Mike Peters is flattered that people still remember The Alarm a decade after its final album. But he also knows that the Welsh band hasn’t remained important in fans’ lives because of the personalities in the group.
“I believe it was all about the songs,” Peters said. “The songs are the stars. Forget Mike Peters. That’s what makes the connection – the songs. People make connections with the lyrics that are important in their lives, that mean something to them at certain moments. We had a lot of those moments with our fans.”
In the United States, fans first made a connection with The Alarm in 1983 when “The Stand” hit the radio and the band opened U2’s “War” tour.
With its acoustic/electric, Bob Dylan-meets-The Clash sound, The Alarm delivered impassioned rock and generated its first Top 40 hit with “Strength,” the title cut of its second album.
In the mid- to late ’80s, The Alarm was sharing the stage with the likes of Dylan and Neil Young, developing a reputation for its powerful live shows while continuing to make solid, substantial records.
In 1991 Peters left the band because the other members wanted guitarist Dave Sharp to take over some of the singing duties and other songwriters to have more prominence.
That version of The Alarm never managed to make an album, however, and the band died. But Peters has done all he can to keep its memory and the songs alive.
“I’ve been campaigning for a number of years to have The Alarm albums reissued on CD,” Peters said. “I managed to get the rights back to reissue the catalog, so I decided for once in my life to stop looking forward, take a look back and play a greatest-hits tour.”
To do the tour, which will stop at the Royal Grove Saturday night, Peters put together a band he calls The Alarm 2000. Joining him will be guitarist James Stevenson, who played with Generation X and Gene Loves Jezebel, drummer Steve Grantley from Stiff Little Fingers and bassist Richard Llewellyn.
“The band I have is probably better and more spirited than the original lineup,” Peters said. “That was a real challenge to me. I only would have done it if it was better, and it’s better because we have a unified vision.”
The focus of the tour is “The Alarm 2000 Collection,” a nine-CD boxed set that Peters assembled after obtaining the rights to the original recordings from EMI. Released on his own 21st Century Recording Company label, the set is available at the band’s Web site, www.thealarm.com.
Those who purchase the set can select a favorite song that Peters will record live at the concert they attend and include in the package – a recording industry first.
To launch “The Alarm 2000 Collection,” Peters played a 12-hour show in North Wales in which he did every Alarm song – a massive undertaking that was almost by definition a solo project.
“I don’t think anyone could learn 90 songs to play in one day,” Peters said. “Because I wrote them all, they’re embedded in my spirit. I have instant recall of all the songs. It’s mad, I know. But it’s true.”
In addition to keeping the memory of The Alarm alive on the Web and in concert, Peters has continued with a solo career and produced a handful of records, including two collaborations with Cult guitarist Billy Duffy.
But you won’t hear any of his solo material at Saturday night’s show.
“If it’s being billed as The Alarm 2000, and it’s about that music. It wouldn’t be fair to do that (solo material),” Peters said. “If there’s another tour and people want me to come back, then we’ll mix it up.”
Author::L. KENT WOLGAMOTT