July 09, 2008
The Alarm's Can-Do Spirit of '76

Hit single "Rain in the Summertime" notwithstanding, the Alarm's best music has always been its most energetic, so it comes as no surprise that they have tapped into their punk roots to inform the just-released Guerilla Tactics, the band's first studio album in two years. And spend just a few minutes speaking to the band's cheerful frontman, and its sole remaining original member, Mike Peters, and it becomes apparent very quickly where that energy derives: This is a man who pretty much single-handledly kept his 30-year-old band in business while battling leukemia into remission and taking his music, and charitable efforts, to new heights (hello, Everest!).

"When the '90s came along and we were all blown out of the water by Nirvana -- we've survived that and come through that," Peters says in exclusive interview. "I'm really excited -- and I think that the fans are, too -- that despite all the lineup changes and this, that and the other, you can still talk about the Alarm in the present day, in the present tense."

We spoke to Peters via phone just prior to yesterday's joyful busking session in New York's Times Square to promote Guerilla Tactics. "It's an extension of the freedom that the Internet gives you as an artist now," Peters says of the stunt. "'Yeah, I'm just going to turn up in the street in Times Square with a guitar and play and invite the audience down there and we'll do something' . . . and you put something a couple of days out on the Internet . . . I think there's something nice about it being fairly impromptu and informal, that it's a chance for people to see another side of what you do."

After the jump, check out select audio excerpts of our interview with Peters, in which he discusses how the new album came together, how the Internet is leveling the playing field for artists, what's next for the Alarm and how he's progressing with his health.

Mike Peters talks his approach to the Alarm's new Guerilla Tactics


Peters on how the advent of the Internet is helping bands like the Alarm:


Peters talks getting Guerilla Tactics mixer Gilby Clarke back in action, and his future plans for him and the band: