After playing together for four years in Rhyl, Wales, first as a punk band called The Toilets, and then as a mod group called 17, the quartet of Mike Peters, Dave Sharp, Eddie MacDonald and Nigel Twist made a fresh start as The Alarm after Dexys Midnight Runners fired them as a support band on a UK tour because they were not good enough.
Moving to London in 1981 the band immersed itself in live work, and after playing support slots for The Jam, U2 and The Beat (and gaining music press support) they signed to Miles Copeland’s IRS Records.
Their first taste of chart success came in October 1983 when 68 Guns reached #17 in the UK, helped by their first Top of the Pops appearance.
A debut album (Declaration) was released in February 1984, peaking at #6 in the UK and demonstrating an anthemic rock approach which would always remain in the shadow of U2 and Simple Minds throughout the band’s career.
Subsequent albums (many of them paying homage to their native homeland of Wales) and large-scale tours – including two nights supporting Queen at Wembley Stadium – did not elevate The Alarm to the level of bonafide rock legends (like, for example, U2 – from whom The Alarm drew their inspiration).
The band played its last gig at the Brixton Academy in London in June 1991. Mike Peters re-formed the band in 2001 with entirely new personnel. Since that time The Alarm have released a number of albums.
Peters has been seriously ill in recent years with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.