Benton Harbor, Michigan, is about as well known as the home of the Whirlpool kitchen appliance corporation as it is known as a hub of rioting, blight, and civic mismanagement. Despite a population that barely cracks five digits, the town's soul culture was fertile in disproportion to the size of its talent pool and corporate vortex. While in junior high, Frank Gillespie convinced his classmates Larry Scales and Richard Alexander to form Crystal's Image. The group agreed to a Washington, D.C., relocation, though Alexander soon returned home and was replaced by Derek Cortez Hill. After a few disappointing run-ins with unreliable managers and a poorly promoted debut single, Gillespie himself scheduled studio time at Silver Spring, Maryland's Track Recording in 1980. "A Friend" b/w "Crystal's Image (Cold Crush Theme)" was a creative triumph, but the sessions broke Gillespie financially, driving him back to the welcoming arms and spiraling eddies of Benton Harbor later that year.