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Q&A Session with Smiley

Hello Smiley…how are you?
I am great Thanks..Sitting backstage at The Rex theatre in Paris waiting to play with Archive and an orchestra..
It’s free drinks backstage…what are you having?
A large Pinot Grigio please my man.. and a cup of tea
Smiley? Is the name as obvious as “Smiley by name, Smiley by nature”?
I got called Smiley years ago by someone trying to explain who I was to someone else.. Apparently the conversation went..”You know Steve..drummer Steve.. Smiley Steve!!!and then it stuck, and I havent been able to look grumpy since.
What’s it like being in The Alarm?
Its such a pleasure.. On so many levels.. As people they are as nice and great to hang out with as anyone I have worked with.. As a band they are a mighty rock band.. and lets face it I get to live out my Rock n Roll drumming fantasy every night.. It doesnt get any better
What is your first memory of Mike Peters?
I met Mike at The Hammersmith Palais in about 1983.. I was still at school and I went with some older friends and he came in a side door where we were standing and I shook his hand.. My biggest memory was that he had big hair and big hands.. Still has ha ha
How did you get the job in The Alarm?
Well I am not totally sure.. My memory is shocking.. You might have to ask Mike..The basic link was that I had played with Joe Strummer.. I met Dave Sharp and was doing some bits with him, then I think I may have Myspaced Mike to say how much I loved The Alarm and if he ever needed a drummer.. blah blah.. Then he called me and I went and jammed with him so I could dep on some American dates.. which didnt happen… Then the Los Mondo Bongo project came up, a tribute to Strummer with Derek Forbes , Steve Harris and Pablo Cook.. and I suggested Mike front it.. Well when he agreed we went of to do some dates in Canada and he and I became bessie mates.. and the rest is history.. My mate Mikey!!
So were you a fan of The Alarm before you joined the band?
Yeah.. I bought Marching On.. (gonna claim that back on expenses ha ha).. I saw them play Declaration at The Palais.. I was always a fan so to become an Alarmee is such a buzz..
How did you find your first Gathering?
It was so special .. My Mrs and kids came so it was a really lovely moment looking down from the stage to see them wearing their passes with big proud smiles on their faces.. Cost me a fortune in the arcade though.. I actually enjoyed the Friday night in the round the most.. It was amazing.
Despite being the new boy, do you have any favourite moments from your first year?
There are a few.. The Isle of Wight was hilarious.. You will have to ask the others why.. but just say Paul Macartney and I am sure they will tell you.. The American tour was fantastic.. The Rocky steps in Philladelphia with Andy and Lily, the Rockafella centre, Ollie the sound man hitting a golf ball 250 yards with one hand, the show in Southampton cos my Mum and Dad came, recording The Sound and the Fury.. especially when a jet lagged slightly tipsy Craig Adams nodded off mid song..Playing in Liverpool with Stuart Cable before his sad departure, recording the Vinyl soundtrack in an old nuclear bunker with Phil Daniels, playing Pretty Vacant with Glenn Matlock (I got to be a Pistol for 3 minutes).. playing football and hanging out with Mikes kids, hanging out with the lovely Mrs Peters, watching Chelsea win the premiership whilst sitting next to Mike and Mark Taylor.. You cant put a price on that..I could go on.. and on and on!
What are your weapons of choice (drums, sticks etc)?
Well I am very fortunate to be endorced by Pearl drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Aquarien heads and Protection Racket cases.. All I need now is an Ann Summers endorsement and away we go.
You played with Joe Strummer, that’s got to be a hard act to follow?
Well you can’t follow it.. It was 2 years of my life which will always be there.. An incredible experiene with an incredible man.
Tell us about Archive, they play massive shows, but it seems its a completly different job than The Alarm?
Oh chalk and cheese.. As I said earlier we are on tour in Europe performing with an orchestra.. Archive are huge out here.. Playing Arenas.. They are like a modern day Pink Floyd.. But as far away from The Alarm as they are musically I am still hitting things with sticks.. Its just slightly more disciplined.. I was standing with a glass of wine chatting to Jean Michelle Jarre after last nights show and when I told him I also played with The Alarm he said.. Ah seexty eight gurns.. I kid you not.. Must tell Mikey that one
What other things are you involved in at the moment?.. Well, I have some shows coming up playing for Republica which should be interesting, also a band called Birdpen who are an offshoot of Archive.. I think they are gonna be huge.. .. Plus looking after an 18 month old little girl .. which means lots of dog walks and feeding the ducks and lack of sleep…I catch up on tour.. My kids friends and family are happy and healthy … So all in all life couldnt be better
Is it true you have your own recording studio? Who have you had in there?
I do.. Sunshine Corner Studios.. I love producing.. I have had so many varied acts in..From Billy Bragg, Mick Jones &Topper Headon to punk bands, soul bands, young up and coming X factor singers to middle aged middle of the road bands to crazy rap and old blues.. They are all so different but I love a challenge.. I thought I was getting pretty good at it til I had a band in last month who recorded an EP.. It sounded amazing til I deleted it by mistake.. Dont ask me how I talked my way out of that one.
How have you enjoyed working on the the new Alarm album…has it got Smiley stamped on it?
It was a lovely 4 days.. Mike Craig and I were set up in a triangle, We would structure the songs , run through them twice, get Andy to make the tea then press record.. BAM..Theres your take.. You can hear how organic it sounds.. It was lovely being so involved.. I co produced it so I got really immersed in it.. they are fabulous songs..
Any words of Smiley wisdom for us?
Learn your lessons.. If you come back drunk with your Mrs after watching Paul McCartney and you have made  everyone wait for 2 hours because you didnt hear what time you were leaving and turned your phone off.. Its best not to open the van door with a rendition of Live and Let Die at full volume… LESSON LEARNT !
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