THE ALARM – Biography
After 21 years in the rock and roll business, the story of The Alarm is a continuing and ever unfolding drama that still commands worldwide attention since being formed in Rhyl, North Wales by lead singer and guitarist Mike Peters.
Although never signed directly to a major label, The Alarm can lay claim to a series of 16 Top 50 singles, seven successful albums and over 5 million sales worldwide where The Alarm’s pioneering use of acoustic guitars brought the band into direct contact with the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and U2, who have all appeared and sung on stage with The Alarm.
In fact the band had its first chart success in the USA with ‘The Stand’, flying back from America to appear on their very first Top Of The Pops, when they scored their first British chart hit with the rousing ’68 Guns�, which made the Top 20 in September 1983. ‘Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke’ was another chart success before the
release of their debut LP, Declaration’, which went Top Five in its first week of release.
The Alarm’s second album, ‘Strength’ (the title track becoming The Alarm’s first U.S. Top 40 hit) was released in 1985 and spawned Mike Peters’ autobiographical ‘Spirit of ’76’. At this time, The Alarm also made history by playing the very first global satellite concert, their own now legendary Spirit of 86′ Concert which was performed to an audience of 26,000 fans at UCLA and screened live around the world by MTV.
Third album, ‘Eye Of The Hurricane’ (1987) sported the hook-laden international hit, ‘Rain In The Summertime’. A series of world tours (including a critically acclaimed two-month US outing with Bob Dylan, during which time The Alarm dueted with Dylan on the encores), solidified The Alarm’s reputation for all-out live shows and culminated in the band’s first ever collection of live songs, the ‘Electric Folklore Live’ EP.
‘Change’, The Alarm’s fourth album, proved to be a hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1989, with ‘A New South Wales’ reaching the Top 40 in the UK and the bluesy ‘Sold Me Down the River’ becoming a U.S. Number 1 Rock Hit. The touring continued and at a sellout concert in New York City, The Alarm were joined on stage by Neil Young to perform ‘Rockin’ In the Freeworld’.
Following the release of their fifth album ‘Raw’, the original line-up of the band played it’s last show at Brixton Academy in June 1991 and since then the band’s legacy has been continued by Mike Peters alone, utilising a vast array of alternatives to the corporate music industry structure.
The nineties has spearheaded the emergence of Mike Peters solo’ career with his legendary acoustic and electric performances across Europe and the USA .
In 1992 Mike Peters was a solo artist for the first time, with The Alarm becoming one of the first bands to have a dedicated internet site . In that same year, Mike started The Gathering, an ‘Alarm’ event held in North Wales which now attracts music fans from all over the world (currently in it’s 11th year and already completely sold out).
The release of Mike’s second album, ‘Feel Free’ in 1996 was born out of Mike’s personal brush with and eventual recovery from cancer (Lymphoma). The constant global touring, which has followed for Mike and his band, has contributed to the continuing success of the MPO (Mike’s fan base office based in North Wales), which now totals a membership of over 20,000 fans.
1999 saw the successful release of Mike’s critically acclaimed ‘Rise’ album, which spawned a relationship with Cult guitarist, Billy Duffy, who, after a chance meeting at the Phoenix Festival, UK, agreed to play guitar on two tracks from the Rise album. The collaboration proved to be so successful that the two agreed to make their partnership more permanent and so ‘Coloursound’ was born, also featuring The Mission’s Craig Adams on bass and Stiff Little Fingers’ drummer, Steve Grantley on drums.
Later, in response to a series of ‘signed’ record contracts that were reneged on by some very high profile music business figures, Peters decided to form his own record label ‘The Twenty First Century Recording Company’ and went on to successfully negotiate and obtain the rights to The Alarm’s back catalogue.
All seven of the original Alarm albums have been re-released individually. Each of the albums – �The Alarm� (1981), �Declaration� (1984), �Strength� (1985), �Eye Of The Hurricane� (1987), �Electric Folklore [Live] (1987), Change (1989) and Raw (1990) – has been re-mastered by Mike Peters from the original master tapes and reissued by the Twenty First Century Recording Co. Each album features original artwork, together with complete lyrics, archive photographs and extensive sleeve notes with contributions from all the original band members.
Whilst working in 2000 with original Alarm bass player Eddie Macdonald on a soundtrack for the play ‘Flesh and Blood’, the two decided to go out on the road and play some low key ‘Alarm’ shows supporting ‘Big Country’. The shows were so successful that The Alarm was born again as a live entity (although without Macdonald). The year kicked off with The Millennium Gathering Concert in Mike’s home town, Llandudno,
North Wales where 1500 fans travelled from all over the world to attend a two day concert celebrating the music of Mike Peters, and The Alarm, past, present and future.
Also the hugely successful �Alarm 2000 Collection� box set was released to massive critical acclaim. The Collection gathered together The Alarm�s entire catalogue of albums into a nine-CD box set, along with a bonus �dedication� CD where Mike would personally record and dedicate the Alarm song of the purchaser�s choice. Never before had such a gesture been undertaken by a recording artist, and the unprecedented success of the Collection has seen Mike record literally thousands of individual Alarm songs for fans throughout the world. Mojo magazine were so excited by Mike�s inspired idea, that they requested their own dedication � what else but �I Got My Mojo Working�!
Guitarist magazine awarded the collection a full 5/5, describing it as �superbly remastered� a staggering achievement and beautifully presented� so tastefully done that hopefully it will inspire many other bands to take control of their own recorded past� while Q magazine called the box set �immaculately packaged� to keep diehard fans in raptures for ever�. Classic Rock praised it as �an amazingly comprehensive selection of rare songs� that every fan will want to have in their collection�.
In February 2004 The Alarm returned to the singles charts with �45RPM�, the first single to be released from the band�s forthcoming new album, �In The Poppyfields�.
The story of how the band released the single under a pseudonym, appearing to be a brand new band, complete with a group of 21 year olds appearing in the video for 45rpm to help complete the scam, became an international news story and raised the band�s profile higher than it had been for many years.
Mike Peters, who has just recently completed a 20 date UK Tour as Special Guest to Status Quo has not performed a solo acoustic U.K. tour since 2000, concentrating instead on the worldwide commitments of The Alarm and the recent controversial chart success of ’45 R.P.M.’/’The Poppy Fields’. (The Alarm scored a Top 30 UK hit in 2004). The story of ’45 R.P.M.’ has become the inspiration for a major motion picture which will be shot in the U.K. by ‘Shrek’ producer John H. Williams and British film director Sara Sugarman.
Mike Peters and the Alarm will be creating the soundtrack for the film and will be preparing a new studio album for release later in the year 2005. During the tour, Mike Peters will preview new material from the proposed as yet untitled new album.
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