Mike Peters: And not knocking the original line up because that was brilliant as well, but there is something special about the four of us that play now.

PB: Times change!

MP: Yeah. I think we have been able to modernise the old songs, and even to give them a fresh coat of paint. We are living in the computer era and programmes that were great get rewritten and upgraded and made better and better,but I think there is an allergy against that happening with rock ‘n’ roll too! It can, however, work that way. People think that it can’t because that is a hankering for originals in rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe that comes from a record collectors' mentality, but bands can move on and can get better. It is against the rules, but it can happen from time to time.

PB: How do you feel about playing in smaller venues now because this tour is quite low key?

MP: It’s not that low key, but we do it all ourselves. We don’t use the music industry. It’s probably big in the sense that the band is able to work at the level that we do. It’s small in comparison though to some other tours in that we are not using SJM or anyone to promote our shows. We handle all the ticket sales through our web site. We have our own phone lines, our own ticket agency. We do everything ourselves, but it’s been exciting and that’s what makes it fresh I think.

PB: You have basically put behind it the punk ethic then ?

PB: It is the living embodiment of it. All the way through. It is what the bands and Johnny Rotten and Joe Strummer told us to go and do. We have got our own radio station, our own record label, we promote our own shows and we treat every fan as an individual not as a part of an entity.

PB: Because a while ago people just treated music as a product and not at a street level kind of thing?

MP: I think they still do. That is why we put the Poppyfields single
out. (The new Alarm's first single, '45 rpm', which entered the British charts upon its release in February of 2004, was released under the moniker of the Poppyfields rather than the Alarm)

PB: Why was that credited to the Poppyfields and not the Alarm?

MP: Just to break down the barrier that people think of the Alarm as dead and buried. We didn't want people going "Oh there from the 80's.With the new line up, they can’t be as good as the original and, therefore, we won’t even listen to the record never mind play it."

We felt a little bit of subdifusion was needed there because I think there is an assumption in the music business that new music must be made by new people all the time and it’s totally not true. Musicians can get better just like authors or painters can get better. It can be a long drawn out process, but it can actually happen.

PB: The other project you have is Dead Men Walking (Side project and rotating punk supergroup which Mike Peters formed with Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols-Ed) ?

MP: Yeah.

PB: Is that still going ?

MP: Yeah.

PB: How do you manage to keep that project running alongside the Alarm ?

MP: You've got old Alarm songs along with new Alarm songs. They refresh each other. and I think to go off and do a Dead Men Walking show or to go off and do a Mike Peter solo show is fairly similar. It keeps it all fresh because when you do something for a long time like I have been doing you can end up becoming a bit obsessional about it.

PB: And get jaded by it all? Who is in Dead Men Walking at the moment? There's you and Glen obviously.

MP: We change every day. It’s like an open house really. For the next set of dates it’s myself, Glen, Kirk Brandon from Spear of Destiny and Theatre Of Hate, Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats, Billy Duffy from the Cult and Bruce Watson from Big Country.

PB: Pete Wylie was a member for a while. Why did he leave?

MP: He just wanted to do his own thing. From the beginning of his career Pete has always been a solo artist. I don’t know what he is up to right at the moment. The last time I spoke to him was the day Joe Strummer died. I haven’t spoken to him since.

PB: I believe all the old Alarm albums have or will be remastered? Were you involved in that?

MP: Yeah, That was in 2000. I licensed all the back catalogue back from EMI to my own label. We still work closely with EMI. I retracked all our albums and put all the B sides in. In context rather then just stick them on at the end. We used the benefit of hindsight to resequence the albums rather than just rush them out, so we were able to go back and I think to improve on them. The latter titles are still owned completely by EMI and are coming out in their original form as well. We have got a good reissue policy.

PB: What attracted you to IRS originally (The Alarm's original label, which, owned by Miles Copeland, was eventually bought up by EMI?

MP: Nothing. It was all we could get(Laughs)

PB: Ok.

MP: "If they are cheap, then sign them " said Miles Copeland

PB: That sounds about right.

MP: No, I think the thing with IRS is they were good on one level because it was a maverick operation, but they were never going to turn us into the biggest band in the world. They has us and REM. and both in the prime of life. And they couldn’t compete. Miles couldn’t get the funding into his label to complete with Inxs and U2 who had a million dollar marketing budgets at their disposal whereas everything with the Alarm and REM had to be on a shoestring. It was all ideas that got us as far as we could and REM. got lucky. They got out of IRS and went to Warner Brothers in 1988, but I don’t think they made better music than they did with IRS. They have sold millions of records since though.

PB: I love REM. I’m a fan, but I don’t think anything on Warners touches the great stuff they did on IRS.

MP: Not by a mile. They have released some brilliant singles since, but they did some killer singles on IRS. We just didn’t have that. That’s why we had to do stuff like the Poppyfields because money talks in the music industry.

PB: Does it feel like 20 years ?

MP: No. It doesn’t at all. It seems like yesterday since we were walking our ‘Unsafe Building’ single around London. That is they way it goes though when your hobby is your life. Time goes by quickly.

PB: So you never got a day job.

MP: No, I’m still amazed at what we do and that it is still challenging and the horizons are still wide open. There are lots of the other guys in the original band line up and guys from other bands who have had to give it up now and who now work in computers or as photographers and detectives or whatever they do. I admire them for stepping back into the real world, but there are a lot of people who are lifers in rock ‘n’ roll as well.

PB: Is there anything you like to do in music that you haven’t done yet?

MP: Yeah, millions of things. I do feel what we are doing is right. I think we have made a great album. We can hold our heads up and tell people we have made a great album.

A couple of years ago I made a record that was a soundtrack for a play called 'Flesh and Blood'. And I have made a soundtrack for two series which you can only hear in the context of these two series. But in the 80’s if you did something like that it was either the end of the band or your next big step because you could only communicate then through the pages of a music magazine. Now though we have our web site and we have a daily newspaper which is updated everyday. I think it’s more exciting for our fans now.

PB: Anything else you would like to add?

MP: Thanks for doing the interview. (laughs)

PB: Brilliant. Cheers.














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