News: Ageing punks’ single stunt a hit


Post-punk band The Alarm have scored a top 30 UK chart hit – with a stunt disguising themselves as an unknown younger group.

Recording under the pseudonym The Poppyfields, they are at number 28 after selling more than 4,000 copies of their 1970s-style punk single 45RPM.

In its accompanying video The Alarm are replaced by teenage Chester rockers The Wayriders who mime along to the song.

Singer Mike Peters said it was done to prove how much image affected sales.

We wanted the song to be judged on its merits and stir up the water a little bit

Mike Peters, The Alarm

“We decided we would do something where it was judged purely on its own musical value,” Peters, 44, told BBC News Online.

He said The Alarm, most famous for their 1983 hit 68 Guns, were not always taken seriously by DJs because of their age and an image perceived to be outdated.

“The Alarm as an entity have been going for 20-odd years and history can go against you – we wanted to break the barrier down.

“We wanted the song to be judged on its merits and stir up the water a little bit, break the mould.”

Peters said the image had become more important than the music

Peters and fellow band members James Stevenson (guitar), Craig Adams (bass) and Steve Grantly (drums) have a strong fanbase in Europe and the US.

Peters said they worked largely “underground”, often avoiding the music business and using the internet to reach their loyal following.

The band, whose current line-up includes former members of Stiff Little Fingers, Generation X, The Cult and The Mission, recently recorded 12 fans’ favourites for a new album.

Peters is something of a folk hero in his native Wales where he is receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Welsh Music Awards in Cardiff on Friday.

In a list of 100 Welsh heroes, he is currently number seven behind Tom Jones, Richard Burton and Welsh revolutionary Owain Glyndwr.

The band have just added a further date to their UK tour at London Scala on 2 March after selling out their show in the capital the previous night.