A true life rock ‘n’ roll ruse in which a veteran punk band proved it could compete with the youngsters is heading for the bigscreen.
The Alarm, a Welsh punk outfit that was described as “the acoustic Clash” when they emerged in 1983 with “68 Guns,” found an intriguing way to return to the teen-dominated pop charts earlier this year. Billing themselves as the Poppyfields, they released a single, “45 RPM,” and tapped Welsh band the Wayriders to lip-synch the song in a video. It debuted No. 28, becoming the Alarm’s first top 30 hit since 1989.
Story caught the eye and ear of “Shrek” producer John H. Williams, who came up with the idea of adapting their story to portray the Alarm as a band that had split in the 1980s and reunited for a tribute gig to the late leader of the Clash, Joe Strummer. He has brought in Wales-born Sara Sugarman (“Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen”) to direct and co-write. Low-budget pic will be shot in Wales.
“We are definitely filming in Rhyl (Wales),” Sugarman told the Welsh press. “We got two offers to change it to an American story, and the whole team said we want to keep it as it is.”
The Alarm’s prank was quickly exposed after the song charted and media attention came in from around the globe, spurring further interest in the act. Even “CBS Evening News With Dan Rather” aired a segment on the ruse. Band, which played “45 RPM” on “The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn” in early summer, performed a sold-out show at London’s Marquee Club on Monday and begins an eight-city tour of the U.S. in Farmingdale, N.Y., on Thursday.
The Alarm intend to provide music for the film, and the band is hoping for a cameo. Alarm leader Mike Peters, 44, who expects to be taking meetings around the time the band plays L.A. (Nov. 20 at Spaceland), has said he hopes fellow Welshman Rhys Ifans will be interested in the lead role.
London-based Snapper Music Group released the Alarm’s “In the Poppyfields” album in late April.