Mike Peters of The Alarm says he’s making the best use of his time during the pandemic.
That would be an understatement.
He released “Stream (Hurricane of Change),” a 39-track double CD that tells an autobiographical story of Mike Peters and The Alarm from 1986 to 1990. The newly recorded music is joined by Peters’ spoken word essay with songs like “Rain in the Summertime,” “Rescue Me,” “One Step Closer to Home,” “Sold Me Down the River” and “A New South Wales.”
He and his wife, Jules, have also been livestreaming from their home in North Wales every Saturday at 1 p.m. Pacific Time on facebook.com/theofficialalarm. It features dedications, rare, unseen and new videos and live interviews with band members, musical friends and collaborators.
“We’re making the best of the time,” he says. “We live in a fairly isolated part of the world. It (COVID-19) hasn’t really touched our community as it may have done in a way that’s affected some of the big cities in the world.
“We’ve been blessed with a lot of sunshine. We’ve created a lot of new music and with ‘The Big Night In,’ it’s a great way to keep us all connected and keep our spirits up.”
The success of “The Big Night In” was a surprise to Peters.
“When we started doing it, we had no idea what we were going to do,” Peters says. “We did it on a wing and a prayer. Somehow, we made it through the first night, after we had a handle on the sound challenges. All of a sudden, we started having a huge audience every week.
“We’ve hosted other bands in other parts of the world, and we’ve had an amazing time. We’ve covered a lot of great moments in The Alarm history, too.”
As for “Stream (Hurricane of Change),” it was a challenge to compile, he says. Peters sings the songs as if they were written today and what the outcome would be. With The Alarm, Peters recorded the albums “Eye of The Hurricane” (1987), “Electric Folklore” (1988) and “Change” (1989), each of which captured the essence of the turbulent times.
“It was a time of great change in the 1980s, with the Berlin Wall coming down,” he says. “Wales didn’t have a say in the outcome of its own lives. Those were really empowering records that we made in the 1980s.”
The year 2020 is paralleling those times, with borders closing, Brexit and Donald Trump leading the United States.
“In America, there’s a new kind of presidency taking everybody out of their comfort zone, making them ask questions and changing the ways Americans are viewed around the world. It’s also a time of momentous change.”
The Alarm recorded more than 40 songs, so the challenge was piecing them all together as one.
“When I looked at it, the first song written by the band was in 1986,” he says. “The last song released in 1990 was on the ‘Change’ album. I looked at the lyrics and thought, ‘This is interesting.’
“It really started to weave together into a much deeper autobiographical story of self-discovery hidden in the lyrics written at the time.”
Peters enjoys bringing “Stream (Hurricane of Change)” to the stage. After thanking fans for listening to the “new” material, he launches in hits by The Alarm.
“When I come off the stage, I’m wiped out,” he says with a laugh, “When I go on the stage, I go on with the dialog of the record. I stay in the character the whole time.”
Peters’ projects don’t stop there. On Record Store Day—September 26—The Alarm will release a new vinyl album, “Celtic Folklore Live,” which features 10 previously unreleased recordings from the 1988 “Celtic Folklore Tour.”
“I’m just trying to keep a smile on people’s faces and keep music fans engaged while venues are closed,” he says. “When the lockdown is lifted, we’ll come back stronger than ever before.”