Strength An Oral History [Part 9]

The Alarm – Strength An Oral History [Part Seven –  Spirit of ’76 the Hard Way]

February 15th 1986 The Alarm arrive in the USA for the ‘Seven The Hard Way Tour’ as special guests of the Pat Benatar Band along with some select headline dates in between.

The tour with Pat Benatar was designed to expose The Alarm to a more “classic rock” audience and help support the the single Spirit Of ’76.  The band found that Pat Benatar’s audience was not exactly the same as their own.

 “We’re finding the audiences are different every night. It’s like looking out into a lilly pond. Our fans are pretty easy to spot.” –Eddie MacDonald,  Morning Call, The (Allentown, PA) – Friday, March 14, 1986


February 18th 1986 The Alarm Pittsburgh, PA. with Pat Benatar

– Mike Peters Personal Tour Pass for the Seven The Hard Way Tour. (see exclusive reverse image of Mike Peters 1986 Tour Pass Photo at



– Mike Peters Diary Entry



February 19th 1986 The Alarm Cleveland, Ohio with Pat Benatar
February 23rd 1986 The Alarm Meadowlands Arena, NJ with Pat Benatar


– Mike Peters Diary Entry



“For the band of four Welshmen, the date before approximately 20,000 people (at Meadowlands), is an important stepping stone in a relatively young career. Despite Peters’s tranquil posture, his nervousness is evident. A handsome 27-year-old man with a cherubic face, Peters fidgets on an equipment trunk serving as a makeshift chair. Speaking barely above a whisper, his hands will occasionally rake his spiky blond and brunette hair or twist the gold chain at his neck. It’s difficult to believe that this is the same man who hits the stage a couple of hours later to the strains of the rousing anthem ‘Marching On. ‘ With drummer Nigel Twist beating out a martial cadence, Peters’s vocals boom through the arena and his commanding stage presence equals that of Bono, lead singer of the Irish band U2. With Peters and company setting off such musical explosives, it’s impossible not to be immediately caught up in the fervor surrounding the Alarm’s stage show. The audience’s positive reaction also gives credence to what Peters said, almost modestly, earlier. “We’ll come back and headline this place one day. I don’t know when, but it will be when we’re ready and we can jam it to the roof. “ –Barbara Jaeger The Record – Sunday, March 9, 1986

February 24th 1986 The Alarm R.P.I. Fieldhouse in Troy, NJ with Pat Benatar
February 24th 1986 NBC Television

The powerful NBC Television Network in the USA broadcasts a film expose about the music industry entitled ‘The New Payola’.

“In typical Alarm fashion, fate played it’s hand on February 24th 1986 and the grand scheme of MCA to promote ‘Spirit Of ’76’ as a priority release was scuppered when the NBC television network ran a huge expose on the record promotion business under the heading ‘The New Payola’. – Mike Peters
In the expose broadcast on NBC, reputed Mafia Capo – Joseph Armone is filmed at a benefit concert at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, talking with Gambino Mafia Family leader John Gotti. Independent record promoters with alleged Mafia ties – Joseph Isbro and Fred Desipio are also seen at the Waldorf Gala. At a radio station in Miami, DJ Don Cox says “A hit record means a lot of money for those involved”, and describes the process of payola: “Drugs or other commodities in exchange for air time for certain records“. At the offices of trade magazine – Radio and Record, Editor Ken Barnes says “fraud in radio play lists is serious” and independent radio producer Jay McDaniels says he was “Threatened with bodily violence“, when he first started producing record playlists for radio stations.
 “The documentary sparked national headlines in the USA” – Mike Peters
” (a) Miami deejay who spoke out in a network television news report about payola in the record industry, told his station this week that he had been assaulted and beaten by a group of people after he left work Feb. 27.” -Desson Howe, Washington Post
“There is evidence that this practice has gotten completely out of hand. Most of the major record labels are involved” -Al Gore, April 2nd, 1986
“As a result, the way record companies promoted records came under intense scrutiny prompting MCA Records to withdraw all their promotion team from the ‘Spirit Of ’76 in ’86’ campaign and IRS were left to promote in house once again.” – Mike Peters
February 25th 1986 The Alarm Ohio Center in Columbus, OH with Pat Benatar
February 27th 1986 The Alarm Erie, PA with Pat Benatar
February 28th 1986 The Alarm R.P.M. Club, Toronto, Canada
“While we were playing in Toronto, Canada, I was at a newspaper stand with Ian Wiison and they had a copy of the NME from the UK which I bought. There was a news story about Queen announcing a date at Wembley Stadium. I said to Ian “Wouldn’t it be great to do that show when we got back to the UK.” When we arrived back to the hotel, there was a call from our UK agent (Neil Brett at Wasted Talent), saying that “Queen had invited The Alarm to perform with them as special guests at Wembley Stadium.” – Mike Peters

March 2nd 1986 The Alarm Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, MA with Pat Benatar
March 3rd 1986 The Alarm Civic Center, Hartford, CT. with Pat Benatar

– Mike Peters Diary Entry



March 4th 1986 The Alarm Civic Theatre, Providence, RI with Pat Benatar
March 7th 1986 The Alarm Nassau Coliseum, NY with Pat Benatar

– Mike Peters Diary Entry

March 8th 1986 The Alarm Stone Ballroom, Newark, NJ (Univ. of Delaware)

March 9th 1986 The Alarm Amherst, Ma.

“The Alarm which also includes guitarist Dave Sharp and bass player Eddie Macdonald is on the road with Benatar for a select number of dates through the beginning of next month. The group is also playing some solo concerts, including a Tuesday night show at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. “Certain places, where the [Benatar] tour was offered, all the tickets were gone,’ says Peters. ‘And we didn’t want to disappoint our fans, so we chose not to do those particular shows. “Barbara Jaeger The Record – Sunday, March 9, 1986


“The tour has been going very good, excellent, in fact. ” Mike Peters,   The Record – Sunday, March 9, 1986

March 10th 1986 The Alarm Giant Center, Hershey, PA with Pat Benatar
March 11th 1986 The Alarm Rutgers University, NJ

– Mike Peters Diary Entry




March 12th 1986 The Alarm Day Off

– Mike Peters Diary Entry



March 13th 1986 The Alarm Capitol Center Largo, MD with Pat Benatar

– Mike Peters Diary Entry

March 14th 1986 The Alarm Lafayette College, PA
March 15th 1986 The Alarm Williamsburg, VA with Pat Benatar
March 16th 1986 The Alarm Greensboro, NC with Pat Benatar
March 17th 1986 The Alarm Des Moines, IA
March 19th 1986 The Alarm DeKalb, IL with Pat Benatar
March 20th 1986 The Alarm Omaha, Nebraska

By the time The Alarm had made to Omaha opening for Pat Benatar, it appeared that they were on the top of the world.   Their well received opening slot was turning out to be a great ticket seller and morale booster for the band.

“We relish every moment in this group. We’re doing something that probably every single person that ever lived has wanted to do.” -Mike Peters,  Omaha World-Herald (NE) – Sunday, March 16, 1986

March 21st 1986 The Alarm University Lawrence, KS
March 23rd 1986 The Alarm Rainbow Theatre, Denver, CO

– Mike Peters Diary Entry



March 24th 1986 The Alarm Alburquerque, NM
March 25th 1986 The Alarm Pheonix, AZ with Pat Benatar


“When the stint with Benatar comes to a close, The Alarm will take a 10-day break to prepare for a concert that will be televised worldwide, live by satellite, on April 12. Then, they’ll begin a tour of their own.” –  CHERYL WENNER, The Morning Call  Friday, March 14, 1986

March 26th 1986

– Mike Peters Diary Entry



March 27th 1986

– Mike Peters Diary Entry



– Photo Mike Peters on way to UCLA for photo shoot.



– Photo The Alarm at UCLA (Photo by Harry Murlowski)



“After the UCLA photo shoot, Eddie Macdonald and I got taken to Paramount Studios, to see a very rough ‘black and white’ cut of ‘Ferris Beullers Day Off’ which was a John Hughes film. We had been invited with the view of writing a song for the soundtrack. The brief we were given was, that unlike his other movies (such as ‘The Breakfast Club’), John Hughes wanted an original soundtrack of brand new music that was going to be produced by Arthur Baker. New Order (who were already making an album with Arthur Baker), were in the frame and various other groups who were popular at the time. I didn’t really get what the film was about as the rough cut was in fact ‘very rough’ and a lot of it was silent. You got the idea though and we went away ready to take up the challenge” – Mike Peters

– Photo from the UCLA production meeting at IRS Records. Dave Salt – Guitar Tech, Les Midgeley (upright) Merchandise. Nigel Twist (On desk).



– Photo from the UCLA production meeting at IRS Records. Unknown hand inserting a fish into the stage mock up.



March 28th 1986 The Alarm Seattle, WA with Pat Benatar
March 29th 1986 The Alarm Spokane, WA with Pat Benatar
March 31st 1986 The Alarm Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR with Pat Benatar

– Mike Peters Diary Entry



April 1st 1986 The Alarm Vancouver, Canada with Pat Benatar

– Mike Peters Diary Entry



– Mike Peters Smash Hits ‘Strength’ Self Portrait 1986


Come back to the tomorrow for Strength – An Oral History….. The Alarm take a well earned break in California and Mike Peters, Eddie Macdonald and Dave Sharp record a new song for the John Hughes film ‘Ferris Beullers Day Off’ with a view to having it included in the soundtrack and countdown the days until April 12th and the ‘Spirit Of ’86’ concert at UCLA. More than just Alarm history is about to be made.

Strength – An Oral History. Created by Steve Fulton  and Mike Peters ©2015

Memories come flooding back…… If you have attended any of the shows or incidents mentioned in Strength – An Oral History and have recollections and photos of your own then please share them with us at

Only 3 days to go until Mike Peters and The Alarm appear at Wales Millennium Centre with The Welsh Pops Symphony Orchestra and the Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir. Get your tickets here.