Mike Peters (musician)
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Mike Peters performing in 1984.
|Birth name||Michael Leslie Peters|
|Born||25 February 1959|
|Genres||Rock, new wave|
|Associated acts||Hairy Hippie
Children of the Revolution
Dead Men Walking
Michael Leslie "Mike" Peters (born 25 February 1959) 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. 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.
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 for Kwik Save. 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.
Peters' musical debut came on 10 October 1975, when he fronted Hairy 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.
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."
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. "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.
In 1991, The Alarm split up after Peters left the band on stage at The Brixton Academy, declaring
|“||"We've shared some great moments in time over the last ten years and tonight I would like to thank all the people who have supported me from the beginning to the end. Tonight, this is my last moment with the Alarm, I'm going out in a blaze of glory – my hands are held up high."||”|
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, 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.
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.
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. On 9 November 2013 it was announced via the Big Country Facebook page that Peters had departed the band.
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.
Woody Guthrie is also part of Peters' musical heritage. Peters stated:
|“||I got into Woody Guthrie mainly because of my interest in Bob Dylan. I first heard about Woody when I read the Anthony Scaduto Dylan biography around 1981 which told of Guthrie's influence on the young Dylan. Also I read Dave Marsh's biography on The Who (Before I Get Old) which carried an interview with Pete Townshend urging modern artists who claim to be influenced by The Who, Beatles, Stones etc. to go back to their influences, namely the likes of Guthrie, Robert Johnson etc. I thought this was a very interesting point, and bought up as much early, pre-pop music as I could.||”|
MPO (Mike Peters Organisation) was formed in 1992 as Peters used the internet to communicate with his fan base.
Health and family life
In 1986 in the middle of the height of the fame of The Alarm, whilst based in London during the week, Peters was still living with his parents in Rhyl. Having hitch-hiked home one weekend, he met his future wife Jules, then an under-graduate student at Bangor University studying English. The couple were engaged two weeks later, and have two sons, both conceived through IVF. The family currently lives in Dyserth, North Wales.
In 1996, Peters made a recovery from lymph cancer, 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. At this time, Peters co-founded the Love Hope Strength Foundation with fellow leukaemia patient James Chippendale, the president of CSI Entertainment in Dallas, Texas. Peters 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 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. In 2011, 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 Spring 2016, whilst filming a documentary on cancer, Peters wife Jules discovered a lump and was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer.
|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|
|Feel Free – Remastered and Expanded||2009|
|Mike Peters in Session 2009||2009|
|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|
|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|
|Mike Peters Sampler||"Transcendental" (radio edit), "Sold Me Down the River", "Rain in the Summertime", "Rescue Me", "Interview with Mike Peters"||Rise||1998|
|Videozine Volume 1||1997|
|Flesh and Blood Recording Sessions||1999|
|Alarm 2000 Day Documentary||2000|
|The Song That Changed My Life||2013|
|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|
-  Archived 16 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Welshpedia Old site". Welshpedia.co.uk. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- "BBC Wales – Music – The Alarm – Mike Peters". Bbc.co.uk. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- "Home / 100 Welsh Heroes / 100 Arwyr Cymru". 100welshheroes.com. 8 September 2003. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- "Los Mondo Bongo UK TOUR 2010 – FFRUKiT!". Ffruk.com. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine (16 April 2013). "The Journey – Big Country | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 April 2014.