The Alarm





"WE SPENT a lot of time cocooned in rock and roll clubs in London being seen hanging out. There was a lot of time spent talking to the same kind of people. Everyone has the same sort of ideal. Everyone is CND or slightly left or wears black. You get all this closed shop thing. Billy Bragg, Seething Wells, Paul Weller, NME. Unless you're a completely paid up party member they don't want to know. They don't even give your opinion a chance unless you nail your flag to the mast and say 'Yeah, I'm that'."

The Alarm have reached a reflective stage and Mike Peters, while condemning r'n'r tunnel vision' speaks with the charge of optimism he/they have scarcely ever been short of. Currently they're poised between their different single 'The Chant' ("a massive monster drum sound with loads of guitars slammed over the top"), and an LP for ease next year which promises to deliver everything that their first, 'Declaration', didn't.

Mike: "On 'Declaration' there's brilliant moments and also bits that we probably wouldn't do again. There's a lot of songs that shouldn't have been put on. People say it's like a greatest hits album. At the time we'd released seven songs on the b-sides of singles and I'd wish we'd put some of those b-sides on. We just threw away 'What Kind Of Hell'. We left it with someone else to mix and were very disappointed but it was too late. That was us paying the price of cooking up a gruelling touring schedule. I think if we'd put on 'Pavilion Steps' and 'Reason 41' it wouldn't have got so much of the 'anthemic' stuff aimed at it.

"We used images of spiritual battle, keeping up your drive and adrenaline by knowing that you were better than the world was making you out to be. With the new album we're trying to involve real images that you can actually touch and see not just things which are ideas and dreams.

"When you're in a band you're always pointing the finger at someone, the government or whoever. But sometimes we're just as much to blame because we give people an incentive and sometimes we haven't got the right to give them that incentive. Sometimes we're a bit blind to what's going on because we are only human.

"We get so caught up in asking people to be like this or like that but sometimes people just want music and a good time. So I wrote a song, 'Majority', shall I recite it? (Mike sings song into my Sony) '... that pointed the finger at us, that makes us think about what we are and the position we're in.' "

Meanwhile, pointing a finger at the state of the British pop scene; Culture Club, Wham!, Marilyn, Frankie...

"Pop has become such a commodity, it's on the front page of The Sun. There doesn't seem to be anybody concerned with building a career, everyone's going for it all the time. I think it's all going to blow up in their face."

To continue reading this article and to discover many more (over 140,000 words-worth!), purchase Mick Sinclair’s Adjusting the Stars: Music journalism from post-punk London. 



mick sinclair

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