Dave Sharp, lead guitarist and co-founder of British rock band The Alarm
, hails from Manchester, birthplace of such disparate bands as The Hollies, Oasis, 10cc, The Stone Roses
and Joy Division
He was born in the borough of Salford on 28th January 1959, and spent his early years in the Kersal area of the city.
He picked up the guitar in his early teens and from the onset was influenced by Woodstock-era rock bands of the late 60s/early 70s.
In the mid-70s, as punk broke across the country Sharp formed various experimental punk rock bands, often based in the area of North Wales around Rhyl where childhood friend Twist was now living.
Looking to broaden his horizons, Dave joined the merchant navy and began to travel the world and take in new influences. Through the folk artists of the USA, he would become interested in the folk music traditions of Ireland and England, based primarily around acoustic instruments.
Dave first joined up with Mike Peters, Eddie MacDonald in the band Seventeen
in which his friend Twist was playing drums. Although still in the navy, between his travels, Dave stood in on guitar at some gigs. Seventeen
would also see the first appearance of Dave Sharp’s guitar playing on record when he played on their ‘Don’t Let Go / Bank Holiday Weekend’ single. Seventeen
disbanded in 1980, but the members were not apart for long.
They would regroup as The Alarm
, with Sharp as a full time member having left the navy. Utilising the acoustic traditions that Dave had picked up on his travels, The Alarm
went on to have hit records both across Europe and in the U.S., notably '68 Guns' and 'The Spirit of ’76' and gained themselves a reputation as a top live band. Their history is another story.
At the end of The Alarm’s 1991 world tour, Mike Peters left the band unexpectedly. Sharp released his first solo album, Hard Travellin’, for which he teamed up with maverick record producer Bob Johnston
commitments, Sharp would tour the album across the UK and to America. Ultimately he would quit the U.K. music scene and permanently relocate to the US, following the trail of American songwriting legend Woody Guthrie
in order to grow as a writer and performer.
He spent the next few years touring and recording with artists he had long respected and admired, such as Willie Nelson
, the late Johnny Cash, Larry Crane, Dave Grissolm (The John Cougar Mellencamp band), George Porter (The Neville Brothers) and Chris Solberg (Santana)
. His second solo album ‘Downtown America’ would be released in 1996.
Frustrated by the increasing domination of major corporations in both record companies and live music venues, Sharp moved to New Orleans where he found the local music scene insulated from the corporatism of the rest of America. Sharp quickly found himself at home in that scene, and would soon also discover The Kerry Irish Pub on Decatur street. Dedicated to live music and particularly to the acoustic form which Dave adored, he found it the perfect venue to explore his musical influences. He would play their regularly, both as a solo performer and with the many local musicians whom he came across.
However, after a number of years in New Orleans, Sharp felt he had gone as far as he could as an acoustic performer and wanted to see where his new understanding of his art could be taken with a full band. He began to look once again to the British music scene for inspiration. 'I saw fewer and fewer U.K. rock bands able to make a lasting impact on U.S. audiences' says Sharp. 'There has got to be a serious British rock band capable of making a lasting impression on the United States. British rock has lost much credibility Stateside.'
Following his return to the U.K. in early 2002, Sharp immediately began touring solo and acoustic in order to reintroduce himself to British audiences, headlining venues up and down the country, such as The Cavern Club (Liverpool), The Underworld (London), King Tut’s (Glasgow). In order to broaden his audience base, Dave took on opening slots with artists such as Nick Harper, Jake Burns' 3 Men & Black, Bob Geldof
and Lonnie Donnegan
During this time he began searching out musicians for his new band with just one criterion: 'These cats have got to be seriously tested rock players who can deliver.'
After a chance meeting with one of the UK’s finest bass players, Keith Ashcroft
(Chris Farlowe, Hamish Stewart), things came rapidly into focus for Sharp. Ashcroft suggested that a collaboration with 10CC drummer Paul Burgess
would form the basis for a Northern British rock band to be reckoned with. Axe-man for the Dr. Feelgood band, Mo Witham
, sat in, and, in a matter of minutes, the four knew “something special was happening” . . . the line-up was complete.The Soul Company
was formed on November 5th, 2003.
The story continues here