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The band toured with Go West and Marillion in late 1987, played major European outdoor festivals (including the Montreaux Jazz Festival, broadcast live across Europe by Swiss TV) and supported Robert Plant in early 1988.This diverse set of support slots revealed a problem in marketing the band which would last throughout their career.Now minus Dunnery, the remaining trio initially stayed on in Los Angeles, continuing to write and auditioning new singers.Returning to England, they recruited Lee Knott as the new It Bites singer.
Francis Dunnery has repeatedly stated his admiration for The Smiths and Morrissey.It Bites may also be described as a band as heavily influenced by pop as it is by progressive rock.The band's musical development can be split into four clear phases - their The Big Lad in the Windmill phase (in which they embraced various varieties of contemporary pop, funk, sophisti-pop, and Queen-style glam rock and processed it through their progressive rock influences); the Once Around the World phase (in which they produced 1970s style progressive rock with a 1980s contemporary producer-pop gloss); the Eat Me in St.(which documented the history of the electric guitar.Francis Dunnery featured prominently in the programme, comparing his Japanese and American Fender Stratocaster guitars and discussing technique and equipment.Bob Dalton later commented "it was actually the perfect situation because all we could afford to do was write songs 24/7. We became strong writers and strong players." which only charted modestly.Their second single, "Calling All the Heroes", was released in June 1986 and became a big hit, reaching No.It Bites' blend of contemporary 1980s producer-pop, progressive rock and hard rock (setting glossy keyboards and massed harmony vocals against heavy drumming, complex time signatures and Allan-Holdsworth-inspired guitar solos) would draw criticism from some music press writers who accused the band of failing to settle on a coherent direction.Despite this, the band forged a loyal and enthusiastic following in the UK.Virgin Records had insisted on some more pop-orientated sessions with producer Steve Hillage which resulted in the minor hit singles "Kiss Like Judas" (February 1988) and "Midnight" (April 1988).The first single from the album "Old Man And The Angel" (a heavily edited version of a lengthy track from the Wallis sessions) peaked at number 72 in the singles charts.