Legendary Dublin punk band formed in November 1978 by Maurice Foley (guitar/vocals), Larry Murphy (bass) and Paul 'Mono' Monahan (drums). This lineup lasted about 10 months and played just three gigs. The first gig was supporting Strange Movements in The Greyhound Bar in Bray in July or August 1979; the second was at the Dandelion Market on Sunday 26 August 1979, supported by Social Fools; the third and final gig was in Dundalk in September 1979. This ended in violence and a police escort from the town, after which Larry and Paul went off to form Chant Chant Chant.
Maurice was joined by new bassist Deirdre Creed (ex Boy Scoutz) but initially had difficulty finding a new drummer. DC Nein's Ken Mahon filled in on occasion before Longer joined by October 1979. The Threat built up a following in Dublin and maintained a heavy reputation through the rest of 1979 and 1980. They played the Dandelion on a couple of occasions towards the end of 1979 and became friendly with members of the Virgin Prunes and U2. Stano was another friend of the band. He bought a synthesizer, purely as a sound generator, and joined them. As a non-musician, Stano's synth added noise and texture to the band's sound and brought out their experimental side. Stano wasn't comfortable being on stage and would often play from the live desk. His first gig with The Threat was probably with U2 at the Dandelion on Sunday 23rd December 1979. The Threat were official headliners, but U2 reputedly begged to be allowed to go on last.
They recorded their sole single in 1980. "High Cost of Living" was recorded at Slane Studios with Donal Lunny producing, providing his services for free. Lunny went on tour with Planxty before the recordings were completed. Impatient to get the single out, the band completed the work themselves. Longer doesn't play on these recordings and had probably left the band by this point -- he's not inclued in the band photographs reproduced on the sleeve which are dated August 1980. Ken Mahon (of DC Nein) plays drums on both sides.
"High Cost of Living" / "Lullaby In C" was self-financed and self-released. Approximately 2000 copies were pressed according to a contemporary interview in Vox fanzine, though in a much later interview in Riot-77 fanzine Maurice says only 1000 were pressed. The cover artwork was done by Dave Clifford of Vox. The person in the photograph inside the cover is Maurice Foley, taken at the Dandelion. The single was distributed by the band themselves to most shops in Dublin but was also available via Rough Trade in England. Despite this poor distribution, it sold out very quickly. The response to it was generally good and John Peel played it on his radio show. This was enough to encourage the band to consider recording a second single and even possibly an LP. Rough Trade was interested in releasing whatever the band recorded.
It's unclear how long the Foley/Creed/Stano/McMahon lineup lasted but Deirdre Creed eventually left to join Prag Vec in London and Ken McMahon's long term commitments were elsewhere. Maurine formed a new lineup with Rocky O'Rourke (bass) and Stephen O'Brien (drums), who'd played together in Side FX and Neu Belsen. They worked hard with Maurice and Stano on a pile of new material. This lineup played a memorable gig at The Gaff in Limerick:
The Threat began recording their second single in 1981 with Danny Figgis of
the Virgin Prunes producing. A contract offer from Rough Trade arrived
during these sessions. In all, five or six new tracks were fully recorded and were remixed by Figgis/Prunes.
"Fifteen Years", a much more avant punk effort than anything on the debut, was reputedly the highlight of the sessions.
The band had just heard the completed tapes when Maurice Foley finally lost it and disappeared into a Krishna
community in Cork. The band dissolved.
All mastertapes of their recordings are now lost to time, including their swansong and probable defining statement "Fifteen Years". Earlier songs such as "Bored And Frustrated", the Buzzcocks flavoured "Everything" and "Government of the Future" were never recorded. However, the band was filmed performing at the Dandelion Market (in December 1979?) for inclusion in the Sense of Ireland festival in London in March 1980. This film must exist somewhere. RTE showed live footage of the band performing in the Dandelion Market as part of one of the many retrospective shows they broadcast in the mid- 90s. This may have been the same footage, though I've been told it was shot by some Trinity College students and also included The Blades! Does anyone have video of any of this? Needless to say, the world is a much poorer place without a DVD of this material.
Much more info about this band needed please! Anyone with audio or video tape, please please get in touch.
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