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Inspired after witnessing gigs by the Sex Pistols and Magazine, vocalist Alan Hempsall formed Crispy Ambulance with guitarist Robert Davenport, bassist Keith Darbyshire, and drummer Gary Madeley. After several shows, including a support slot for Joy Division, they recorded their first single and contacted labels such as Rough Trade and Factory, only to be turned down. Upset but resourceful, the band released it on their own Aural Assault imprint. Rob Gretton (Joy Division's manager) was soon hired by Factory, and his first priority was signing Crispy Ambulance — ironic since the label had earlier rejected the band. After a couple singles were derided in the press for their resemblance to Joy Division, the band was shifted to Factory's Belgian subsidiary. Their lone proper studio LP, The Plateau Phase, was released in 1982 and received more comparisons to their brethren, as well as '70s prog rock. The Crispies broke up later that year, but a number of posthumous releases containing studio extras, live material, and radio sessions saw issue. Most significant were the 1999 reissues of The Plateau Phase and live compilation Fin; the band re-formed in November of that year for a reunion show in Manchester to celebrate the fact. A live documention of the show was issued the following year, and the band opted to continue operating as a fully functioning entity. The Graham Massey-produced Scissorgun, a full-length LP for Darla, was released in 2002.