by AC Weekly Staff

Ring, Ring! The Alarm Is Back.

Welsh rock group the Alarm, perhaps known best for its amazing live shows and run of anthemic ’80s hits (“68 Guns,” “Spirit of ’76”), has just kicked-off a U.S. tour (at the House of Blues Friday night, July 11) with the Fixx and the English Beat. Mike Peters (second from left), who has led the Alarm since 1977, is stoked about the band’s new album, Guerilla Tactics, a follow-up to the band’s 2006 effort Under Attack. Just before that album’s release, Peters was diagnosed with Leukemia. He has since been declared in remission after ongoing chemo treatments. He says the battle has given him a new perspective on everything, including his songwriting. “I was very lucky to come through it,” says Peters, adding that his new focus has been on “everything that’s precious [in life]. And that really affects your writing.”

The new songs took Peters back to the early days of punk rock when the Alarm first formed. There are big guitars, rocka beats and a lot of Clash influence heard in new songs like “Rat Trap” and “Right Now.” Peters happily reverted back to his early punk roots for the record. “You become protective of the things that are yours or define you as a person,” he says. “And that’s what you fight for in life or through your music — to sustain the elements in life that have made you who you are.” The current Alarm line-up features Peters along with James Stevenson (Gen X) , Craig Adams (Sisters of Mercy) and Steve Grantley (Stiff Little Fingers). With a great batch of punchy, retro-ish tunes, the Alarm is ready to rock America again.

— Jeff Schwachter