Gary Daly possesses one of new wave's most calming voices. While the music of his band China Crisis is usually subdued, so are Daly's vocals; whether singing in a plaintive whisper or with a lively tone, Daly's voice is always collected. Born on May 5, 1962, Daly formed China Crisis in 1979 in Kirkby, England, a town near Liverpool. Sharing an affection for Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and Brian Eno, Daly and guitarist Eddie Lundon had become burned out from playing with various post-punk groups in the area. Daly quit school and then spent much of his time indoors tinkering with synthesizers and a drum machine. Along with Lundon, Daly began writing songs using his high-tech toys. Feeling creatively stifled by the drum machine, the pair eventually asked percussionist Dave Reilly to join them, and in 1982 they released the single "African and White" as China Crisis on the independent label Inevitable. Later re-released by Virgin Records, "African and White" was also China Crisis' first hit in the U.K. Adding Gazza Johnson (bass) and Kevin Wilkinson to the lineup, China Crisis then recorded a debut LP (Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It's Fun to Entertain). Sometimes misunderstood by critics, China Crisis distinguished themselves from Liverpudlian peers like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, the Teardrop Explodes, and Echo & the Bunnymen by digesting a cornucopia of musical genres, everything from jazz to progressive rock. Despite the stylistic deviations China Crisis maintained their distinctive sound through a number of albums in the '80s and '90s. On July 17, 1999, Wilkinson hung himself. In 2000 Daly contributed a track to a tribute compilation to Wilkinson, Green Indians. Also that year, the British press reported that Daly allegedly assaulted the band's manager; after receiving a warning from the police, the case was dropped.
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