Mike Peters (musician)

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Mike Peters
Mike Peters of The Alarm.jpg
Mike Peters performing in 1984.
Background information
Birth name Michael Leslie Peters
Born (1959-02-25) 25 February 1959 (age 55)
Origin Prestatyn, Wales
Genres Rock, new wave
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1975–present
Labels 21st Century
Associated acts Hairy Hippie
The Toilets
Seventeen
The Alarm
Coloursound
Children of the Revolution
Dead Men Walking
Big Country

Michael Leslie "Mike" Peters (born 25 February 1959)[1] is a Welsh musician, best known as the lead singer of The Alarm. After the band split up in 1991, Peters wrote and released solo work, before reconstituting The Alarm in 2000.[2] Additionally, he is co-founder of the Love Hope Strength Foundation. Between 2011 and 2013, Peters was the vocalist for Big Country as well as The Alarm.

Early life[edit]

Peters was born in Prestatyn and grew up living in The Crescent Hotel in Edward Henry Street, Rhyl, with former The Alarm band member Eddie MacDonald. The name of the street became the inspiration for a track on the album of the same name, released as part of The Poppyfields Bond of albums. On "Edward Henry Street", Peters describes his life growing up in Wales.

Peters' first job was a computer operator. He worked on an old IBM System 3 mainframe with an operating system of RPG II. It was a data card based system that seen in today's terms was very primitive.[1]

Musical career[edit]

1970s[edit]

Peters' musical debut came on 10 October 1975,[3] when he fronted Harry Hippie (named by the disc jockey James Alexander Barr), a band formed with his schoolmates to perform at his sister's 21st birthday party at the Talardy Hotel in St Asaph. The first song performed that night was a cover version of "If You Think You Know How To Love Me" by Smokie.

His first band proper was The Toilets, formed after he saw the Sex Pistols play at Chester in 1976. The first song The Toilets played live was "Nothing To Do" at the Palace Hotel in Rhyl.

Peters, along with MacDonald, Dave Sharp and Nigel Twist (then called Nigel Buckle), formed a band called Seventeen in 1978. The first song Seventeen played was "Pop Generation" at the Bee (now Station) Hotel in Rhyl on 27 May 1978. One single was released in 1979 on the Vendetta label entitled "Don't Let Go."

1980s[edit]

In 1981 The Alarm was formed and moved to London to tour the club circuit. They were signed by the IRS label. The band took their name from a song named Alarm Alarm, that was one of the first songs written by Peters for The Toilets. On BBC Radio 1, John Peel commented that with Duran Duran, Talk Talk and now Alarm Alarm perhaps he should call himself John Peel John Peel, so the name was shortened to The Alarm.

The Alarm played their first gig in the Victoria Hotel in Prestatyn on 10 June 1981.[3] "Shout to the Devil" was the first song to be played. Peters wrote the song that day and as it suited the three acoustics and drumkit line-up, the band used to rehearse it during the soundcheck. Their first single on their own label, "Unsafe Building," was released in November 1981.

1990s[edit]

In 1991, The Alarm split up after Peters left the band on stage at The Brixton Academy, declaring

[citation needed]

The original members of The Alarm have only reunited once. This was for the VH1 series Bands Reunited.

Two singles were released in 1994. "Back into the System", which also included a Welsh release of the single. This was followed by "It Just Don't Get Any Better Than This". Peters teamed up with "The Poets" for both records. The single also included a first release of the track "White Noise" which Peters re-recorded for the album "Rise." The American release also included a re-mix.

It would be a further year before Peters released his first solo album venture "Breathe." Being a UK only release, the CD version of the album did not contain Peter's first two solo singles. An acoustic only version of the same album was also released. By now, Peters had retreated into the internet and had his own website, where most of his future releases would be sold.

In 1996, after having been misdiagnosed with cancer[citation needed], Peters released his second solo venture "Feel Free." The album included a take on Grandmaster Flash's influential rap track "The Message." The American release of "Feel Free" also included a special hidden track called "Gone Elvis."

In 1998, "Rise" was released, to a wider audience this time. "Rise" was a change of musical direction for Peters. "White Noise Part II," found Peters experimenting with studio sound manipulation and drum machines, whereas "My Calling" featured Peters' signature acoustic/electric roots-rock sound. The album also featured the song "In Circles," which Peters co-wrote with ex-Cult guitarist Billy Duffy.

Peters followed the release of "Rise" by touring the US under "The Interactive Acoustic Works U.S. Tour", which started in Boston on 10 October 1998. That year also saw the release of the album "Live [From a Broadcast]." This set included a version of The Alarm's best known song, 68 Guns, which reinstated an extra verse that the band had trimmed out early in the writing process.

In 1999, Peters again worked with Billy Duffy, forming a band called Coloursound with Duffy, his former Cult bandmate Scott Garret, and Craig Adams (formerly of The Mission). They recorded one eponymous studio album.

Since 1993, Peters has held an annual weekend event called "The Gathering" at Llandudno. It has been attended by various guest musicians, including former Alarm band members.

2000s[edit]

The new millennium saw Peters release Flesh and Blood, based on the stage play of the same name written by Helen Griffin.

In 2000, Peters decided to reuse The Alarm brand name. After he left the band in 1991, Peters had signed over rights to the name to the other band members. This caused former drummer Nigel Twist to threaten to sue. Peters has since used The Alarm brand name, sometimes with added roman numericals for the year.

In 2001, Peters went on the road again as part of supergroup Dead Men Walking. Featuring Pete Wylie (of The Mighty Wah!), Glen Matlock (former Sex Pistols), Captain Sensible (The Damned), and Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny), the band played a mixture of old and new material spanning their combined careers.

In 2004, Peters released the single "45 RPM" using the pseudonym, The Poppy Fields, using the guise that this band was a teenage band based from Chester. (This hoax was the source of the subject of the movie Vinyl). Peters came eleventh in an on-line poll to find 100 Welsh Heroes.[4]

He joined members of The Mescaleros in 2010 to perform songs of Joe Strummer under the name Los Mondos Bongo.[5]

In 2011, Peters joined Big Country for their UK tour and released a single with the band that August, titled "Another Country", followed in April 2013 by an album The Journey.[6] On 9 November 201,3 it was announced via the Big Country Facebook page that Peters had departed the band.

Musical influences[edit]

Peters has stated various artists have had an influence on his musical direction. In "Edward Henry Street" of the album with the same name Peters sings "bought Aladdin Sane from Greaves records" in reference to the song by David Bowie.[citation needed]

Woody Guthrie is also part of Peters' musical heritage. Peters stated:

[citation needed]

MPO[edit]

MPO (Mike Peters Organisation) was formed in 1992 as Peters used the internet to communicate with his fan base.

Health and family life[edit]

In 1996, Peters made a recovery from lymph cancer,[3] and began recording and touring again, sometimes with members of the re-formed band. He also presented a regular show called Bedrock on BBC Radio Wales. In 2005, Peters discovered that he was suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.[3] At this time, Peters started a cancer foundation called Love Hope Strength to help with the fight against cancer.

He has since announced a remission of this and has appeared in a documentary for BBC Wales chronicling his so far successful battle with cancer. The documentary was released in 2006 as Mike Peters on the Road to Recovery with some of the proceeds being donated to Peters' foundation.

In 2011, Peter's Love Hope Strength Foundation released the film More to Live For, intended to promote the importance of bone marrow donation in saving the lives of cancer victims.

In October 2007, Peters, along with 38 other musicians, cancer survivors and supporters, made a 14-day trek to the Mount Everest base camp to perform the highest concert ever on land to raise awareness and money to fight cancer. Other musicians included Cy Curnin and Jamie West-Oram of The Fixx, Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats and Nick Harper. Peters is the co-founder of The Love Hope and Strength Foundation with James Chippendale, president of CSI Entertainment in Dallas, Texas.

Peters is married to Jules and has two children. He currently lives in Dyserth, North Wales with his family.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Release date
Breathe 1 January 1995
Breathe – The Acoustic Sessions 1 January 1995
Second Generation Volume 1 1 January 1996
Feel Free 5 August 1996
Abbey Road Sessions 1 March 1997
Rise 26 February 1998
Acoustic Works 1981-1986 5 November 1998
Acoustic Works 1987–1991 5 November 1998
Live [From a Broadcast] 1998
Rise Demos 1 May 1999
Flesh & Blood 19 February 2000
The Millenium Gathering 1 February 2001
Collected Works 17 September 2001
The Alarmstock Collection Live 1 September 2003
Mike Peters in Session 2007 2007
Mike Peters in Session 2008 2008
Breathe – Expanded Edition 2008
Acoustic Live 2009
Feel Free – Remastered and Expanded 2009
Mike Peters in Session 2009 2009

Singles[edit]

Title Other tracks Release date
"Back into the System" "A New Chapter", "21st Century (demo version)", "Back into the System" 1994
"Nol I Mewn I'r System" "Y Bennod Newy", "Canrif 21 – Fersiwn Demo", "Nol I Mewn I'r System" 1994
"It Just Don't Get Any Better Than This" "Devil's Word", "White Noise" 1994
"Shine On" "113th Dream", "Safe European Home", "Going Underground" 1996

Promotional recordings[edit]

Title Songs Album Release date
Breathe Promo "Levis and Bibles", "Love is a Revolution", "Spiritual", "If I Can't Have You", "Breathe" Breathe 1994
Mike Peters EP "Transcendental", "Your Are To Me", "Gone Elvis", "I Want You", "Shine On" Feel Free 1996
Regeneration "Regeneration" Feel Free 1996
Mike Peters Sampler "Transcendental" (radio edit), "Sold Me Down the River", "Rain in the Summertime", "Rescue Me", "Interview with Mike Peters" Rise 1998

Filmography[edit]

Videos[edit]

Title Release date
Videozine Volume 1 1997
Flesh and Blood Recording Sessions 1999
Alarm 2000 Day Documentary 2000
The Song That Changed My Life 2013

DVDS[edit]

Title Release date
The Story of The Alarm 2001
The Gathering DVD Box Set Collection 4 December 2004
Mike Peters – The Documentary – On the Road to Recovery 2006
The Gathering Electric MMVI 2006
The Gathering Acoustic MMVI 2006
Alarmcast #1 2006

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Welshpedia Old site". Welshpedia.co.uk. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "BBC Wales – Music – The Alarm – Mike Peters". Bbc.co.uk. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Home / 100 Welsh Heroes / 100 Arwyr Cymru". 100welshheroes.com. 8 September 2003. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Los Mondo Bongo UK TOUR 2010 – FFRUKiT!". Ffruk.com. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine (16 April 2013). "The Journey – Big Country | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 

External links[edit]