America in November 2002.

In the commentary for the 2002 film, 24 Hour Party People, Tony Wilson of Factory Records stated that while he liked Crispy Ambulance, he felt that their name was the worst band name of all time.

Discography[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

Studio albums
  • The Blue & Yellow (of the Yacht Club) (1983), C.A. Tapes
  • Frozen Blood (2000), LTM
Live albums
  • Open, Gates of Fire (1983), C.A. Tapes
  • Fin (1985), LTM
  • Accessory After the Fact (1999), LTM

Ram Ram Kino[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

  • Advantage – Tantric Routines EP (1985), Temple
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