One of Canada’s hottest new wave acts of the 80’s, guitarist/keyboardist Daryl Kromm and Drew Arnott, drummer and synthesizer wiz first began playing together in a band called Slan during the mid-70’s. After calling it quits in ’77, Kromm then moved on to the Bryan Adams‘ touring camp in ’79, where he first met bassit Paul Iverson.
Following the tour, Kromm introduced Iverson to Arnott, and three formed Remote Control and worked the Vancouver bar circuit doing covers, all the while writing their own material in Arnott’s home studio. Before long they were peddling their demos to all the producers and managers, which ventually found their way into the hands of Bruce Fairbairn, then manager Bruce Allen. The trio landed a deal with Capitol Records, and after a name change to Strange Advance released their debut WORLDS AWAY in 1982, but not with Allen as their representation. Instead, they opted for Management III in Los Angeles, home to the likes of Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond.
Their dance/synthesizer sound was an instant hit, with “She Controls Me,” and the title track both getting plaid to death across the country’s radio stations, as well as “She Controls Me” making its way into the regular rotation on Much Music. They were quickly followed by “Kiss In The Dark” and “The Second That I Saw You,” giving the band constant exposure well into the next year, which included the dance remix of “Love Games” becoming a smash hit in nightclubs across England, soon pushing the album gold with 50,000 sales.
In early ’83, featuring remnants of the band The Instructions, Strange Advance got ready to embark on a hefty world tour, backing up the likes of Kajazgoogoo (one hit wonder with “Too Shy”) and David Bowie on his Canadian tour. But after close to a year in rehearsal, including learning material for a follow-up album and doing TV and radio promos, it all fell apart when Kromm’s father Edward lost his battle with cancer. Guitarist Ed Shaw moved on and joined Images In Vogue. Gyles followed a few years later. Strange Advance in the meantime sat in limbo.
Meanwhile, featuring guest appearances by Bryan Adams, Bob Rock (most notable for his production credits which would later include Metallica) Bruce Fairbairn and Paul Dean of Loverboy among others, WORLDS AWAY earned the band a Juno nomination for “Most Promising Group.”
The band relocated to Toronto in ’84 and began recording their follow-up at Phase One Studios, with additional work back at Vancouver’s famed Mushroom Studios (featuring Teenage Head‘s Dave The Rave Ogilvie as engineer) and Brittania Row Studios in London, England. But Iverson was fired from the trio, and would later sue Kromm and Arnott for back royalties. With Arnott behind the controls and with Ric deGroot of Quickflight now on board for touring purposes, 2WO was released and again featured a star-studded guest roster, including Spider Sinnaeve of Streetheart, Bernie Labarge of Labarge, Domenic Troiano, Gerald O’Brien, Steve Sexton, Andy Newmark, Earl Slick of David Bowie fame and Phantom Rocker & Slick and David Bowie, among a slew of others.
“We Run” was the first single released even before the album hit the shelves, followed by several dance remixes cut for the nightclubs. By early ’85 Arnott and Kromm had recruited a backing band and hit the road for the first time for a series of shows across Canada and into the UK. “We Run” was followed by the second single, “Running Away.” Along with “I’ll Be The One To Cry,” “The Sounds of Life” and “Nor Crystal Tears,” the band earned its second straight gold record.
They jumped to the indie label Current Records in ’87, and saw Capitol in the meantime release a greatest hits package in their OVER 60 MINUTES WITH … series. With Arnott again behind the controls, released THE DISTANCE BETWEEN a year later. Again it featured a who’s who, including Randy Bachman, Ed Shaw (who, if you’d being paid attention, left the group’s touring ensemble a few years earlier to join Images In Vogue), and Greg Critchley of FM. The lead off single and video was “Love Becomes Electric,” which became the group’s biggest hit as they made their way across Canada on another tour.
But by this time the world was straying away from synthesize pop, and Kromm and Arnott eventually went their separate ways to work on other projects. WORLDS AWAY & BACK, a compilation of the band’s three albums was released as a retrospective in 1995, which also contained some remixes.