The Alarm Biography
Formed in Rhyl, Wales, during 1981, this energetic pop outfit originally comprised Mike Peters (25 February 1959; vocals/guitar), David Sharp (b. 28 January 1959, Salford, Lancashire, England; vocals/guitar), Eddie MacDonald (b. 1 November 1959; bass), and Nigel Twist (b. 18 July 1958; drums). Originally known as Seventeen, they changed their name after recording a self-penned song titled Alarm Alarm. Peters was anxious to steer the band in the direction of U2, whose commitment and dedication appealed to his sense of rock as an expression of passion. However, by the time of the Alarms first UK hit, 1983s 68 Guns, their style and imagery most closely recalled punk rockers the Clash. The declamatory verve continued on Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke and the traditional rock influence was emphasized in their long spiked hair, skin-tight leather trousers, and ostentatious belts. Behind the high energy, however, there was a lighter touch that was eloquently evinced on their reading of Pete Seegers The Bells Of Rhymney, which they performed in aid of the coal miners strike in 1984. The original U2 comparisons began to make more sense on the Alarms fourth album, Electric Folklore Live, which displayed the power of their in-concert performance. Change (produced by Tony Visconti) saw them investigating their Celtic origins with the assistance of members from the Welsh Symphony Orchestra, and was released in a Welsh-language version (Newid).
The much-maligned Mike Peters embarked on a solo career in the 90s following the dissolution of the Alarm. He also recorded with Billy Duffy (ex-Cult) as Coloursound, before resurrecting the Alarm name for 20th anniversary tours during 2001. In 2004, Peters and the Alarm returned to the UK Top 30 when they re-released 68 Guns under the pseudonym of the Poppy Fields. To emphasise Peters point about image being more important than talent in the contemporary music scene, the video for the single featured young Welsh band the Wayriders lip-synching the lyrics.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.