The Alarm returns to rock 'colonies'

By ERIC SCHELKOPF - eschelkopf@nwnewsgroup.com

Musician Mike Peters knows about the healing power of music.

After battling back from a second bout of cancer, the frontman for ’80s band The Alarm climbed up Mount Everest to perform the song “Love Hope And Strength,” featured on the band’s new album, “Guerilla Tactics.” Fittingly, Peters has also formed a cancer foundation called “Love Hope Strength.”

Peters talked about the state of his health and the band’s new album in a recent interview. The Alarm will perform today at Chicago’s Cubby Bear as part of the “Rockin’ The Colonies” tour. The tour also features The Fixx and The English Beat.

So I see you are on the “Rockin’ The Colonies” tour again.

It was really well received last summer. So the idea was to do it again, but play some other places we didn’t get to on the last tour. It was going to be with The Psychedelic Furs again this year, but they couldn’t go on the road or commit to it, so The English Beat came in to fill their shoes. I’m looking forward to playing with them, because we played with them back in 1982 in the early days of the band. They were great to us. They are like old friends, really.

What made you want to climb Mount Everest?

When I was being treated for leukemia in 2006, I could see the highest mountain in England and Wales from the hospital room. It became a symbol for me to get well. More and more people are beating cancer. Hopefully, what we are doing is raising a bit of awareness.

So was that an amazing feeling performing on the top of Mount Everest?

Of course it was, as well as having people with me like Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze and Slim Jim Phantom from The Stray Cats. People really embraced us. The mountains themselves embraced us, and we were blessed with the best weather the Himalayas had for a long time. We had beautiful weather to climb in, and we were surrounded with incredible views.

What kind of goals did you have for “Guerilla Tactics”?

It was a continuation of some of the themes on the last record, “Under Attack.” The last album was recorded when I didn’t realize I was ill. There were certain subconscious forces telling me I was ill, but I didn’t hear them through these songs. I was wondering, “Why do I want to call the album, ‘Under Attack’? Why do I have a song called ‘I’ll Never Give It Up Without a Fight’? These were the words that were coming out while I was writing the songs. It was my subconscious telling me that I was probably seriously ill and didn’t realize it.

What’s kept The Alarm going over the years?

I think we can hold our own with any band in the world. We can still outgun any young band on the street.