Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Gene Loves Jezebel cancel 2 South American dates

GLJ Brixton Academy 2011 - Photo by Joff
This one is a bit weird as Gene Loves Jezebel have been forced to cancel 2 of the 3 shows that were scheduled  to take place during May in Brazil. The reason for this is that the vocalist of headliners Concrete Blonde, Johnette Napolitan has refused to have Gene Loves Jezebel as a support act for unknown reasons! The only date that survives currently is the 18th May appearance at the Festival Lupaluna in Curitiba but if they add any more shows we will keep you posted. Needless to say we are very disappointed at this news.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Big Country live on Irish TV

Big Country are to appear on the prestigious Irish TV programme "The Late Late Show" this Friday (2nd March) which is shown on the RTE One channel. For those fortunate to be able to receive this channel the programme starts at 9.30pm, for the rest of us it looks like it is streamed online after it has aired which is very handy!

Watch The Late Late Show HERE

Monday, 27 February 2012

Gene Loves Jezebel live dates

I know many of you might have already seen these dates but for those of you that haven't then James will be appearing in his Gene Loves Jezebel guise at the Whitby Goth Weekend on the 28th April. The band headlines Saturday on a bill that also includes Die Laughing, The Bellwether Syndicate, Partly  Faithful and Stills. Friday is headlined by In The Nursery but also has an appearance by Ugly Buggs who feature Jay and Peter from Gene Loves Jezebel. This was originally touted as the final Gene gig however that seems to have now (thankfully) changed as they band also play a handful of South American dates in May. Tickets for Whitby are priced at £50 for the weekend, £26 for the Friday and £29 for the Saturday (all days also have a booking fee of £1.25) and are available on this link. TICKETS or click the banner below!

For those who are in Brazil or are interested in going (maybe take in The Mission shows too?) the dates are...
18th May Festival Lupaluna, Biopark, CURITIBA, 19th May HSBC Arena, SAO PAULO and 20th May Fundicao Progresso, RIO DE JANEIRO.

Crossing The Country Germany & Ireland dates.

Fresh from the very successful and warmly received "Crossing The Country" tour Big Country hit main land Europe in March to play 2 dates in Germany. April then sees the band play 2 dates in Ireland (one Southern and one Northern). The buzz and excitement surrounding the UK tour means these are dates to make sure you don't miss if at all possible! Tickets for the Irish dates are available from Tickmaster, for the German dates we suggest trying ticket agencies in that location.

9th BERLIN Postbahnhof
10th BOCHUM Zeche

13th DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
14th BELFAST Mandela Hall

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Mission to play in South America

The Mission @ Brixton (photo by Joff!)
We are a little late posting this news but new dates have been added. For all of you in South America or for those that fancy a holiday to somewhere warmer The Mission 25th Anniversary shows are happening in May.

The dates so far are...

23rd May Lima, PERU
24th May Santiago, CHILE
26th May Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
27th May Sao Paulo, BRAZIL

2nd June Mexico City, MEXICO

We were lucky enough to catch the Brixton Academy show last year (with the added bonus of a way too short Gene Loves Jezebel set which of course featured James Stevenson and an epic set from the Fields Of The Nephilim) which was a great night. The Mission seemed genuinely energised and happy to be playing together again and the set list was almost perfect!

Craig...Back In Black!
 For more info on these dates and venues contact your (local) ticket agent....if anyone gets to see these shows then let us know! We would love a review or to see some pictures.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Special Guests lined up for Theatre Of Hate Show

For all those ToH fans out there who can't wait for the previously reported Islington Academy gig on May 10th and the Westworld Weekend we can't reveal names but can confirm there will be some very special guest appearances at one or the other (or both!) shows, either way both gigs are likely to be VERY special. We have been asked by Kirk not to mention names till nearer the time as work commitments are still being worked out but will bring you the news as soon as we can!  Tickets are on sale now so don't miss out as you know these will be great shows!



Mike Peters to perform at Gary Speed Memorial

There will be a Memorial match for the late Gary Speed MBE next Wednesday (29th February) at Cardiff City Football Club. The match will be attended by Gary's family and will include music before the match (which sees Wales playing Costa Rica) and also at half time. Mike Peters has confirmed he will be playing a set as well as performances from Super Furry Animals and Bryn Terfel. Footballing colleagues and friends of Gary will be paying tribute to the late Wales manager who died last November in tragic circumstances.

Tickets are on sale from the club for £10 (adults) and £5 (children) on 0845 345 1400 visit for more info.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Snowdon Rocks 6 - Donate Here!

Photo by M.P.O.
This year we will both be attending Snowdon Rocks - the fundraising event which raises money for the Love Hope Strength Foundation. This means we will both be trekking up Snowdon on Sunday 19th August 2012 along with lots of other Alarm fans and supporters of LHS and here's what you can do to help...

Join us! - For those interested you can register yourself via the LHS link below


Donate and help us raise money for Love Hope Strength. Our Just Giving link is -

In return we will post as many pictures as we can and hopefully bring you some footage of Mike's musical interludes along the way! (weather permitting of course!)

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Joe Silva Interview

Joe's latest single - available now on I-Tunes (USA)
Joe Silva has toured extensively with The Alarm as singer and drummer of The Threats and recently wowed this years Gathering with a solo acoustic set. We catch up with Joe as he readies his new eagerly anticipated solo album which is being produced by drumming legend Anton Fig. His latest single "Blue" is available now in the U.S. via I-Tunes and a European release featuring a duet with Mike Peters is also in the pipeline.

You started your musical career as a drummer, what was it that attracted you to the drums?
Growing up with 3 older sisters that each had record collections, I was exposed to music for as long as I can remember. I recall receiving a toy drum for my third Christmas. I played it all night under the Christmas tree to the new 45rpm records that my sisters had received. When I was in elementary school, the middle-school band visited our class and performed a concert. The band included a girl playing a full drum-set. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. When I was old enough to try out for that same band, there was an evening when all of the band hopefuls met in the school's auditorium to sign up for various instruments. The band leader made an announcement that there were too many students that had signed up for the drums, and that we should consider alternate instruments. My father turned to me and asked if I wanted to choose the saxophone or something else. I kept staring straight ahead while praying in my head for one of the drum spots and answered "It's drums or nothing." I pulled the lucky straw and haven't stopped the pursuit of my musical dreams ever since!

You started The Threats when you were only 14, how hard was it finding gigs at such a young age?
Three of us attended school together, which is how the band formed. We would get rides into school one hour before other students would arrive. The school's music teacher instructed the janitor to let us into the building and allow us to utilize the music room and equipment. As teachers would arrive, several would come in to listen  to a song or two. By the 8th-grade, we were playing our school dances. Before we entered 9th-grade, a band member's 26-year-old uncle joined the band as a guitarist and acted as our booking agent. Somehow we were allowed to play weekly in nightclubs all over New England, USA, before even entering high-school.

The Threats in the 80's
Did being a vocalist that was also a drummer hinder The Threats or make them stand out? - Very few bands have this combination.
I think that it did both...It was a blessing and a curse for The Threats. I absolutely LOVE drumming...the emotion & energy that can be channelled through drums is like no other feeling for me. In a way, I find that the utilization of all four limbs doing different movements, but culminating as one work really centres me in both a physical & spiritual way. When I can then add in an original lyric and deliver it melodically with my voice dancing within and around the drums, then my soul soars through & past the exosphere! I believe that audiences clung onto that energy, allowing The Threats to quickly win-over audiences that we had previously never played to before. We were lucky enough to have played on tour dates with many international artists (Joan Jett, The Alarm, Missing Persons, etc.), and as an opening act, the band only had 40 minutes to earn the respect of the audience. I still LOVE that challenge! In that sense, being a high-energy drummer AND lead-singer was a blessing...The curse seemed to be related to the record companies in New York, and when a label was interested they would contact my entertainment lawyer and say that they'd like to see the band again, but with the drummer out toward the front of the stage as just a singer. I would always say "But the crowds love the fact that I am doing both, and I love doing both, so NO!" Eventually, when The Threats were still without a major label deal, I began to question if I did the right thing. A bit of self-validation came to me one night when I met Billy Joel's drummer, Liberty DeVitto, who spoke of how a drummer and the singer need to be connected at the hip. I thought to myself, being drummer AND lead-singer not only connects things at the hip, but also the heart & soul...It was confirmed right there that I did the right thing for me and the music, even if the fact that I was a lead-singer AND drummer may have limited our commercial acceptance within the industry.

How did you find the regional success that "Dream About You" gave you?
Radio was always an important medium for The Threats. Our first single was called "Dream Girl", which was monumental in bringing our young band to the forefront of the regional music scene in the early 80's. I was drumming and singing back up, and wrote the song with Dean Landry, who was the lead singer. There was a buzz going around about "these kids" playing about on the scene, which had people attending our shows. We didn't want to be known as some novelty, but rather a group that would continue to evolve. We were playing at the top original music venue, 'The Living Room', which hosted great bands almost every night (Billy Idol, Ramones, Extreme, Todd Rundgren, etc.) and soon the owner, Randy Hein, saw something in us and included us on the 1983 album release of the top 13 bands in New England, titled 'The Living Room...A Compilation'...we recorded "Dream Girl" for the record, which was released when we were 16 years old. Before long, we were receiving airplay on the radio, being photographed for radio station calendars, and opening for big name groups.
The summer after graduating high school, Dean left the band and joined the Marines. I took over as lead-singer of the band. It took a year or two, once Dean left, for me to find my place as a lead-singer. I worked my butt off at it, and eventually brought the band into the studio to work with Hirsch Gardner producing a few new songs. Hirsch was significant, as my first major concert was KISS, I think I was 10 years old. The opening act was called New England, and what I first noticed about them was the drummer with all the hair behind the monstrous set of drums. It was Hirsch...the first arena drummer I ever saw now producing my band. I decided to record "Dream About You", that I had co-written with Dean. Most folks think that it is a love song about a girl, but it is actually a song that is sung to God. Soon after recording it, we were receiving airplay in more cities, giving more interviews, and playing on more T.V. shows. The song's acceptance gave me stronger confidence as a lead-singer.

When did you first hear The Alarm and what attracted you to them?
I was doing a sound-check at The Living Room venue, and the sound guy was telling me about a group that he just saw in Boston called The Alarm, that just rocked the house with acoustic guitars. He said that we had a similar look & style. Soon after, I heard their song "The Stand" on the radio and fell in love with it. When the video hit MTV, my band was like "Wow...They stick their hair up too!"...You see Dean's mother was a hairdresser, and she went to a seminar and came back with all kinds of new hair designs from England. She experimented on the band, as we were searching a look. We gravitated to it, and took a lot of abuse from other kids at school. Most of the few thousand students that attended our high school looked & dressed the same. We stood-out instantly with our hair on end, ripped jeans and Ramones jackets. The Alarm came into America's living rooms and gave validity to what the young Threats were doing.
 What I LOVED about The Alarm was the power of their music - both sonically & spiritually. Their anthemic melodies & lyrics sang directly to my soul, my virtues, my dreams...prayers...hopes...One song after the next one built the soundtrack to my later teens, Dean's brother had a great '73 Mustard Yellow Ford Mustang. After rehearsals, we would pack into that car and cruise the streets of our slumber town to listen to a cassette of The Alarm's "Declaration" album over & over...

How significant was "Unsafe Building" to you when you were trying to get a deal for The Threats?
"Unsafe Building" was a song that was hitting me during a time that I was contemplating a move to Los Angeles. I was travelling to L.A. a few times each year, and recognised the magnitude of the music industry out there. I was convinced that I'd get a record deal if I played similar shows in the L.A. market to the ones I played in New England. The others in the band wouldn't move, so I eventually decided to declare myself and the band an unsafe building, and decided to rebuild it into something new out west. I took all of the songs I wrote and drove across the U.S. to reside in California and work the L.A. music industry. Unfortunately, I didn't have much money so I spent all my time trying to make ends meet, and absolutely no time making music. I learned several valuable lessons along the way, wrote some new songs during the experience, and eventually made my way back to the East Coast and re-assembled The Threats.

Was the American market very regional in the '80's and is it still like that now with the impact of the internet and the decline of commercial radio?
The radio market WAS very regional in a sense...There were some very large stations, such as WBCN in Boston, that would mix local music in with regular rotation, bringing many bands up to the next several levels. College stations broke bands like U2, The Alarm and R.E.M., bringing a larger audience to the local bands that were also coming up through college radio. Even though the Internet may give more bands a venue, the listening market is now very fragmented. I did like the fact that if you were on the radio many people were listening to you at the same time. There weren't that many alternative options. I also liked the fact that, because there were limited positions of airplay-time, versus today, it meant that the band worked really hard to pass the competition to get on that radio station. Today, everyone can have an online radio station, playing anything good OR bad...I prefer the past in that regard. We would literally sweat though our clothes during rehearsals EVERY night to get airplay status. I'm not sure there are many folks doing music today that understand the concept of "paying the dues".

How did you get to support The Alarm on 3 tours in the States?
The Alarm and The Threats
I recall seeing The Alarm in concert in the late 80's at The University of Rhode Island. They were such a tight band, musically and through friendship, which was apparent through watching them interact onstage. I wanted desperately to meet Mike, and just make him aware of my band, with hopes of opening for my hero some day. We were already opening for so many big bands that it was just something that I needed to for my FAVOURITE band. During their last song, I told the people that I went to the show with that I would meet them at the car, then proceeded to leave the venue and try to locate the backstage door. The building was larger than I had anticipated, with other wings built on various sides of the gymnasium that housed the concert. After searching for the backstage door for nearly an hour, I returned to the car (one of the last left in the parking lot) in defeat... A few years passed and The Alarm were playing at a nearby arena supporting Pat Benetar. My guitarist and I bought a ticket to the show, and knowing the venue, we meandered our way backstage after The Alarm performed. We ended up getting sent back into the crowd as we ran into Pat Benetar's bodyguard before running into Mike Peters. Another defeat!...Finally, Mike came to play acoustically at 'The Living Room' in the 90's. I ended up singing harmony on a song that night, and meeting him for the first time. He invited me to the show the next night at Aerosmith's former nightclub in Boston called Mama Kin's. I gave him a CD of The Threats that night, and made it a point to stay in touch. We played our first show with The Alarm in 2001, and forged a lasting respect & friendship.

How was it hearing Mike Peters dedicate "Unsafe Building" to you at these gigs?
I was completely blown away when he did that at the first gig that we performed together. The song itself meant so much to me, but to have it delivered, with respect, by my musical hero that wrote it was a life-achievement for me. The sad irony of that event is that the venue was a place called The Station, which burned to the ground two years later during a Great White concert. 97 music fans died in the fire that night, 3 more died over the next few months, and another 100+ were maimed by the flames.Quite the unsafe building. I wrote the song "97 Angels" two days after the fire, which was used on a CD by various recording artists to benefit the victims' families.

How hard a decision was it to record a solo album after so many years in the band?
I was ready for it. It had been 24 years with The Threats, and I had written several songs over the years that were too mellow, or simply too different of a style for The Threats to play. I was contemplating incessantly about which direction I should go with the music, and eventually I came to the conclusion that I'd be a solo artist, and believe that this solo approach is the right way for me today, and moving forward. I have many more options now.

Joe recording at the legendary Sun Studio

Why did you choose to record at the legendary Sun Studio?
It wasn't originally on my radar, but I was taking a tour of the hallowed studio and something hit me that I absolutely NEEDED to give birth to several of my songs there. I recorded 17 tracks at Sun, but took with me 1,700 memories of the experience.

Was it daunting recording at such an historic location?
Recording at Sun was invigorating, yet strangely familiar at the same time. It was as if I had already spent a lot of time there. Some extremely surreal events occurred throughout my week recording at Sun Studio. There are too many unbelievable events that I experienced while in Memphis, that I encourage your readers to eventually visit my website and read my BIO, which includes many of those happenings. It is well worth a read. 

How did Anton Fig get involved in the project?
Joe with producer, friend and hero Anton Fig
I was already friends with Will Lee, the legendary bassist from 'The Late Show with David Letterman', and he had invited me to a show that he was playing at The Bitter End in New York City. Luckily for me, Anton Fig was playing drums at the show, and he agreed to listen to my Sun Studio tracks to see if there was a song that he'd be willing to play drums on. He agrred to play on my song "Break The Chair", and a few weeks later I received a call from Anton. He spoke about not being able to get my songs out of his head, and we agreed that he would produce the project from there. At that point in time, I realized that I had won the musical lottery!

He has quite a CV (many rock fans probably know him best from his work with Ace Frehley) how did it feel to have another drummer involved in your work?
Normally, if I wanted drum work done I would do it myself. The songs that I recorded at Sun were to be a complete departure from my years with The Threats, and I intended on it being an acoustic record...simply guitar, piano & drums at all. That being said, Anton Fig had been a hero of mine since I was a kid. Not only did he play on all of Ace Frehley's records, he also played as a ghost drummer on KISS records when Peter Criss wasn't cutting it anymore ("Dynasty" / "Unmasked"), and also played on a hundred other hit records by Bob Dylan, BB King, Mick Jagger, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Joe Satriani, Billy Squire, Warren Zevon, Joe Bonamassa, etc...I could only hope that he might want to play drums on a single track but when he picked up the whole project, my future opened wide.

Quite a few of the musicians on the album are from the 'Letterman Band' was the decison to include such a diverse group Anton's idea?
Yes...when Anton took on the project, I told him that he had full artistic rights to produce the songs as he hears them. Lucky for me, he hears them with some of the best players in the world playing on them. Not only are several members of The Late Show with David Letterman's band playing on the tracks, but also musicians from Levon Helm's band, Paul Simon's band, Peter Wolf's band, Garland Jeffrey's band, The Saturday Night Live Band...Anton picks and chooses the musicians based on the style of the song. In addition to me singing on every song, I play either acoustic guitar, piano, drums or all of the above on each composition. To know that I've collectively, been able to make such a broad body of music with all of these great and legendary players, I am overcome with gratefulness. The ability to make a record like this is the most that ANY musician could ever hope for. To top it off with my musical hero becoming my producer, fan, and that is a major summit in my life and goals.

 Who would you say your main influences are?
I have SO many influences. Mike Peters of The Alarm was quite-likely my biggest influence. When I recieved my first "real" drum from the school band the first thing I played to were my sister's "Red" and "Blue" albums by The Beatles. When we started playing nightclubs, we didn't have enough original songs to play all night, so we would play a set of Beatles & Rolling Stones music every night. I also love James Taylor, Jim Croce, Cheap Trick, KISS was my first concert and major influence, and before KISS would be Neil Diamond. My mother had an old beat-up Chevy with an 8-track player in it. She loved to go to the beach, which was an hour away from home. We had two 8-track tapes to our name. One was The Guess Who, and we would crank "American Woman" on the way to the beach, while the other was Neil Diamond, which Mom would play on the way back to mellow everyone out. While my sisters drifted off to sleep, I swam through the words and melodies. I believe that I became a songwriter as a result of those drives home from the beach. I also love Joe Strummer of The Clash and Ray Davies of The Kinks...As a matter of fact, I was playing a 'Story-Teller's' concert at a venue on Hollywood Boulevard in L.A. back in November, and I ended my show with The Kinks song "Celluloid Heroes", one of my all-time favourites. Ironically, Ray Davies just released a record of him singing some of his past songs as duets with other singers. The second song on the record is "Celluloid Heores" that Ray performs with Jon Bon Jovi. My producer, Anton Fig, is the drummer on the record. I would love to have a conversation with Ray some day, and sing an acoustic version of that song with him.

Joe Silva
A lot of your songs seem to be autobiographical, is it hard to be so open as a songwriter?
Well, being autobiographical makes it easier for me to write the songs, considering that the sentiment is true and real, which gives me the ability to know when the feeling of the song matches that which resides in the soul. What can get odd is realizing that others are being let in to my most intimate feelings.

Have you any plans to return to the UK to promote the album?
Absolutely. I look forward to returning and building a larger following there. I would love to play some of the larger festivals that happen in the U.K. (hint, if anyone has an in for me, I'm all ears!), and I look forward to a push on radio there.

How challenging is it for an artist trying to tour in the current economic climate?
It is very tough, not only because fuel prices are higher and most other costs have risen (hotels, food, and the promotion efforts that need to back it all), but musicians, typically, have less money coming in from music sales today because of piracy. The cost of touring is why I am currently telling musical stories around the world in an acoustic manner at first. In a way, I believe that the core of the song comes out when presented acoustically. It is good that folks connect with the core. Once more people catch onto my music, I will be able to perform in larger venues and bring larger bands.

How have you found being a solo artist without the band to play off?
It is a different world, but I do like the new challenge. I absolutely LOVE getting the energy out with The Threats, and I am not ruling out some spot reunions in the future, but for now I am where I need to be. I did write the songs for The Threats, so the process hasn't changed all that much for me.

Does it feel odd being on stage behind a guitar rather than sitting behind the drums?
Yes. I guess that one can say that there is a bit of protection behind the drums, and not much protection behind an acoustic guitar. I do feel vunerable in that way, but also in that the acoustic is not my first instrument. Drums were, and I am most confident behind a set of drums (above everything else I do in life). The acoustic for me is a simple bed of chords on which to lay my lyrics and vocal melodies. I present my songs in quite a barren nature, so aside from being physically exposed, I am also sonically exposed, which makes me work all that much harder toward the goal of writing great songs.
Live at The Gathering 2012

How have you found The Alarm fans have taken to you over the years?
Alarm fans are among the best in the world. We were all cut from the same cloth...all gravitating toward a music that gives hope and healing. If Alarm fans write music, it very-well may sound like mine, and vice-versa. What I LOVE about Alarm fans is that they are very personable, and many have remained friends with me over the years...

How did you enjoy this years Gathering?
I absolutely loved the weekend...The Alarm, The Fans, The Setting...the new friends that I've made is what I take back, to The States and what lasts over the course of time.

What are your stand out memories of the weekend at Prestatyn, care to share any stories?
Experiencing Wales with my wife, Kim, was a plus. The first time I went to Wales was G11 and I made the journey alone. I was extremely happy that Kim could join me at this Gathering that I would play at. We had a very fun afternoon when we happened upon a pub in town on Saturday. A bunch of guys from Dublin had gathered and were playing acoustic and singing around several tables. Kim and I sat off to the side while they carried on brilliantly. We noticed they were wearing Gathering wristbands. I got up to use the men's room, and Kim got up to tell the Dubliners that I was playing at The Gathering that night.The one that was playing guitar came into the men's room to meet me and to bring me back to the group to play some music, which I did. I know that I needed to leave the pub to prepare for the concert, but did stay for one more pint as the folks from Dublin were too fun to leave...more new friends! Of course, both Alarm shows were stand-out memories for me...every time!

Why do you think Mike Peters has been a constant advocate for you and your music?
I have told him many times that I can't believe how consistently nice and supportive he is to me. I am not sure why he supports me like he does. I do hope that he truly likes my music. I'd like to think that he sees my genuine love for the music and respect for all. I've also told Mike that he is to me what John Lennon was to him...For me, earning Mike's respect is achieving one of my highest musical dreams.

How do you view the challenges of being a solo artist in this day and age?
Too much fragmentation. People can get their music from SO many outlets that it is difficult to know which to target for airplay. It is also difficult to understand which mediums advertising dollars should be allocated to, again due to fragmentation. Piracy is the biggest challenge. It is hard to eat and survive if we don't get paid for our recordings. Another challenge is the playing field getting cluttered by folks who may not even be musicians, but rather put together some musical sound-bites on a computer and release them as a song.

Have download sites such as I-Tunes helped in distributing music internationally or are the returns they pay an artist too low?
I'm not sure yet, but I'll be able to get back to you soon. We just released my first single ("Blue") on I-Tunes. I believe that I-Tunes pays more than the cut a major record company would give the artist.

Tom Robinson put his albums out for free download in protest at the returns I-Tunes paid, what are your views on this?
I couldn't afford to do that. Too much money and effort has gone into the recording of this record, and I believe that there is a lot of value in the product. People will find a song that will touch them and will somehow help them in their life... I hear that from folks at every show. There is a high value in that. Again I'm
not aware of the details of Tom Robinson's protest, so I can't comment in detail.

What are the best ways fans can support you?
Simply spreading the word around about me...downloading the single, and if they like it, to play it for and recommend me to their friends...Sign up for my mailing list at

What can we expect next from you?
More exposure of my songs, and a tour.

What is the one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask you...and what would your answer be?
There would be two questions.....
Question #1:
If you could play drums with anyone, who would you play for?
I would love to play for Paul McCartney. I would also love to play with The Alarm, if Smiley (who is great!) couldn't make a gig or two, I'd love to be fill-in drummer (I'd sing all of the harmonies as well!)

Question #2:
What is the most important thing that you could say to your fans?
Believe in a spiritual being. Experiences become exponentially larger and more rich.

Any last words?
Thank you SO much to everyone who has supported me in the past, and to everyone who has recently lent me their ears and time. I hope that our musical relationship evolves into friendship. Thank you Rob & Joff for this interview and allowing me the pleasure of speaking to your audience...

BUY Joe's single "Blue" via I-Tunes (USA) here 

Visit Joe's Website HERE

                                                   Joe Silva live at The Gathering 20

Friday, 17 February 2012

Big Country Confirmed For Cropredy

Where's Cropredy?
Big Country have been confirmed as Special Guests at this years Cropredy Festival. The dates are Thursday 9th August through to Saturday 11th August with Big Country appearing on Saturday taking to the stage at 17.30 and playing till 19.00.

Cropredy is hosted by Fairport Convention who will open the Festival with an acoustic set and then close it as the last act on Saturday. Other acts of note include Squeeze, Saw Doctors, Richard Thompson, Joan Armatrading and Bellowhead.

Tickets for the weekend are priced at an early bird offer price of £100 but will go up after the 31st of May by £5.


Meet The Fans - Meet Us!

We thought it would be good to answer the same questions that we have been asking you in our Meet The Fans features. These are our answers Rob & Joff!

Name Joff
Name Rob

Age Joff - 44
Age Rob - 43

Occupation - Joff -Fraud Officer
Occupation - Rob - Retail Manager

Where Are You From? Joff - Portsmouth
Where Are You From? Rob - Herts

How did you get into The Alarm? Joff - I saw them supporting The Police at Wembley on the Police Sychronisity tour. They were amazing, I went to Woolworth the next day to buy my first Alarm record "Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?" 7"

Rob - Fairly recently actually. I was always aware of The Alarm but mainly only through tracks like 68 Guns. Joff got me a ticket for the London gig on the "Sound And The Fury" tour last year but then bidded on the "One Night Only" auction for the Cambridge show and won! I ended up going to that show too and was blown away, it was a touch surreal seeing one of your friends on stage but a fantastic night!

What is your favourite song by The Alarm? Joff - "The Rock" and their cover of "One Guitar".

Rob - I am terrible at narrowing down choices, in fact I love lists but I will try and be good and go for "The Drunk And The Disorderly".

What is your favourite album by The Alarm? Joff - "Change" (Original) and "Under Attack" (New)

Rob - Of the early albums it's a toss up between "Declaration" and "Strength" but the later stuff probably "Under Attack" as well.

What is your best Alarm memory? Joff - Becoming a member of the band and performing "Love Hope And Strength" with them at Cambridge last year.

Rob - For me it was the same gig, meeting the band backstage and being impressed with how friendly and genuine they were. Then seeing my best friend on stage and how he really gave it the big one was priceless! It was also nice meeting Andy (Merch / Photography) and Katrina (LHS) at this show.

First Alarm gig? Joff - Supporting The Police in 1983

Rob - Cambridge 2011 on the "Sound And The Fury" tour.

What was the first record you ever bought? Joff - "Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie

Rob - "Destroyer" by Kiss

What other bands or artists do you like? Joff - Gary Numan, The Cure, Echo And The Bunnymen, Marc Almond, Archive, Marillion, Killing Joke, David Bowie, T.Rex, Depeche Mode,The Cramps and The Waterboys.

Rob - The list is endless...Marillion, Gazpacho, Amplifier, Gary Numan, Frank Zappa, Porcupine Tree, Grateful Dead but I'm a big classic rock fan who also is equally at home listening to Dead Kennedys or Miles Davis!

What is your favourite film? Joff - "Friday 13th", "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Pulp Fiction".

Rob - "Blazing Saddles"

What is your favourite TV show? Joff - "The Big Bang Theory", "Modern Family" and "Sherlock".

Rob - Current TV definitely "The Big Bang Theory" but I love the classic BBC comedies such as "Porridge" and "Dad's Army".

What is your favourite book? Joff- "Prayer For The Unborn" by Steve Malins

Rob - It's hard to give you just one book, I love Michael Connolly especially the Bosch books. John Grisham I enjoy. "Prestige" by Christopher Priest (if you have seen the film but not read the book trust me you need to read it!). I have read loads of Stephen King but not a lot of his recent books. For me "The Stand" and "It" are probably my favourites.

Any last words? Joff - Free Rock N Roll!

Rob - Thanks for your support, I hope that you will continue enjoying the site.

Theatre Of Hate Announce Anniversary Show

Todays big announcement from Kirk Brandon is a one off 30th Anniversary "Westworld" concert which will be held on Thursday 10th May at the O2 Islington Academy in London. The line up for this show will be Kirk Brandon, John Lennard, Stan Stammers, Adrian Portas, Mike Kelly and of course the one and only Craig Adams! Tickets are due to go on sale on Monday 20th February but there is a pre-sell to fans going through and are priced at £17.50.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Big Country - "Chance" Live at Norwich 13th February 2012

This brilliant recording came from Mark Heybourne and was filmed from the heart of the crowd when Big Country played the UEA Norwich this week.

In Marks' own words this is his attempt to be "Mikey" Cam as Mike sings "Chance" starting in the middle of a very happy audience before re-joining the band on stage.

 Many thanks to Mark for capturing this great moment and for allowing us to share it with you!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Big Country - The Crossing Deluxe Edition Review

"The sound made pictures. It spread out wide landscapes. Great dramas were played out under it's turbulent skies. There was a romance and reality, truth and dare. People being people, no heroes just you and me, like it always is."

Many many words have been written about Big Country's timeless debut album "The Crossing" which was first released in 1983. I would even go as far as saying it is an album that, in one form or another, probably graces most of our collections already so is there really any more to say about it? Well other than to say that this remaster sounds warm and fuller than the previous one then the answer is probably no!

There are some strange omissions like the absence of non album single "Wonderland" (included of the previous version) and also not to include the 12" mixes as a bonus especially the brilliant extended mix of "Fields Of Fire". We do get some additions over the previous release including a live rendition of the Smokey Robinson classic "Tracks Of My Tears" but the main interest for fans will be disc 2 which is rammed with demos and rarities.

The frustrating thing is the lack of information on the sleeve about what you are actually listening to. The Amazon listing supplies some illumination stating there are demos recorded by John Brandt and mixes by Chris Thomas and we have included this information on our post regarding the release of this album. The first 3 tracks ("Angle Park", "Harvest Home" and "We Could Laugh") would appear to be Portastudio recordings made by Bruce and Stuart and despite the quality warning on the sleeve it is only really on "Harvest Home" that you notice it.

So do the demos really matter? Well they won't change your opinion of "The Crossing" but they do provide a tantalising glimpse into the development and progression of the band and the songs building up to the albums release. We have extended and shortened versions as well as tempo changes to the finalised songs, "The Storm" for instance clocks in at a mere 2 minutes rather than the eventual 6! "Angle Park" is missing the "Love Will Tear Us Apart" guitar melody and "In A Big Country" is without it's drum intro. We have a few different versions of "Lost Patrol","Inwards", "1000 Stars" and "Fields Of Fire" the latter is represented by a demo version and an early BBC live appearance. The demo is noticeably lacking the vitality of the finished classic and also the famous yell of "Fire"!!! The John Brandt demo of "Lost Patrol" is extended and opens with a brilliant celtic rock guitar part that would have done Eric Bell proud in the early Thin Lizzy!

So do you need this second disc? Well to be quite honest that depends on how you define need, as a bonus it is a great piece of history and will be of interest to all fans but it shouldn't be your sole reason for purchasing this edition. However as you will want the remastered version of "The Crossing" then it's a welcome addition to your collection.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Stan Stammers Confirmed For The Westworld Weekend

Kirk Brandon confirmed today that Stan Stammers will be joining him on stage for "the first time in nearly 20 years" at the Westworld Weekend which is being held in Crewe on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th of May.

Saturday night will "pay homage" to the 30th anniversary of  Theatre Of Hates' classic "Westworld" album.

Tickets for the weekend are a VERY reasonable £35 but are sure to be in high demand so make sure you get yours asap from HERE!

Another announcement is due next Friday so we will keep you updated on that. In the meantime you can catch Spear Of Destiny on the road with Stiff Little Fingers as we have previously posted.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Mike Peters Confirmed For The Acoustic Festival Of Britain

Mike has confirmed that he will be appearing at the Acoustic Festival Of Britain on Saturday 26th May. The festival runs across the weekend starting on Friday 25th and ending on the 27th which is of course the Sunday. The main headliner of the festival is Joan Armatrading but amongst the acts likely to stand out to Alarm fans are Glenn Tilbrook, Ian McNabb and Danny Bowes & Ben Matthews of Thunder fame.

The festival will also be supporting Love Hope Strength so look out for the lovely volunteers and say hello!

Tickets and further info can be found HERE

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Meet The Fans - Nigel Adams

Nigel Adams (and friends!)
Name - Nigel Adams

Age 45

Occupation - Self Employed Gardener

Where are you from? Gateshead

How did you get into The Alarm? I went to see Stiff Little Fingers and they were the support act.

What is your favourite song by The Alarm? "Knife Edge"

What is your favourite album by The Alarm? "Declaration"

What is your best Alarm memory? Meeting the band at a gig in Middlesbrough in 1985.

First Alarm gig? The Stiff Little Fingers gig mentioned above.

What was the first record you ever bought? (Wasn't answered....maybe it's a guilty pleasure or a deep dark secret!)

What other bands or artists do you like? The Jam, Madness.

What is your favourite film? Swordfish

What is your favourite TV show? Mrs Browns Boys

What is your favourite book? The Beano Annual!

Any last words? Free Rock And Roll!

Would you like to be featured on Meet The Fans? Simply send in your answers to the above questions to Don't forget to include a photo!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Will Peters Interview (The Absolute Worst / Vinyl)

Will Peters has a few things that connect him to The Alarm, firstly with his band The Absolute Worst he played this years Gathering, secondly he appears in the upcoming film "Vinyl" and lastly he happens to be the nephew of one Mike Peters!  We asked Will if he would like to chat with us about all three of these things and luckily for us he was more than willing!

Photo by Chloe Harris
How did you enjoy The Gathering 20? I love The Gathering, I've been going since I was young when it was at Venue Cymru. I think it's a great event and it's amazing to see after the years of success The Alarm had their fans are still loyal and can still come and experience new things. The band loved playing, it was such a great atmosphere and the turn out was great, we decided to play half our own songs and a few classics as we knew not everyone would be into all our own songs. It was great to see people listening and dancing to our music as that's what we love to do.

How did The Absolute Worst get invited to play at The Gathering 20? Well, I got in touch with the event manager and sent him a demo tape of a few of our songs and showed him a few videos from youtube and he liked us and thought our cover of "My Generation" was great and asked us to play.

You are offering free downloads of some of your songs via the bands Facebook page, how important do you think the web is to bands that are starting out? I think the web is a vital part of a band nowadays, it gives you endless promoting possibilities and gives you the chance to contact promoters and venues from all around the U.K. It also gives you the chance of showing your talent to the world which no other platform has the ability to. I think without the internet there wouldn't be as many new bands coming up and all the music would be manufactured by management agencies and record labels.

Photo by Chloe Harris
Does having an uncle in the business help? Definitely, he's experienced it all from a young age and knows how the business runs, if I need help or advice he will always be there to help me. I don't want people to think we've got where we are though because of my connections, Mike will always be there for me when I need him but we've got where we are by myself and the band, we work hard promoting all our events and organising them and giving the crowd the best gig we can give.

What can you tell us about the film "Vinyl"? I played the character Will in the film and was the bassist in "The Single Shots". I can't tell you much about the film but I can't wait for it to be released!

Photo by Chloe Harris
How did you come to be involved in the film? I saw friends talking about going to an audition for a film on Facebook, I was being nosey and asked what it was for, what's it about and stuff, generally just chatting about it. It was an open audition and I thought it's not everyday you can say to someone "yeah I was in a film" so I took a chance and went to the audition. I'd never really acted before and had never played bass, I got the audition and Sara (the Casting Director) said she loved me and I looked like a bassist. So when she asked me what instruments do I play I obviously said bass! She then said there was a band next door and if I wanted I could go play "Free Rock And Roll" with them, I didn't have a clue and had just started to play guitar. I gave it a go and just copied the other guy! Ha! I then blagged my way through the rest of the audition and somehow got the part.
Photo by Chloe Harris

If push comes to shove - music or acting? Music - 100%. It's my passion and my hobby, I'd love to tour with my band and the experience would just be amazing.

What's next for you and the band? We're just going to carry on gigging wherever we can, carry on writing new songs and hopefully get some money together and record an EP, we're also looking at doing some more gigs outside of North Wales and hopefully getting a few support slots around the U.K.

Anything you would like to add? I'd just like to thank everyone who's supported myself and the band so far, it means a lot to us all and it really is appreciated! If you haven't please check us out at where you can get regular updates about what we're doing, what gigs we have coming up and even book us for a gig if you want!

Thanks a lot for reading!

Will Peters

Meet The Fans - Maryrose Romero

Name - Maryrose Romero
Maryrose Romero

Age - 42

Occupation - Online Trader

Where Are You From? - Manila, Philippines

How did you get into The Alarm? It started when I was a teen, we listen and dance to your music in an afternoon party.

What is your favourite song by The Alarm? "Absolute Reality", "Rescue Me" and "Rain In The Summertime".

What is your favourite album by The Alarm? "Eye Of The Hurricane"

What is your best Alarm memory? Oh, too sad to say I haven't seen them in the flesh...

First Alarm gig? See previous answer

What was the first record you ever bought? "Eye Of The Hurricane" by The Alarm and "Across The Kitchen Table" by Pale Fountains

What other bands or artists do you like? Colourfields, The Cure, The Smiths, Pale Fountains, Wild Swans, Echo And The Bunnymen, New Order, Joy Division, Gene Loves Jezebel, Lotus Eaters, Jimmy Jimmy, Seona Dancing...and many many more!

What is your favourite film? "Schindlers List", "Pretty In Pink", "Full Metal Jacket", "Reality Bites" and many more.

What is your favourite TV show? Oprah

What is your favourite book? "Schindlers List"

Any last words? First of all thank you so much for this wish I have is to see The Alarm in the flesh....I hope you guys can visit the philippines one day...can you pls sign my record? hehe...big hug

Would you like to be featured on Meet The Fans? Simply send in your answers to the above questions to Don't forget to include a photo!

Love Hope Strength Events

Photo Courtesy of M.P.O.

For those of you who want to get involved and do your bit to support the Love Hope Strength Foundation there are a series of upcoming walks and gigs.

AVEBURY ROCKS II starts things off on Saturday 7th July and is either a 20 mile or 6 mile walk (depending on how brave you are!) with an evening gig featuring Mike Peters, Nick Harper and Rising Swan with a headline act to be announced. Last years event raised over £30,000!

SNOWDON ROCKS VI is on the 19th August and will feature a summit performance by Mike (Weather permitting of course!) In the 5 years this event has run it has so far raised over £170,000 for cancer services and projects.

BEN NEVIS ROCKS takes place on Saturday 25th August and is the first time this event has been run with a climb up Britain's highest mountain but will be limited to 200 places and will be physically challenging. There will be an evening concert at the Nevis Centre featuring Mike Peters and guests. (Ticket info for this concert will be announced soon).

Registration is £20 for each walk individually and you are asked to raise further money through individual sponsorship (there is a suggested donation of £50 sponsorship in addition to the registration fee for the Avebury walk). Walkers are asked to wear an item of green clothing on all walks to symbolise the fight against cancer. Registration and Sponsorship forms can be found on the LOVE HOPE STRENGTH FOUNDATION site along with further details about these and other projects.

Click banner to go to the LHS site

Meet The Fans - Sara Diana Williams

Sara Diana Williams (Photo Pending!)
Name - Sara Diana Williams, otherwise known as Sara Diana or SDW

Age - Not Saying! LOL

Occupation - Carer, but previously a dog groomer with my own business.

Where are you from? Wrexham, North Wales

How did you get into The Alarm? My boyfriend at the time was into The Jam, U2 and The Alarm, his bedroom was covered with Alarm stuff. I listened to the albums and thought they were ok but then we ended up going to a gig in Liverpool and they totally blew me away! Mike owned the stage, I felt like the fans connected with him, he was special.

What is your favourite song by The Alarm? I am a big fan of the older albums and can give you a list as long as my arm of songs I love but I would say my fave song is "Without A Fight" because it sums up my life and how I live it, and jointly "Fight Back" because that song gives me the strength to tackle my treatment and tests.

What is your favourite album by The Alarm? Can't say really because I love them all for their different qualities, the album I didn't like though was "Raw".

What is your best Alarm memory? Wow!, Where do I begin? I have so many of them and they are all priceless. When I was going on maternity leave with my second son Harry, my colleagues/friends and I went to Central Station to see Mike play. At half time my friend sort of pushed me towards the merch stand and unbeknown to me pointed me out to Jules. She then ushered me towards Mike and we met...that meant the world to me. Also, when the Queen came to Wrexham, I got my mum to babysit the boys and headed down there...not to see the Queen or any of the other was to see Mike perform for the local radio! I felt a right idiot cos I was the only one standing there but Mark Reynolds grabbed me and got me to stand with Mike and Jules for a photo!

First Alarm gig? I can't remember the exact date except it was Liverpool, Royal Court and would have been around 1984 or 85.

What was the first record you ever bought? My brothers and I clubbed our pocket money together and bought the "Funky Gibbon" by The Goodies.

What other bands or artists do you like? The only band who have moved me like The Alarm did are Killing For Company, now Victoria Station. All the guys in the band really connect with their fans and their performance is always heart felt. Other than that...The Damned, Ramones, The Fall, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Spear Of Destiny, Stranglers, Pogues, Wedding Present, Pigeon Detectives, Vaccines, The Strokes.

What is your favourite film? I have a few..."My Dog Skip", "Greyfriars Bobby" (are you getting the link there? lol) and "Dirty Dancing".

What is your favourite TV show? Casualty

What is your favourite book? Again, I have a few..."My Dog Skip", ""Greyfriars Bobby", "Black Beauty", "War Horse".

Any last words? Mike and his music has always been something I have connected with. His music struck a chord with me back in the day when I was a misunderstood goth punk and it still does now as a middle aged housewife and mum. His music inspires me and injects me with the strength to tackle anything life throws at me. As a person Mike is amazing and inspirational and definitely my mentor.

Would you like to be featured on Meet The Fans? Simply send in your answers to the above questions to Don't forget to include a photo!

The Gathering 21 Tickets go on sale!

Barely has the dust settled (along with plenty of snow!) on The Gathering 20 now the early birds out there can secure their spot at next years The Gathering 21 as tickets are now on sale from The Alarm Store. The three day event runs across the 25th, 26th and 27th of January 2013 and is of course being held at Prestatyn, North Wales.

Various different packages are available including child tickets so head across to the shop and secure your place at next years ultimate Alarm event!


Now let the rumours start on the line up of special guests!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Meet The Fans - Doug Watson

Name - Doug Watson
Doug Watson

Age 49

Occupation - Retail

Where are you from? I live outside of  Glasgow in a place called Morningside, Wishaw

How did you get into The Alarm? I Stumbled onto them one night when I went to see a certain up and coming Irish band called U2 at the Lyceum Ballroom in London.

What is your favourite song by The Alarm? It's a hard question to answer and I'll be a bit cheeky by naming a couple! With the original line up I'd probably say it's a toss up between "Howling Wind" and "One Step Closer To Home" (with "Howling Wind" just grabbing the top spot by an inch or two.) With the line up that has been on the go since 2000 I love "Few And Far Between" from "Under Attack" and I'm quite partial to "Higher Call"  and "Milk And Opportunity" both on the "Direct Action" album, but the one song that was part of the Bond series, that I wish they would officially release, because it is a brilliant song is "In The Beauty Of My Surroundings".

What is your favourite album by The Alarm? "Declaration" (Original Line Up) and "Direct Action" (Current)

What is your best Alarm memory? Probably seeing them live for the first time back in 81 with U2 or it would be easy to say the night I became a member of The Alarm for One Night Only (25th May 2011) in Glasgow.

First Alarm gig? As mentioned above, the U2 show.

What was the first record you ever bought? First was Big Brother & The Holding Company (Featuring Janis Joplin) "Cheap Thrills" album way back in 1972 (nine years old). First single would have been a Slade, "Coz I Luv You" in 1971.

What other bands or artists do you like? I have a very wide range of musical tastes and so it's always hard to say who I like that best. I'll go with Bruce Springsteen, Otis Redding, Slade, The Clash, The Godfathers and Aztec Camera (and I could name a lot more than that!)

What is your favourite film? I don't really go to the movies much these days but I'd say one of my fave films is a French movie titled "Diva".

What is your favourite TV show? At this present moment it's "Fringe".

What is your favourite book? "The Bible" and probably "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac.

Any last words? As in what do I want on my gravestone?...Being a fan of The Alarm has enriched my life in so many ways, the main one being that I've been able to build some great relationships with people from different countries and various walks of life. We may have differing likes and dislikes but the one bond that has held us together is the music of The Alarm. I count many, if not all, of those relationships to be very special. It's a great community to be a part of.

Would you like to be featured on Meet The Fans? Simply send in your answers to the above questions to Don't forget to include a photo!

Live At The Gathering 2011 Review

It seems that you can count on a release of the previous years Gathering on DVD as certain as you can be sure that Xmas will fall on the 25th of December yet every year they seem to keep on getting better and better! "Live At The Gathering 2011" is no exception and contains the whole Saturday set plus highlights of the acoustic show spread across 2 DVD's and 2 CD's - a veritable feast for fans!

The first surprise is the decision to to open with "Blaze Of Glory", a track traditionally placed near the end of a gig as a crowd pleasing sing-a-long. The Gathering soon starts rocking as the band head straight into "Absolute Reality" followed by some fast and furious numbers including "Direct Action" which is a personal highlight. Mike announces "Deeside" as a song not included in the set for sometime but it fits very nicely in this one!

Mike disappears before popping up in the middle of the crowd to perform some acoustic numbers including Declarations "Shout To The Devil". Another triumphant Gathering performance is topped off with former Pistol Glen Matlock joining the band for a run through of "Pretty Vacant" (a sight that was repeated in London on the "Sound And The Fury" Tour in 2011).

All in all this is another superb performance which provides a brilliant document of the Gathering of 2001 for both  those that were there and also those that weren't! The only thing that could be improved for future live releases would be an investment in some HD camera equipment or rental to improve the sometimes fuzzy visuals. This doesn't cloud what is an essential purchase which does well at capturing a fraction of the enjoyment and atmosphere that the Gathering offers.


Set List

Blaze Of Glory
Absolute Reality
Release The Pressure
Alarm Calling
Unsafe Building
Direct Action
My Town
Without A Fight
21st Century
Shout To The Devil
For Freedom
One Step Closer To Home
Right Back Where I Started From
The Drunk & The Disorderly
45 RPM
Spirit Of '76
Rescue Me
The Stand
Marching On
Where Were You Hiding?
Sixty Eight Guns
Fade In Fade Out Fade Away
One Guitar
Pretty Vacant (With Glen Matlock)
Rockin' In The Freeworld

Unplugged Set

Sold Me Down The River
Rain In The Summertime
High On The Hill
Unbreak The Promise
Love Hope Strength

The Trailer to the movie VINYL

The Trailer for the movie 'Vinyl' which is loosely based on The Alarm's 
release of '45rpm'.
The movie contains a cameo of Mike, Jules and the boys.. 

Other Great Performances filmed by Joff at The Gathering 20


Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Gathering 20 - Opening Speech

This is Mike's welcome address at the start of The Gathering 20, he not only gives an overview of this years events but also confirms the bands new album will be called "Vinyl". It will most likely be out in the Spring/Summer to coincide with the release of the film of the same name and will be supported by a tour from The Alarm.