999 THE BIOGRAPHY
In 2022 999 celebrated 46 years together as a band. The reason for their longevity is not airplay, massive publicity or hype but word of mouth and that “word of mouth” now extends to nearly every country on the planet.
999 were first conceived in late 1976 when Nick Cash (vocals/guitar) and Guy Days (vocals/lead guitar), who were at school together, decided to form a group. Within a couple of months they had teamed up with Jon Watson (bass) and Pablo Labritain (drums) and 999 were officially born. Their first gig was at the Northampton Cricket Club in January 1977. Interest in the band was immediate and constant gigging around London brought with it critical acclaim and a hard core following of supporters from Southall, calling themselves “The Crew”. These ranks were soon swollen by the Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna, Zagreb, Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin, New York, LA, Toronto, Philadelphia, and San Francisco “Crews” each proving as dedicated as the last.
The frenzy and raw energy of the early days were captured by their debut single “I’m Alive on the bands own Labritain label and sold well enough to become a minor hit. Next through their association with United Artists records the second and third singles, “Nasty Nasty” and the now classic “Emergency” were released both scaling the lower reaches of the charts and confirming 999 to be one of the major forces in the British New Wave movement.
The first album simply titled “999” was released and was greeted with impressive sales and critical acclaim. Extensive touring took them throughout Britain and Europe where they now encountered full houses.
The second album “Separates” was released and immediately the single “Homicide” leapt straight into the UK top forty without any radio airplay and was banned by the BBC and most radio stations. 999 “Inside Out” featured on US version of Showtime Networks’ Shameless.” Homicide” appears on the Grand Theft Auto Vsoundtrack, the documentary The Killing of America (1982) and on the Netflix series Too Old To Die Young.
Early 1979 saw the band embarking on their first U.S. tour, which was an achievement in itself, as they were still without a record deal in America at the time. Response to the band was ecstatic, all the venues being filled and import albums being sold out in a rush of enthusiasm. The band were immediately booked for a return trip.
Since leaving United Artists 999 have recorded another 19 albums. Their latest album Bish! Bash! Bosh! was released on Cleopatra records in April 2020. Jon Watson (bass guitar) left the band in 1986 and was replaced by Danny Palmer and subsequently by Arturo Bassick in 1991. Stoo Meadows is currently helping out on drums in Pablo Labritain’s absence. To date the band have completed 18 U.S. tours, 142 London gigs, 57 UK tours and 37 European tours visiting Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia as well as Japan, Argentina and Brazil.