Here are a few bits and pieces which I've summarized:
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer / December 17, 1987
"INNOCENCE MISSION IS CATCHING ON" by Steven Rea, Inquirer Staff Writer
The band formed in 1982 at Lancaster Catholic High (from their 1989 bio). In 1983 and 1984, the Innocence Mission was known as Masquerade. They were a Top 40 cover band and performed in school, at dance halls, lounges and Holiday Inns.
Quote from Don: "Those were days of learning, of supporting ourselves through school with odd jobs. It was serious enough that we all kept doing it, but the level of seriousness changed when we started doing our own material. And that's when things really began, and that was about two years ago. 1985, early '86."
They frequently played at Chestnut Cabaret, 23 East, Ambler and J. C. Dobbs.
Hooters bassist Andy King and WMMR's Cyndi Drue recorded pitches on the band's four-song demo tape (although, I'm not exactly sure which of the many demos were on that tape).
Karen is older than Don by a year, and Don is older than Mike by a year and Steve was the same age as Don at the time of the article.
Quote from Patrick Clifford (A&M exec): "They put a big smile on my face. I got the demo tape just as I was getting on a plane to go to Stockholm. So I flew over to Stockholm and I put this tape on, and when I got off the plane I was so crazy about what I'd heard I was thinking, 'I have to find out more about them!' I ran to a pay phone and immediately called New York to talk to their attorney. Only problem: It was still like 4 o'clock in the morning there."
Source: Philadelphia Daily News / December 8, 1987
"CHARM, TALENT MAKE THIS MISSION POSSIBLE NEW GROUP HAS BIG FUTURE" by Jonathan Takiff, Daily News Staff Writer
Cabaret nightclub owner and manager of the Hooters, Steve Mountain and Concert Company boss Stephen Starr made unsuccessful bids to manage the band.
A&M signed the band for a minimum of two albums. Geffen and Capitol Records were also in the running.
Daniel Lenois listened to two sets of an IM show at 23 East and was being considered as a producer.
They opened for 10,000 Maniacs at the Chestnut Cabaret on December 16, 1987.