Bill Wade memorial
After over a dozen top 20 hits over a decade that included the likes of “Sweet City Woman,” “Wild Eyes,” “Hit The Road Jack,” and “Carry Me,” drummer and vocalist Kim Berly (real name Kimball Meyer) left The Stampeders in 1979 in search of new adventures.
He formed The Cry with keyboardist Robo MacPherson, adding guitarist Gary Scrutton (also from the last ‘big band’ inception of The Stampeders) and bassist Brian Whitty soon after. Berly also removed himself from the drumkit to concentrate on fronting the band, so drummer Bill Wade, ex of Leigh-Ashford and Moxy was brought in.
With more of a new wave sound, the change in musical direction warranted re-inventing himself, so Berly assumed the alias of Kimball Fox. They scored a deal with Orient Records with distribution from RCA, and released their self-titled debut album in 1980. Produced by Will Morrison (co-writer of a couple of the songs) and Ian Guenther at Amber Studios in Toronto, the songs were predominantly written by Berly, along with a pair from MacPherson (“You” and “Razor’s Edge”), and a cover of The Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.” Along with “Crackdown” and “Can’t Get Close,” it was one of three singles released that fuelled a cross-Canada tour that had them on the road for the better part of a year.
Their follow-up album, 1981’s LEAVE YOUR BONES IN THE HALL had Wade replaced by new drummer Chas Mitchell. With the exception of MacPherson’s “Congratulations” (the second single) and “Such A Crime,” the songs were more of a collaborative effort than the first album. With the lead-off single, “Enough,” the music continued in the vein of its predecessor, with a pop element woven into a general new wave sound. Other noteable cuts included the lead-off “Small Talk,” “Such A Crime,” and “She Was Only Dancin’.”
By ’82 Berly had assumed the drumming duties and the band was trimmed down to a quartet. But with Orient Records closing their doors, RCA picked the band up for GUILTY FINGERS, released later that year. Guenther and Morrison had returned to the production chairs for the third straight time, and the music had taken more of a straight pop sound, with the tender “This Time,” “Last Lonely One,” and “Paper Dolls.”
Berly and MacPherson split the songwriting duties between themselves, and also covered Jimmy Ruffin’s Motown hit, “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?” Although the lead-off “Lookin’ For Love” b/w “This Time” was cut as a single and initially did well, by this point internal strife in the band and with management led to the demise of the group shortly after the album’s release.
Berly tried his hand at acting for the rest of the decade, becoming a mainstay on the Toronto theatre scene. He eventually went back to his roots in the mid ’90s when The Stampeders reformed, and released his debut solo album, A VIEW FROM THE MOON in 2013.
Scrutton stayed in the business and became a road manager and guitar technician, while MacPherson and Whitty both became session players. MacPherson later joined Mike McKenna in The Slidewiders, while Whitty became a specialist as a wedding performer.