Mike Peters of The Alarm Talks New Release, Forwards and His Music Inspirations

The Alarm’s Mike Peters returns to life after a year dominated by pneumonia and a serious leukaemia relapse, with the release of the video to Forwards, the title track from the band’s forthcoming album, out 2nd June 2023.

Described by Bono of U2 as “The second greatest rock and roll band in the world”, Mike has been the driving force behind The Alarm for over forty creative years of new music making, and dedication to presenting the band’s classic songs in ways both imaginative and inventive.

Last month The Alarm began a series of one-off events, premiering some of the forthcoming new material at the 30th Anniversary Gathering at Venue Cymru Arena in Llandudno, North Wales. This long running and unique Alarm fan interactive event was completely sold-out, as is a previously announced special night at Cardiff’s St. David’s Hall on April 15th.

Fans unable to attend the St David’s Hall event have a chance to catch Mike again next year as The Gathering 2024 Goes To Cardiff offering fans a brand-new adventure in Alarm style rock’n’roll over the weekend of January 18th – 21st 2024 at various special venues and historic sites across Cardiff – the capital city of Wales – birthplace and home of Mike Peters and The Alarm. Tickets for The Alarm – Gathering 2024 Weekend Event Passes are exclusively on-sale via The Alarm’s Official website.

To whet your appetite for all things Mike Peters & The Alarm, the man himself recently revealed his music inspirations to Andy Howells.

Can you tell us about your new release Forwards?

I literally took my guitar into hospital with me. I was on the ward for such a long time, I started writing these songs in between IV sessions and the first people to hear the music were the very people who were trying to keep me alive. I’ve been to places only deep suffering can take the human spirit and, in the darkness, I clung onto every piece of light I could find to work my way back to life. This was the energy that drove me to write and record Forwards.

A lot of artists have to kill to make a record like Forwards and, with the challenges that came my way in 2022, I certainly had to kill or be killed to realise the ambition in these songs. It was literally life or death making this record. I’ve already taken so much from life that, when I was in hospital stricken with chronic illness, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be spared another opportunity to live. Fortunately for me, I was granted more time on earth and the challenge remains, as ever, to make the most of every single second – FORWARDS. (Fans can pre-order Mike’s new album here)

What was the first song that made an impact on you?

Coz I Luv U by Slade…. I kept hearing this stomping piece of music while I was on the Stretford End watching Man United around 1971 / 72. I didn’t know anything about music then and noticed that the crowd would clap along and sing to this music over the Tannoy system. Some of the football fans had tartan bobble hats and splash patches on their denim jackets. They looked cool as…… And some wore tartan trousers at half-mast……. My sister switched on Top Of The Pops and it was then that I saw Slade and the whole thing fell into place. From then on, instead of wanting to be like Georgie Best I became fixated on Noddy Holder!

What was the first download you bought?

The first download single I bought was the Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘1979’. I always loved the song from the 1995 CD release, and as soon as i-Tunes came along and I had the first generation i-Pod that was the first song I can remember actually buying. I love Billy Corgan. He’s an incredible artist.

What was the first album you owned?

The first album I ever owned was Aladdin Sane by David Bowie. In 1973, I went to Greaves Records in Rhyl to buy Slade Alive, but on the back of the sleeve they had songs listed like Born To Be Wild with brackets printed after that title that said (Steppenwolf). I thought it meant it was another band altogether, even though there were other songs that had (Slade) printed after the title. I thought to myself, I don’t really want a record with those other guys, so bought Aladdin Sane instead. When I got home Bowie sang ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ and on the inner sleeve it had printed (Jagger / Richards) and I realised that it meant the songwriters. I went straight back to Greaves Records and bought Slade Alive and spent a lifetime wanting to become one of the guys with a name in the brackets!

What’s your constant go to track?

I’m partial to Complete Control by The Clash. Always sounds great to me and there’s a thrill a minute at every chord change and the ultimate best ending to a track ever. Dead Stop.

What’s your constant go to album?

Quadrophenia by The Who is my ultimate album. There’s so many layers to it, and always something to discover in every repeat play. I’m a Mod at heart and can totally relate to the storyline and, coming from Rhyl, I can hear my own upbringing in all the sound effects. The Who are at their best throughout and Roger Daltrey sings his heart out. Must have been frustrating for Pete Townshend to write so many great lyrics that he couldn’t quite sing himself and so you feel his frustration being cured into the guitar playing. Every chord, beat and word is essential and it still sounds incredible to this very day.

Who’s your latest music discovery?

I kind of like Inhaler from Ireland, The Lathums (Say My Name), Johnny Marr (Spirit, Power and Soul) and Arcade Fire (The Lightning). I’m also into Bono’s audio book Surrender (it’s got music in it and his solo show was outstanding).

What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?

Unsafe Building by The Alarm 1981.

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