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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5 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

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