The Alarm

The Alarm are a Welsh anthem-rock band that was initially active for 10 years, starting in 1981. The band debuted with an eponymous EP on I.R.S. in 1983, followed by four albums for that label between 1984 and 1989. Guitarist/vocalist Mike Peters reactivated the nameplate in the 21st century.

Members: Mike Peters (lead vocals, guitar), Dave Sharp (guitar, backing vocals, 1981-91), Eddie MacDonald (bass, backing vocals, 1981-91), Nigel Twist (drums, 1981-91)


Background

The Alarm had its roots in The Toilets, a Rhyl punk band formed in 1977 by singer–guitarist Mike Peters and drummer Nigel Buckle.

Peters (b. Michael Leslie Peters, February 25, 1959, Prestatyn) grew up in the Crescent Hotel on Edward Henry St. in Rhyl along with future bandmate Eddie MacDonald. He first worked as an IBM System 3 computer operator for the British convenience retailer Kwik Save. Peters assembled his first band, Hairy Hippie, for his sister’s 21st birthday party on October 10, 1975, at the Talardy Hotel in St Asaph.

On September 13, 1976, Peters traveled with friends Steve Allan Jones and Steff Holt to the English border city of Chester, where they saw the Sex Pistols at the Quaintways nightclub on Northgate St.> Inspired by the band’s raw energy, Peters (under the stagename Eddie Bop) formed The Toilets with Buckle (alias Des Troy) and two musicians known as Steve Shock and Bo Larks. By 1978, they morphed into Quasimodo with guitarist Dave Sharp and (later Waterboys, World Party) keyboardist Karl Wallinger. They based their set on the 1970 Who concert album Live at Leeds.

In mid-1978, Peters retained Buckle and Sharp for Seventeen, a mod-rock band with old friend Eddie MacDonald. In March 1980, London three-press Vendetta Records released Seventeen’s sole single: “Don’t Let Go” / “Bank Holiday Weekend.” They toured with the Stray Cats and changed their name to Alarm Alarm. After a brief pause, they reformed as The Alarm. Buckle changed his stagename to Nigel Twist.

The Alarm made their live debut on June 6, 1981, at the Victoria Hotel in Prestatyn. They opened their set with “Shout to the Devil,” a martial Celt rock anthem. In September, they instigated White Cross Records for their first single: “Unsafe Building,” a Peters–MacDonald original backed with Sharp’s “Up For Murder.” Recorded at Manchester’s Pluto Studios with engineer Phil Bush (The Distractions, Ak Band), they split the single into an “electric side” (A) and “acoustic side” (B). They pressed 1,000 of the single, which earned “single of the month” honors in ZigZag magazine.

On Monday December 7, 1981, The Alarm opened for The Fall at The Venue on London’s Victoria Street.> The ensuing Sounds coverage sparked interest in their next show at the West End lounge Upstairs at Ronnie’s, where U2‘s agent, Ian Wilson, watched their set. Impressed, he became their manager and linked them with U2. The Alarm opened for the Irish rockers on their December 22 show at the Lyceum Ballroom. In mid-1982, The Alarm signed with I.R.S. Records.


Select discography:

  • The Alarm (EP, 1983)
  • Declaration (1984)
  • Strength (1985)
  • Eye of the Hurricane (1987)
  • Change (1989)

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