Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Mission store reopens!

The Mission store has reopened and at long last Craig's excellent solo album "Demon King" is available to purchase online!

There is also some new merchandise, items from the anniversary tour, and a few end of range clearance bargains.

Check out the link and get your new Eskimo threads!  http://www.mamstore.co.uk/TheMission

Killing Joke issue a statement as Jaz Coleman goes awol

Killing Joke have issued a statement regarding the upcoming tour with The Mission & The Cult. The band issued the statement via their Facebook page in which they also say they are concerned about the welfare of the missing Jaz Coleman.
Killing Joke @ The Roundhouse photo by Joff

The statement reads....

"A statement was posted on Facebook, reputedly by our singer, maligning both The Cult and The Mission and pulling us out of the shows.
He is now AWOL and has not contacted any of his band mates.

We are deeply embarrassed by this and offer our sincere apologies to all involved.

We are concerned about our missing singer's welfare.

Killing Joke made a collective decision to play with The Cult and The Mission in September.

It was agreed by all of the band that we would do these shows. Indeed, we thought that they were somrthing to look forward to, even though they were downsized.

We would still like to honour our commitment to this tour, the other bands, and all the Gatherers and people who have already bought tickets and made travel arrangements.

If this proves not possible, Killing Joke will make alternative arrangements to compensate for the trouble caused.

Meanwhile we are doing everything we can to make this tour happen and locate our missing singer"

Friday, 27 July 2012

Killing Joke pull out of Cult/Mission tour?

It would appear that Killing Joke have pulled out of the triple bill tour with The Cult and The Mission. No official reason has been given as of yet but the bands Facebook page states....

"We'll make an official announcement clearing up any questions around the Cult tour very soon. Apologies for messing you guys around - you know that's never our intention, and we appreciate the support you have all shown us over the years. Regards."

Further info as we get it!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Blood Brothers add two dates

Did you miss the Blood Brothers when they played their intimate club date in Bath earlier in the year? Well now you have a chance to see them again...IF you are lucky enough to get a ticket! The band that look amazingly like a certain other band currently out on tour...especially the bassist, will play at SOUTHAMPTON Joiners on 6th September and then NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social on the 14th. Make sure you snap up these tickets if you get a chance these will be very memorable shows!....and I can confirm The Mission don't have any gigs on these nights....funny that ;)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Dave Sharp Live Dates

Dave Sharp will be playing a few dates in August (and one at the end of July!). You can catch Dave at....

27th July The Grapes Hotel, Stoneclough, MANCHESTER

2nd August The Retreat LEDBURY
12th August The Brecon Fringe, The Market Tavern, BRECON (Note : this is an all dayer with Dave on stage at 6pm approx)
15th August The Market Bar, INVERNESS

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Spear Of Destiny Dates

After looking at some ticket sites it would seem that Spear Of Destiny will be playing on selected dates on the Stiff Little Fingers tour in November and not all. The ones we can confirm are....


9th - Pyramid & Parr Hall WARRINGTON
10th - Holfirth Picturedrome HOLMFIRTH
15th - The Empire MIDDLESBROUGH
23rd - Sub89 READING
24th - Pyramids Centre - PORTSMOUTH

For all other dates check out the SLF site and if anything changes we will let you know!

Big Country Absolute Session posted online

Photo by Marc Broussely - Many Thanks!
Absolute radio have posted a 3 track acoustic session on their site which was recorded back stage at Hard Rock Calling last weekend. The band play "Fields Of Fire", "Chance" and "In A Big Country". You can listen to the session and see photos from the performance at http://www.absoluteradio.co.uk/player/Big-Country/9828/Live-session.html (expires 16th Jan 2013)

Nigel Twist Interview

One thing that never fails to surprise me is how nice some people are when we approach them to be interviewed. This was the case with "Twist", as well as James and the others who agreed to give up their time in order to answer our questions. For Twist we deliberately made the questions non linear with the intention of structuring them into a more chronological order when we posted the end result. However, I really like the way we originally did it and so have decided to leave it in that order. All photos used are from Nigel's Facebook page and I will gladly add any acknowledgements of the individual photographers if they contact us but for now I will assume the rights are Nigel's. Many thanks to Nigel (and all our interviewees past and future!) it means so much to us.

In 1996 you reunited with Dave and Eddie but nothing came of it. How serious was it and why didn't it happen?

I think it was just bad timing. We had all grown in different directions and the only base we had was the original Alarm platform. At the time, Dave didn't want to take the same path and in hindsight, it probably would have been a bad idea to pursue it any further.

What is your fondest Alarm memory?

This has to be when we were travelling in the USA and heard that '68 Guns had hit the charts. We flew back just to record TOTP and flew back the next day to continue the tour.

What is your favourite Alarm album? Do you still listen to them or is it hard to listen to yourself?

Good question : I don't really have a favourite, though I really enjoyed recording "Eye of the Hurricane" and "Change". I never really liked listening to the music after I'd recorded it, except when it was played on TV or Radio. I did put on a vinyl "Declaration" the other day and was shocked at how professional it sounded! It's great to hear tracks like "Shout to the Devil" after all this time. The sound of the spears against shields in the background are in fact me hitting drum cases!

Do you still drive like Twisted Nige?

I do, as my wife will attest.

You had some high profile support slots with artists such as U2, The Police and Queen, do you think this should have lead to bigger success for The Alarm in the UK?

You always hope for bigger success. The music industry is a fickle mistress and everything has to be just right. Unfortunately, we hit a few potholes along the way and lost momentum. There's no specific reason or blame to be apportioned, we held on to the balloon as long as we could, but lost our grip. I could sit here analysing the reasons why for days but I won't.

Why didn't you continue The Alarm without Mike?

We tried. After Mike left the band in Brixton, we took a hiatus. Eddie did a lot of hard work auditioning singers, we did find someone and it was our intention to continue without Mike, but I think at the end of the day we realised that it felt wrong. The Alarm was always the sum of its parts. Dave and I had known each other from the age of 5 and Eddie & Mike played soccer together on the streets of Rhyl. There was much more to the bond that held us together than we ever really understood. I think trying to continue without Mike and dilute the band would have been wrong for all sorts of reasons.

Have you ever listened to any of The Alarm albums since Mike re-activated using the name?

I have heard a few tracks. They are all exceptional players from exceptional bands and songs are good. It's hard to critique because I'm approaching it from a different perspective than most people would so I'll leave it at that.

When VH-1 approached you to participate in the Bands Reunited show you agreed immediately. Was there ever any doubt in your mind?

No doubt. It was the right time to do something and apart from that, I was really looking forward to seeing everyone again. I thought it was sad that a lot of the bands that were asked to do the show never came through. It's a disservice to all the fans who supported them over the years. It was an opportunity to put ego's and differences to one side and really enjoy the reasons you formed a band in the first place - the fans and the music.

After Bands Reunited was there any expectations to do more shows, did any promoters show an interest?

I think it was talked about but nothing ever came of it. Everyone had their own commitments and it would have been difficult to participate at that time.

Would the odd one off show interest you now such as reuniting for The Gathering?

We have talked about putting the band back together on several occasions but timing and commitments have always got in the way. I'm sure it will happen some day, though we'd have to discuss whether or not The Gathering would be the appropriate setting for an Alarm reunion show.

You have recently dusted off your gold discs, why did you not already have them on display?

I used to have them on display but after moving I never got around to putting them back up and they're silver, not gold.

Do you still get recognised in the street?

No, I'm kind of low key and like the anonymity, not to say I haven't had the occasional "Twist!" shouted from someone in the audience of a show I've attended.

You auditioned for various acts when you first settled in the States without much success, were these on a session basis and would you like to name names?

I auditioned with Andy Summers from The Police when he was putting together a band in L.A. I was also talking with Pearl Jam, The Cult and Sheryl Crow for "Tuesday Night Music Club" but nothing ever worked out. I think ultimately I wasn't 100% committed because after my marriage dissolved I wanted to be close to my daughter while she was growing up which was much more important to me. With Summers, The Cult and Sheryl Crow, it would have been a recording and touring commitment. I never got to find out what the Pearl Jam gig would have been because the slot was filled before I even auditioned.

Does it surprise you that only Dave and Mike continued to pursue a career in music?

Not at all, they're both very talented singer/songwriters with a lot of ambition and drive.

Do you think The Alarm had run it's course at the time of the split or in hindsight with a break and better communication would the four of you still be together now?

That's hard to answer, your view is always 20/20 in hindsight. Who's to know what would have happened, I can say this though. If we had been more open, generous, honest and humble we might have survived to this day.

Are you still working for the Public Defenders Office?

Yes, for the last 16 years!

What is your typical day?

I spend a lot of time drinking coffee and eating doughnuts (just kidding!) I mostly talk to witnesses and victims of crime, review crime scenes and evidence. It's not a desk job which I like a lot! It's also very satisfying when you know that the work you are doing has a lasting impact on people's lives and liberty. My work involves searching for the truth and helping indigent people in a time of great need. A lot like the music industry!

Do you still get to play much?

I play every Thursday with a group of guitar players. I wanted to get my guitar chops up and a guitar is a lot easier to haul round than a drum kit. We play 60's & 70's covers on acoustics, I have a 1953 Gibson LD1. I also put together an electric band for my office's Christmas party called "Guilty As Charged". We play full blown covers like Folsom Prison Blues, I Fought The Law and Evil Ways, we played at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. It's a venue we never played as The Alarm but it's beautiful and has great acoustics.

Would you ever think about forming a band now as a side project given the easier direct access to fans that the internet has given?

I've thought about it but I've also thought who the hell would be interested in anything I have to play or say! But seriously, I've been working with some very talented songwriters and we have a studio in SF where things have been happening. You'll be the first to know if something materializes!

What bands or artists are you currently listening to?

Karl Wallinger from World Party was in town recently, we met up and he gave me his new release "Arkeolgy", it's a 4 disc set so I'm ploughing through that right now. Buy it!

Do you ever regret leaving the music industry?

I think Hunter S. Thompson can answer that for me: "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." I think that's a misquote but there is some truth in there. I do miss a lot of things about the business, it's a great way to connect with people and make them feel good. When everything is working well, it's the best job in the world. I'm glad I left it healthy and young enough to appreciate the things I achieved. I know it's always going to be there and I can always step back in whenever I like so I don't really think of it as "leaving" the industry, rather a heck of a long hiatus!

If you could work with any musician, living or dead, who would it be?

I'd love to have played with the Traveling Wilbury's, and I wouldn't turn my nose up at playing with The Who. There are many artists I would have loved to work with. The thing that turns me on the most is a great songwriter. When you're playing a great song, nothing else matters, not the vocals, bass, drums or guitar because the song is the star.

How much contact do you have now with Eddie, Mike and Dave?

Eddie and his wife came over to stay a couple of years ago, I've seen and played with Mike a couple of times here in the city and I've Skyped with Dave, so I guess we still all have quite a bit of contact.

What was the first album you ever bought?

"Tommy" by The Who

What are your favourite albums of all time?

Who's Next, Tommy, Exile On Main Street, Dark Side Of The Moon, Back In Black, Burn, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Dylan etc. etc. etc. etc.

What drummers, if any, inspired you?

I was Keith Moon's biggest fan, I used to carry around a photo of him. Though now I love the style of drummers like Jim Keltner, Manu Katche and Omar Hakim.

What are your memories of recording the "Raw" album?

To be honest, not very pleasant ones. My stepfather had committed suicide that year, the band were in turmoil. Everyone was pushing each other to get the most out of the music. It was the most disconnected album we made and it shone through in the music. I think we were all trying so hard to make it sound good it suffered as a result. It has some of our finest and worst moments ever recorded.

What are your memories of recording the "Change" album?
 Was it important to release the Welsh "Newid" version given the lyrical content of the album?

It was a privilege to record with Tony Visconti, we recorded in an amazing studio in a warehouse on the banks of the Thames in London. I remember Tony having Mike sing "Sold Me" live on a mic on the roof of the building. It gave the track a really fresh feeling. Probably one of the most enjoyable sessions in the bands career. Mike's decision to release a Welsh version of the album was purely from a personal perspective and more important to him than the rest of the band.

What are your memories of recording the "Eye Of The Hurricane" album?

This was the first time we'd worked in a residential studio (Linford Manor), John Porter was a great producer to work with. It was nice to be able to work late and not worry about getting to the studio in the morning because it was downstairs! This was my second foray into computer based recording. I wrote the bass and drums for "Rain" on a Atari computer using one of the first sequencer software programs (Pro24), we added real-time drum overdubs later in the mix. The recording room was an old ballroom and had some amazing acoustics, you can hear them all over the tracks. This album had some of our finest songs on it and most of our biggest hits so we did something right!

Was there an expectation for it in the States after the success the band had with the "Spirit Of '86" broadcast?

I'd say yes.

What are your memories of recording the "Strength" album?

Wow, you're really making me think now, I never thought I'd have to dig this deep into the memory banks for an interview! Strength was another fun adventure and recorded smack bang in the middle of London. Well, I do remember there being a gym close to the studio where I went to workout every day before we started. The album produced tracks that defined the band and it's sound, One Step, Strength, Spirit, Walk Forever and Knife Edge were all classics that stood the test of time and translated from clubs to stadiums with ease. Of course I can't comment on this album without giving my respects RIP to Nigel Luby, a great engineer and friend who worked on this album with us. I thought Mike Howlett did a great job producing the album but I think we lost a lot of power in the mixes. This was the first time we'd used an SSL desk which was renowned for it's thin e.q.and that translated into the mixes.

What are your memories of recording the "Declaration" album?

First album, very excited, cool studio smack in the middle of Soho. It was a real learning curve and Alan Shacklock bought a lot to the table. I think it was ultimately over produced for who and what we were at the time; though it helped us tremendously in achieving radio recognition and ultimately 68 & Blaze, two standards of The Alarm. Good Earth was a great studio with great vibes, owned by Tony Visconti. I remember May Pang showing us 8mm movies Tony had made of his sessions with T-Rex.

Seventeen, The Toilets, Alarm Alarm...were these necessary steps for the band to find it's feet as The Alarm?

Of course they were, without those three bands there would be no Alarm.

Do you have a favourite Alarm song?

I have many faves and can't really pin down "A" favourite but if I have to, I'd say Rain, Blaze, One Step, are my top three.

Is there any track you wish you really hadn't recorded?

There are many songs I disliked and for many different reasons, but that's just how it works. You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs!

When did you first feel that The Alarm had really made it?

Getting on stage at LA Sports Arena for the beginning of the U2 War Tour.

How did you feel when you went out on your first headline tour?

Final acknowledgement of hard work. Probably the best time of my life.

How often are you contacted by Alarm fans now?

I have a Facebook page, so I'm in contact quite frequently.

What was your favourite Alarm tour?

Loved them all, to some degree!

What is the one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask you...and what would your answer be?

Question: What are edible tuber, fragmented and subsequently immersed in a seething emollient fluid and transmogrified into brittle morsels of an amber hue?

Answer: Chips.

What is the strangest request you have ever had from a fan?

To marry them.

Vinyl, CD or MP3?

Vinyl of course, but we all have to live with CD's & MP3's.

Are there any lost gems in The Alarm archives that you would like to see released?

Somewhere, I'm sure, better ask Mike on that one, he has everything we ever did on tape. Though I do have a box in storage full of cassettes with all sorts of demo's & out-takes on them.

What is the last album that you purchased?

"101 Strings, the sound of Henry Mancini" from a garage sale.

Any last words?

I'd like to thank every single fan of the band who has ever seen us or bought a record, we couldn't have done it without you!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Spear Of Destiny to support Stiff Little Fingers

It was a fan favourite bill when they did it before so it's great news to see both bands repeating the success and going back on the road this November. It is unclear at the moment if SoD will be on the entire tour or just selected dates so until we can confirm this check out the dates on the SLF site.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Chester date added to the Red Poppy Tour

Mike has added a date to the Red Poppy acoustic tour and will be playing at Telford's Warehouse in CHESTER on 20th November 2012.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Joe Silva - "Blue" Review

You might remember the interview we did with Joe Silva a few months back or you may have been lucky enough to catch him at this years Gathering and now his much anticipated album "Blue" hits the virtual shelves so to speak!

So currently the digital age gets a jump start over the physical disc which will appear later and you can download "Blue" from I-Tunes from whichever side of the Atlantic you are. SO the big question you are bound to be asking is...."is it worth my money"? My honest answer (after playing this back to back about five times today) is yes!

I had a few preconceptions before I bought "Blue" based on the interview we had done earlier in the year and was expecting Joe to wear his influences firmly on his sleeve and some of those do come through like his love of The Beatles and especially George Harrison ("Out Of The Rain" shows this most clearly and could even be from Harrison's "Cloud 9" era). The one real comparison that I kept making though was just how reminiscent of latter day Tom Petty this feels which to me is no bad thing but may be doing Joe a massive injustice as he is no imitator.

The album opens with the title track "Blue" which features some great instrumentation with the guitar keeping steady allowing the other instruments to "dance" all around each other.

The previously mentioned "Out Of The Rain" follows and is a great track that to me could have been from the "Cloud 9" sessions albeit without the Jeff Lynne production job! For those of you that haven't read our interview with Joe "Blue" was produced by drumming legend Anton Fig and recorded at the famed SUN studio in Memphis by the way!

"Break The Chain" features a wonderful piano line that weaves in and out of the vocal, flowing as if it is caught on an unseen breeze.

"Didn't Mean It Like That" is a moving break up song (the lyrical theme for a lot of the album) that would be or SHOULD be a perfect fit for radio...how much do I wish I could get a job on commercial radio as a programmer?!

"We Had It All" is piano driven with hints of themes from "Let It Be" and when the keys join in maybe even elements of "Whiter Shade Of Pale" and this is the track where I began to realise that many tracks end before they feel they have reached their full potential. Maybe others will agree with the less is more approach however I would love to hear more exploration in some of the tracks.

"Walk Away" features drums very much to the fore (remember Joe made his name as the drummer and singing in The Threats) which despite being really tight they do distract from what else is going on. Never the less you will be singing along with the chorus by the time the last refrain comes. Even on the first listen I was singing this!

"Coldest Day Of The Year" features another great lyric ("the coldest day of the year came in June this year") exploring the break up of a relationship once more with some great steel guitar work (if my ears don't deceive me).

"Should You Realise" features a great Sax line but honestly mostly past me by.

"Where You Are" is a simple guitar and drum based track that starts with a nice echo laden vocal and soon becomes another great one to sing along to.

That leads us to the album closers "I Do" which again features some great lyrics and finishes on a much more positive theme despite being the shortest track on the album. I love the opening line "You walked into my room, you undressed my doubt", one of many great moments on "Blue".

I get the feeling that "Blue" will be an album that keeps giving as the melodies and lyrics grow more familiar with every listen but it is great from word go! Joe is getting some good exposure and hopefully if enough of us go out of our way to buy this and support him then we may see some live dates on these shores.

BUY IT NOW ON I-TUNES UK http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/blue/id543666130
or USA http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/blue/id543666130

Friday, 6 July 2012

M Fest Cancelled

Hopefully everyone has seen this by now but if there is a small chance that someone hasn't who is going to M Fest in Leeds this weekend.....IT'S OFF!

The statement on the M Fest site reads...

"It is with our deepest regret that due to the adverse weather conditions leading up to this event in conjunction with the extreme weather warning as issued by the Met Office for the weekend, we were left with no other decision than to abandon this weekends MFEST."

Details on how to obtain a refund with be announced on Monday 9th July.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Red Poppy Tour Dates...Official!

As expected we have official confirmation of the Mike Peters solo "Red Poppy Tour" dates. It is 30 years since The Alarm adopted the red poppy hence the tour title!

Those dates now confirmed are...

July 4th - Maxwells, NEW JERSEY, USA
July 8th - M Fest LEEDS
July 27th - Access All Eirias COLWYN BAY

August 19th - Snowdon WALES (LHS Event)
August 25th - Ben Nevis SCOTLAND (LHS Event)

October 19th - Gassienda KEIGHLEY
October 20th - The Waterside SALE

November 2nd - Korks OTLEY
November 7th - O2 Academy BIRMINGHAM
November 8th - Flowerpot DERBY
November 9th - O2 Academy OXFORD
November 10th - Thunderbolt BRISTOL
November 11th - Cavern EXETER
November 13th - Duchess YORK
November 15th - O2 Academy LIVERPOOL
November 16th - O2 Academy SHEFFIELD
November 17th - Marrs Bar WORCESTER
November 23rd - O2 Academy 2 LONDON
November 25th - The Cluny NEWCASTLE

More dates still to be announced ! We will be at Snowdon and London and hope to bring you some photos and video of those....remember you can still sponsor us for the Snowdon trek in aid of Love Hope Strength on our Just Giving page... http://www.justgiving.com/inthepoppyfields

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Mike Peters Red Poppy Tour Dates

I expect we will have full details tomorrow but a quick search of ticket agencies reveal some solo dates from Mike titled "The Red Poppy Tour". We will bring you the official news after the announcement but from what we know so far the dates will be...

20th October Waterside Arts Centre MANCHESTER
7th November O2 Academy BIRMINGHAM
9th November O2 Academy OXFORD
15th November O2 Academy LIVERPOOL
16th November O2 Academy SHEFFIELD
25th November Cluny 2 NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

As you can see this is by no means exhaustive and a quick search in London shows that Mike will be performing at the O2 Academy 2 ISLINGTON on 23rd of November so there may be more to come! Tickets go on sale tomorrow so check the Alarm official site early!

Spear Of Destiny July dates

I know we have posted most of these before but as they are rapidly approaching there is still time to get your last minute tickets!