Birmingham Music




Along with the Starfighters and Quartz, Cryer were a heavyweight in Birmingham rock music circles.  Constantly gigging, and touring in support of such notables as Gillan and Ozzy Osbourne, the band had a great live reputation – not least due to the extensive use of somewhat unpredictable pyrotechnics operated by roadie Stevie Husband – alongside melodic hard rock tunes.

Formed in 1974 the line up fluctuated over the years but by the time they got around to committing their sound to vinyl in 1980 the line up consisted of Graham Careless (Vocals), Garry ‘Musical Exchanges’ Chapman (Guitar), Stu Clarke (Guitar), Pete Wayne (Keyboards), Richard ‘Fez’ Ferriday (Bass) and Roger Whitehouse (Drums):  previously, Steve ‘Bertie’ Burton had been vocalist but had left to form the Starfighters.

Force - Set Me FreeA self-financed single – the Single, aptly enough – was released (with the much better B-side ‘Hesitate’) and an album ‘Set Me Free’ recorded at the Old Smithy studios in Worcester.  However, this album was finally released after the band split in 1983 on Heavy Metal Records who decided to change the name of the band to Force for reasons better known to themselves!

Post-Cryer, Garry Chapman (lovingly nicknamed ‘Frog’) was manager of Musical Exchanges (where I ‘enjoyed’ a Youth Training Scheme upon leaving school and was mentored there by Steve Husband) on Snow Hill and can now be found running Professional Music Technology (PMT) on Lawley Middleway, Fez Ferriday formed Tourco (for whom I worked) which operated out of offices next to Musical Exchanges and later premises on Gooch Street, and Graham Careless and Roger Whitehouse formed a band called Force to gig the album material:  I do recall Force in the later-1980s with Musical Exchanges very own Gary Sharpe on guitar regularly gigging at Edward’s Number 7 and 8.

All-in-all a good Birmingham band that enjoyed 10 years of ‘cult’ success but never quite made the big-time.

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20 comments for “Cryer”

  1. RIP Stu Clarke, died of a diabetic coma 21/7/09

    Posted by Derek Eynon | August 4, 2009, 9:31 am
  2. Didn’t know Stu had died, very sad to hear.

    As for the unpredictable pyros, I remember a gig when flaming fragments from the exploding polystyrene head on the drum kit landed on a wedge monitor and set the cone on fire. Don’t think Fez was too happy.

    Posted by Phil | September 11, 2009, 5:29 pm
  3. Real shock and saddened to hear Stu Clarke had died.

    Spent many a happy hour in Chaz’s music shop in Blackheath where Stu worked for a while in the late 70’s. Still remember Stu with his red Gibson SG junior, always in his hands, teaching us kids Judas Priest riffs.

    Cryer used the back room of the shop a few times to rehearse and i remember being ‘blown-away’ when Garry Chapman let me play the Gibson SG he’d bought from KK Downing through his Marshall stack.

    Posted by KEVAN SIMPSON | October 27, 2009, 3:43 pm
  4. Sad to hear that Stu has passed away. I used to watch Cryer at the Golden Eagle on Hill Street and remember the pyrotechnics vividly.

    I also feel compelled to add that during their time they also had an erstwhile friend and former band member of mine, Mick Billingham on keyboards who went on to success with Dexy’s Midnight Runners and General Public. Where are you now Mick?

    Strangely, Garry Chapman’s name came up last week when I was in Reverb in Birmingham buying a guitar for my son!!

    Posted by David Maiden | November 21, 2009, 10:31 pm
  5. According to Wikipedia:

    “Mickey Billingham now plays in The Beat with Ranking Roger & Everett Morton.

    As well as being in The Beat, Mickey Billingham also teaches singing and performance techniques at Dudley College in the West Midlands.”

    Posted by Phil | December 4, 2009, 3:43 pm
  6. So sad to hear of Stu’s death.

    I had the privilege to use Stu’s Sherwood Green Strat. in my gigs with Hollywood Beyond in the ’80s. Felt very honoured that the great Clarke would allow me to use one of his babies.

    Stu had the most bizarre sense of humour. Great! Take care Mr Clarke.

    Posted by Andy Welch | January 9, 2010, 5:13 pm
  7. We all miss Stu, still can’t believe he’s gone, we had some fantastic times together, could write a book, Stu did. We are rehearsing again with Huwey Lucas standing in for Stu, the first gig is booked for Fri23rd July at the Asylum in town. Its for charity, the money raised going to a diabetes charity in memory of Stu, love to see as many of the old crew there as possible, I just hope we can do Stu proud. Love you mate, miss you mate, Garry Chapman.

    Posted by Garry Chapman | March 15, 2010, 9:26 pm
  8. Hi Garry, many thanks for the post. I’m sure we all echo your sentiments about Stu and I’ve just been converting some of my old vinyl to mp3 and recently cleaned up my old copy of Single/Hesitate and it reminded me what a great band Cryer were. Hope the gig gets the turnout it deserves.

    Posted by Andy Doherty | March 16, 2010, 12:15 am
  9. Stu gone. NEVER.
    It is too long since I last saw Stu tucking into his favourite “Clit Sandwich”(Sliced Beetroot on white bread). The joy on his face as that red juice was licked by his tongue. Sheer joy in his eyes.

    I remember the first time Gary introduced the lighting “guy”( I was “sound guy” ). The Talbot was the place it started for me. Over the years I saw Stu grow from switch flicking “Lighting guy” to the gent of the Gibo and the Seducer of the Strat. That bloke worked so hard to get those licks. Hats off to Gary he showed them to Stu. But once he knew how to walk- Stu then ran. The growth was very quick. Stu had a passion.

    Only last week my students were blown away by what was coming out my Ipod. Cryer Live. Recorded from the desk. Stu and Gary were brothers in sound. There is no justice in the world. Why that band wasn’t signed by a major label I don’t know.

    I have one student who is doing his sculpture degree on how he it didn’t know his father and is making life size figures from jigsaws. You know I can’t help it. “Life is but a Jigsaw and the pieces do not fit”. I tell him. “Whow ! That is exactly how I feel. Who wrote that ?” A class rock band Cryer.
    One more convert.

    “Spotlight on Stu Clark” We are blessed to know him. Bob Booth

    Posted by Bob Booth | April 10, 2010, 1:51 am
  10. Really sad to hear of Stu s death.For a short time i took lots of photo’s of Cryer live at places like The Golden Eagle,Bogarts &Haden hill leisure centre(Halesowen)I Still have a studio cassette of 4 songs recorded by Cryer tracks include “Fugitive”,”Voices” & Black studded sword” Happy Days.

    Posted by Phil Cairns | June 7, 2010, 8:27 pm
  11. Remember walking back from Haden Hill after seeing them, having a cup of tea at various drop offs on the way making the journey at least 3 hrs. It was always raining and mine and my boyfriends Afghan coats always had that distinctive odour of wet dog and patchouli, bliss- looking forward to the 23rd JULY

    Posted by Jacqui Thacker (Nee Hall) | June 25, 2010, 3:34 pm
  12. Stu was a great guy. I knew him at Musical Exchanges from the Broad Street days and I went on to have the privilege to produce and engineer at his studios in Bearwood, Birmingham. He was a kind soul and ultra talented and will be sadly missed. Gary, I look forward to seeing the Cryer show on the 23rd, I am making a trip from NYC to see it and I am very excited to catch up with everybody from back in the day……… BREAK A LEG DUDE!!!!

    Posted by Brett Hammond | July 10, 2010, 6:37 pm
  13. Remember Stu and Garry from way back and they sold me my first guitar a black gibson sg copy. Stu gave me some lessons at his moms house in Bearwood. Hoping to get lots of people along to the memorial gig on Friday 23rd including guys from QUARTZ. Hey Bob would love a copy of the Cryer libe gig you got if possible. Please e-mail OK


    Posted by Big Tim | July 11, 2010, 4:58 pm
  14. Really looking forward to seeing cryer again at the asylum bar july 23,Remember seeing them many times at bogarts and the golden eagle in the city centre.Can anyone help out with a discussion i was having today,what year did Bogarts & Golden Eagle close ? I seem to remember didnt Bogarts close because of a certain justice Price who just didnt like the place,

    Posted by Phil Cairns | July 15, 2010, 10:13 pm
  15. Phil, I remember seeing Demon at the Golden Eagle when they were touring The Unexpected Guest which came out in 1982. I think it went very soon after that so I’d guess it closed in 1983.

    Posted by Phil | July 17, 2010, 1:37 pm
  16. Further to my posting of July 15,I have since found that The Golden Eagle closed on Jan 15 1984,even with my poor maths that’s 26 years ago,a life time, all i need now is the date Bogarts closed.Just got the studio cassette of Cryer on getting myself ready for 23 july,According to the back Cryer then consisted of;Gary Chapman,Fez Ferriday,Roger Whitehouse,Steve Jones and on vocals Steve Burton,does anyone know what happened to Steve Burton ? Where can i get a recording of Cryer live ?

    Posted by Phil Cairns | July 19, 2010, 7:11 pm
  17. Hi Phil, for Steve Burton info, check out the Starfighters page.

    Posted by Andy Doherty | July 20, 2010, 12:38 am
  18. Can’t believe that in the same week I will have seen Jameson Raid and Cryer play live again for the first time since 1982 ! Terrible news about Stu – I saw him several times with Ian the Goat (Sings Black sabbath) and always hoped for a Cryer reunion – but not this way. Anyway, I’ll be there on Friday, squeezing into my old Happy Face T shirt. Now if only I could get my hands on that live Cryer tape mentioned earlier…Pleazzzze !

    Posted by Steve Labram | July 20, 2010, 10:22 pm
  19. l’ve just found out about stu’s death.Terrific shame, great guy,dedicted to rock.l knew him from school, and for a few years after.we used to hang-out a his mums, listerning to mott the hoople, and argent.whilst his younger sister was nuts on the baycity rollers.we smoked loads of fags and drank tea. great guy,nicely strange,sadly missed,l shall raise a class tonite

    Posted by rod silvester | November 14, 2010, 6:01 pm
  20. Hey everbody,
    I’m writing from Turkey.Out of pure luck or just a game of fate I happen to have bought an album named Set Me Free a decade ago which I found in a dusty corner of a music shop.The band’s name was FORCE.But unfortunately I could not find any info about the band just until I find this website.I was just following bits of clues about the musicians which were written on the booklet and I found out that one member of a band that could turn out to be a world wide fame has passed away.I am really sorry for the death of Stu Clark and am really sorry that Cryer hadn’t made worldwide.You deserved better than that guys.You are the reason why I still keep a cassette player at my house.HOLD ON TO YOUR LOVE

    Posted by volkan gun | May 12, 2011, 8:31 am

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