Crispy Ambulance were formed in Manchester (UK) in 1978 by Alan Hempsall (vocals), Keith Darbyshire (bass), Gary Madeley (drums) and Robert Davenport (guitar).
Following a self-released debut single From the Cradle to the Grave (Aural Assault, 1980) the band joined Factory Records. Singles Not What I Expected (Factory, 1980) and Live on a Hot August Night (Factory Benelux, 1981, produced by Martin Hannett) preceded the album The Plateau Phase (Factory Benelux, 1981), and final single Sexus (also Factory Benelux, 1981).
The band played several dozen live dates in the north of England and London, as well as a short European tour with Factory Records labelmates Section 25 in January 1982. Previously in April 1980 singer Alan Hempsall had also appeared on stage with Joy Division at Bury Derby Hall (UK), a performance which ultimately descended into a riot.
Crispy Ambulance disbanded late in 1982, leaving behind Fin, a live album of late period songs not recorded in the studio. A further posthumous album Frozen Blood included their 1981 BBC radio session for the John Peel programme. The four members carried on for a short time as Ram Ram Kino, releasing the single Advantage, on Temple Records.
The original line-up of Crispy Ambulance reformed in 1999, and went on to release two studio albums produced by Graham Massey of 808 State. The group also undertook a short tour of North America in November 2002.