|Richard ‘O’Malley’ Jones (aka Beau Locks) - Vocals||Mike Peters (aka WC Smith) - Guitar|
|Glyn Crossley (aka Steve Shock) - Bass||Nigel Buckle (aka Des Troy) - Drums|
The story of Rhyl’s first punk band, formed in 1977, is both amusing and illustrative of the struggles young groups had to endure to get themselves heard. The idea was planted when Mike Peters saw the Sex Pistols play at a club called Quaintways in Chester in 1976. The conversion was immediate, and he decided to form his own band, eliciting little interest from local musicians.
Instead he deepened his interest in the emerging punk movement by attending a Manchester show by the Clash in May 1977 on the White Riot tour. On his return he persuaded bass player Glyn Crossley and singer Gaz Hughes to join with a rehearsal set for the following Saturday at Rhyl’s Bee hotel. Peters, meanwhile, took the name from this new venture from a sign at the Victoria hotel in Prestatyn. But Hughes didn’t bother to show at the ensuing rehearsal and so old school friend O’Malley was drafted. The drummer was recruited from a local paper advert. Together they played through covers of the Pistols, Buzzcocks and Ramones – which was enough to get them banned by the bar’s owner. The nameless drummer was similarly unimpressed and vanished.
A local pro musicians, Mogga, helped them out by allowing them to rehearse in his converted garage come practice room in Elwy Street, as Peters began to write his own songs – ‘Alarm Alarm’, ‘Office Jobs’, ‘Social Security’, etc. Meanwhile Nigel Buckle had come on board as drummer (Crossley, Buckle and Dave Kitchingman, who would later become Dave Sharp of the Alarm, had all previously played, alongside Kurt Wallinger of World Party, in the band Quasimodo). Kitchingman secured the group a show at the Palace hotel, for which the band rechristened themselves with their new silly punk names. The show was a success, and picked up excellent reviews. It led directly to a support slot to the Slits at the Stables in St. Asaph, by all accounts upstaging the headliners.
Further gigs at the Palace followed as the group added songs such as ‘Ice Cream And Rock’ and ‘James Bond’ to their set. A Prestatyn punk, John Sox, was in the audience and told Peters he could hook him up with Roger Eagle, proprietor of Liverpool’s Eric’s club. The Toilets appeared there on 22 October for a lunchtime show alongside the Shattered Dolls. Among the audience was Bob Geldof, who’d played Liverpool the previous evening with the Boomtown Rats. He was impressed, as was Eagle, who offered the Toilets a support slot to the Clash, booked to play later that evening. Peters later described the ensuing 20 minute set (plus two encores) as the band’s “finest moment”.
It was downhill from there. They took on a manager, Chris Harrap, the Eric’s DJ, but a trip to London went seriously awry when they found no record industry interest and were unable to play. There was another support slot at Eric’s, this time to the Buzzcocks. But Buckle, who had never been particularly happy in the group because it wasn’t providing any sort of wage, and had to be persuaded to make the trips to Eric’s, was increasingly disillusioned, and O’Malley was wary of the more pop-orientated material Peters was now writing. With the band in turmoil, Peters and Sox took the opportunity to establish an alternative disco night at the 1520 Club in Rhyl, inviting local punks like the Cellophane Boys, Fractures and Amsterdam to play there.
Amsterdam featured Eddie MacDonald, an old schoolfriend, on
guitar. Frustrated with his current band, particularly their unwillingness to
play his songs, and fired by the same kind of pop-punk vision as Peters, he
asked if there was a position open within the Toilets. Before that could happen
Glyn Crossley hastened the band’s demise by announcing he was moving back to
London. That led Peters to conclude that the Toilets had run their course, and
an announcement was made to the local press that the group’s show on 27 January
1978 at the 1520 club would bring the curtain down on their career, at which
MacDonald played with the band for the first time and Peters made his debut as a
vocalist. They would work together again as part of Seventeen, before Peters
moved on to form the Alarm.
An original Tin Badge from the "1520 Club"
However, the Toilets were recreated in 1992 by Peters for a one-off performance at the first MPO (Mike Peters Organisation) Gathering weekend, as Pete Cole remembers. “The Toilets reunion was at an aftershow party of a home town gig for Mike Peters, at the Swan pub in Rhyl in January 1992, which is/was a pub run by Mike Peters' brother Steve. The place was heaving and the band were literally rubbing noses with the audience. The Toilets soared through a half hour set of punk classics, culminating in a rip-roaring version of the Ramones "Sheena is a Punk Rocker".
Sadly, there will likely be no more such reunions. On 26 September 2001 Richard ‘O’Malley’ Jones died in Rhyl, aged 42.
The above snippet appeared in the "Bombsite" #5 fanzine from 1977.
Thanks to Alex Ogg for the above text which has been taken from is "No More Heroes" Book.
Also thanks to Martin & Mark from the Bombsite fanzine.
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