January 28, 1958: Dave Sharp born as Dave Kitchingman
July 18, 1958: Nigel Twist Born Nigel Buckle
February 25th, 1959: Mike Peters born.
November 1, 1959: Eddie MacDonald born.
October 6 1975: Mike Peters playsed his first gig at Susan Peter’s 21st Birthday party. (his sister)
May 8th 1977, : Mike Peters saw The Clash at the Electric Circus on the White Riot Tour decided he needs to forma band. With in a couple weeks he has formed a punk band, The Toilets with Gaz Hughes, Glyn Crossley and O’Malley.
May 1977: The first rehearsals for the toilets begin with covers including ‘Anarchy In The UK’, ‘Breakdown’, “Sheena Is A Punk rocker”. The drummer quit instantly when he realized what it meant to be in a punk band.
Summer 1977: The Toilets put together their first set of original songs including ‘Alarm Alarm’, ‘Nothing to Do’, ‘Office Jobs’ and ‘Social Security’. Drummer Nigel Buckle (Twist) is enlisted to fill-in for the one gone AWOL, and soon Dave Kitchingman (Sharp) joined-up as well…as the band’s manager (becaise he had secured them their first gig). They played their first gig at Palace Hotel in Rhyl and it went down a storm.
September 30th, 1977: After a successful sting opening for The Slits, The Toilets play their 4th gig at The Palace. At this point they have all changed their names to punk rock personas: Mike Peters became W.C. Smith, Glyn Crossley became Steve Shock, Nigel Buckle became Des Troy and O’Malley became Bo Larks. “Manager” David Kitchingman changed his name to Chuck Burial and went on to form a short lived punk band called Chuck Burial and the Embalmed. By this point the band added the songs ‘Media Girl’, ‘James Bond’ ‘Ice Cream and Rock’ to their repertoire.
October 22, 1977: The Toilets played their biggest ever gig, supporting The Clash at Upstairs At Eric’s in Liverpool. Their blistering 20 minute set to a packed house became the highlight of their short career.
December 1977: With nowhere to go after the show with the Clash, the Toilets fell into turmoil and stagnation. To try to forge ahead, Mike Peters opens the 1520 club in North Rhyl to promote new wave bands. One of the first bands to play is Amsterdam featuring one Eddie MacDonald on guitar. Peters and MacDonald, neighbors since the age of 4, strike-up a new friendship based on a common love for the power-pop of bands like The Rich Kids.
January 27, 1978: The Toilets play their final gig at the 1520 club. Peters and MacDonald play together for the very first time during the soundcheck. It’s the end of the Toilets, but the beginning of something better: Seventeen.
May 27 1978: Seventeen, Bee Hotel, Rhyl : Seventeen’s first ever gig, the night was dubbed “Pop Generation”, The first gig ‘Seventeen’ played was called ‘Pop Generation’ at the Bee (now Station) Hotel in Rhyl.
February 16 1980: Seventeen, Pier Pavillion, Hastings: The 3rd Mod Convention Seventeen were second on the bill. The event was opened by “Relay” and headlined by “The Circles”
February: Seventeen are investigated by the DHSS for DOLE violations. Witch hunt ensues because the band is playing live by subsisting on DOLE money as they try to make it as a band.
Don't Let Go/Bank Holiday Weekend
March 31 1980:
Seventeen, Don’t Let Go / Bank Holiday Weekend released : The release of Seventeen’s first and only single, a double A side featuring “Don’t Let Go” and “Bank Holiday Weekend”. The single was released on Vendetta records. (see details in the Discography
Seventeen sign their record contract with Vendetta
April 9 1980: Seventeen play live at Rotters Club, Hereford
Mike Peters in Seventeen
Ad for Seventeen Single
April 19 1980
: Seventeenplay live at Pickets Lock, London The First National Eight-hour Mod Festival
May 9 1980: Seventeen play live at The Norton Arms, Shrewsbury
May 10 1980: Seventeen play live at The Mecca, Sunderland
May 24 1980: Seventeen play live at Albion Hotel, Chester
Seventeen single Advert
May 25 1980: Seventeen play live at Lafayette, Wolverhampton
June 9 1980: Seventeen play live at Everyman Bistro, Liverpool
July 10 1980: Seventeen play live at Assembly Halls, Holywell : A support show to “Spectres”
July/August: Seventeen Summer Tour
- July 23 1980: Seventeen play live at Jumpers Tavern, Christchurch
- July 24/1980: Seventeen play live at The Pelican, Torquay
- July 25/1980: Seventeen play live at The Pelican, Torquay
- July 26/1980: Seventeen play live at The King and Bishop, Salisbury
- July 27/1980: Seventeen play live at Coach House, Huddersfield: Cancelled because of ongoing DHSS DOLE violation investigation.
- July 28/1980: Seventeen play live at Hamilton Club, Birkenhead
- July 30 1980: Seventeen play live at Cyprus Bar, Manchester
- July 31/1980: Seventeen play live at Portland Bar, Manchester
- August 1 1980: Seventeen play live at Carnegie Arts Centre, Workington
- August 2 1980: Seventeen play live atBungalow Bar, Glasgow
- August 3 1980: Seventeen play live atBorder Terrier, Carlisle
- August 7 1980: Seventeen play live at Three Tuns, Kingston
Seventeen Let Off The Dole Hook (NME)
: NME runs story about Seventeen being cleared of DHSS charges (read Article here
). Band decided to give free admission to Dole card carriers to their next couple shows.
August 29 1980: Seventeen play live at Town Hall, Ealing
August 31 1980: Seventeen play live at The Kensington, London
September 15 1980: Seventeen play live at The Bridge House, London. A support gig to “Les Apache”
September 19 1980: Seventeen play live at Crystal Palace Hotel: A support gig to “The Associates”
September 21 1980: Seventeen play live at The Trafalgar, Shepherds Bush. The band give Free entry was given to the unemployed as a response to the ridiculous DHSS investigation.
September 22 1980: Seventeen play live at Old Queens Head, London
September 23 1980: Seventeen play live at Crawdaddy Club, Croyden
September 24 1980: Seventeen play live at The Windsor Castle, London
September 26 1980: Seventeen play live at The Acklam Hall, London
September 28 1980: Seventeen play live at White Lion, Putney
September 29 1980: Seventeen play live at Rock Garden, Covent Garden
October 12 1980: Seventeen play live at The Trafalgar, Shepherds Bush: Free entry was given to the unemployed.
December 6 1980: Seventeen play live at Warehouse, Leeds
January 1 1981: Gig: Seventeen play The Half Moon, Dulwich, London: Seventeen’s final show. They announce they are to change their name to “Alarm Alarm”
January 21/1981: Gig Seventeen/Alarm Alarm play , Music Machine, Camden
June 10th 1981: First Show: First show as The Alarm is played in Victoria Ballroom, Prestatyn, Wales. The band finally change from Seventeen to The Alarm.
June 30 1981: Gig: The Alarm, The Stables, St. Asaph, Wales: The second ever show as “The Alarm”. Set List : Shout To The Devil/Marching On/Third Light/Across The Border/Mr. Jones/Up For Murder/Second Generation/Unsafe Building/Sixty Eight Guns
September 1 : Move To London: The band move to London to record first single. Using money from odd jobs, they plan to record their first a single and distribute it themselves. After three years trying to make it big out of Rhyl, the band realised that in order to gain the exposure they needed to “break” the music business, they would have to move away from North Wales. Mike Peters: “You know, the other thing was. When you got to London, when you were from Wales and you were trying to phone The Rock Garden in Covent Garden and get a gig. As soon as you said you were from Wales it was like “No chance”. You know, in London they book you if you’re unknown because they think “You’re from London, you’ll bring all your workmates, all your friends will come down”. They give you all these free tickets, you get all your mates in, and it’s busy and the guy makes money on the bar. When you say you’re from Wales they think “Oh, theres’ going to be one man and his dog turning up to see them” And he’ll be from Rhyl as well. The dog’s all right though! So we thought that when we moved to London, we could go in and say cockney accent “Allright mate, we’re from London” and get a gig like. We moved to this place called 13 Emu Road, in Battersea and we took it over from a mate of ours, Simon Shaw, who designed the Unsafe Building cover. He was at art college in Camberwell and he arranged our first ever gig in London. We’d recorded Unsafe Building and Up for Murder, because we knew we had to go down armed with a single. In 1981, every band that presented themselves, they presented themselves with demo tapes, so we thatout if we’ve got our own single that would be good. We’d seen how Pete Wylie from Wah Heat, he’d made a single, I remember buying it off him in Matthew Street in Liverpool, outside Erics. All of a sudden he wasn’t just another fan at the gigs, he was like in a band with a record and it put him up there somewhere. We wanted to have that same thing and we knew that if people bought our records, that’s when you become fans.”
September 9, 1981: First single Recorded: Unsafe Building b/w Up for MurderRecorded at Pluto studios in Manchester. Produced by The Alarm and Scratch. The recording of what would become The Alarm’s first release. 2000 copies are pressed on their own “White Cross” label to sell at gigs & use as demos.
September 30th, 1981
: The Alarm “release” the Unsafe Building/Up For Murder single. 1000 copies are produced. They send them to DJs, sell them at shows, and use them in lieu of a demo tape. (see details in the Discography
October 10, 1981: Gig: The Alarm, Camberwell Art College, London : Mike Peters: ” We were seen by a journalist from Sounds at that gig, and also by a secretary from Wasted Talent saw us playing there. They all liked the band. As soon as we finished the gig, we leapt into the audience as we had all these tickets for Upstairs At Ronnies and we were giving them out. “
December 2, 1981: Gig: The Alarm, The Venue. London: Alarm got gig by calling The Fall, and admitting that they sounded nothing like the band, which pleased the manager of The Fall, since the band hated playing with bands that sounded like The Fall. Mike Peters: “There was another guy that we knew from Rhyl, who’s name was Louis Parker. Unfortunately, Louis is no longer with us, he passed away this year sadly. But Louis invented Miss Wet T Shirt, it all started here in North Wales. He went to London to set up this agency, based on his success with Miss Wet T Shirt. He’d gone out with this page 3 girl in the late Seventies and been in all the tabloids and made a name for himself. And we knew him.So when we got to London, as well as agenting Miss Wet T Shirt around Britain, he’d picked up this band called Shakatak and he was into clubs & nightclubs. I phoned him up one day and said “Louis, have you got any gigs you could help us get”. He said I’ve got this band that I don’t know that much about, but nobody else would be their agent, they’re called The Fall. Usually they have like drag acts as their support, but if you phone up their manager, who’s a girl, you can try and get a gig. They’re playing at The Venue in Victoria, which is kind of a very prestigous gig in London at the time. I was detailed the job of phoning the manager. I got in the phone box outside the flat, it was agirl called Kay Carroll. She picked up the phone and I said we want to try and do a gig with The Fall, we’ve seen that they’re playing at The Venue, and Louis Parker said we should call you. She said, “Do you sound anything like The Fall?”. I thought “Hmm, should I lie and say yes so we get the gig, or should I be honest?”. I thought no, I’ll be honest, “No actually nothing like The Fall”. She said “Thank god for that, we hate bands that sound like The Fall” and we got the gig.“
December 9, 1981: Gig : The Alarm Upstairs At Ronnies London. Sarah Jane Olsen, who worked at Wasted Talent, was lured to the show by Mike and Dave and their Unsafe single. She tells her boss Ian Wilson about the band. Mike Peters: “So we moved to London armed with all this stuff and we actually got a gig at Camberwell Art College and we managed to get a gig at Ronnie Scotts. There was a place upstairs at Ronnie Scotts, the jazz club in London, called Upstairs At Ronnies. Me and Dave used to spend days and days walking round London with rucksacks of Unsafe Buildings on our backs and calling in all these music business establishments, trying to get gigs, or trying to get recognition. We managed to get this gig at Upstairs At Ronnies”
December 19, 1981: Rock Garden, London. Ian Wilson from Wasted Talent, the booking agent for U2, The Clash, The Police, The Pretenders ses the band and agrees to become their manager. His ties to those other bands help The Alarm get started. In effect Wilson becomes the de-facto 5th member of the band, and the realtionship lasts until 1988. Mike Peters “This Upstairs At Ronnie’s gig and that sort of triggered it all off. This agent, whose name was Miles Newby, wasn’t really an agent. He was just the guy who made the tea for all the other agents, but he prentended to be the big shot agent and he invited us down for a meeting the next day and he was like “I wanna be your manager!”, smoking a cigar. We didn’t fall for that, but he said “Look, I can get you a gig”. So he phoned up the Rock Garden and got a gig within the minute, ’cause he was from a top agency. We thought “that’s why we can’t get gigs in that place”. We played about three or four days later, and Ian Wilson, who became our manager, came to see us at that gig. The buzz had gone out in the industry and a lot of A&R men came to see us. It happens really fast like that. The secretary and Ian Wilson, they barracaded the dressing room so none of these other guys from other record companies or managers could get in to see us. They waited there until they’d all gone home. We were sitting in the dressing room thinking we’ve just played a really good gig, how come nobody’s come in to say hello?“
December 20, 1981: The Alarm Meet their future manager, Ian Wilson: “We met Ian the next day and we got on really well with him. It must have been about 21st of December, something like that, and we were all getting ready to go back home to Wales for the Christmas holidays. We got back to the flat and he phoned us up and said “Do you want to play with U2 tomorrow night?”. What do you say? At the time, we had a policy that we’d never support another band again in our lives. So I put my hand over the phone and said “It’s Ian Wilson, he wants us to play with U2 tomorrow night. What about our philosophy that we’d never support another band? Shall I tell him we can’t do it?”. Nige says “Fuck that, let’s support them!” So we did.”
December 21, 1981: First Show With U2: The Alarm open for U2 at the Lyceum ballroom, in London. They got the gig because Ian Wilson, the booking agent for U2, had taken on the job as their manager. They would go on to support U2 more than any other band.
December 26, 1981: Live gig: the Rock Garden, London:
December 28th, 1981: Live Gig: Hammersmith Palais supporting Stiff Little finger.