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5 Albums I Can't Live Without

5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Mike Peters of The Alarm

(Credit: Stuart Ling)

Name Mike Peters, MBE

Best known for  Big hair in the ‘80s—and more recently for saving lives one concert at a time through our Love Hope Strength Foundation

Current city Dyserth, North Wales.

Really want to be in I would love to be back in Los Angeles on the beach and running up and down the boardwalk between Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Having the chance to play a show while I was there would be a bonus!

Excited about The new Coloursound album with Billy Duffy, and The Alarm recently released a new album entitled WAЯ that was written, recorded and released in 50 days, starting on the night the capital building was being occupied on Jan. 6. It was released on my birthday, Feb. 25, just as the last fader was moved on the mixing desk, we put it straight onto the Internet and also released it physically on LP and CD (don’t ask me how…but we did). I even hand-painted all the record sleeves myself. I can’t wait to play it live anyway, anyhow, anywhere.

My current music collection has a lot of Glam rock, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Jam, Joy Division, Manic Street Preachers, Catfish and The Bottlemen, Buzzcocks, Idles, The Who, Waterboys, John Lennon, David Bowie.

And a little bit of Disco, Public Image, Bee Gees, Michael Jackson.

Don’t judge me for The Clash Cut the Crap (bad…but not as bad as people think).

Preferred format Vinyl — I find that I can still hold conversations when listening to vinyl music. With digital, I always feel distracted like I’m decoding the audio signal or something. I hate Alexa more, even though we have one in the house. It’s useful for the news, but the music re-production drives me crazy.



5 Albums I Can’t Live Without


The Who


5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Mike Peters of The Alarm


It has everything, great songs, fantastic musicians playing the music, immense singing from Roger Daltrey. You can sense the tension of Pete Townshend not being able to sing his own words in the guitar playing (which is phenomenal, especially on the title song). You get a story and four characters that always reveal something new with every read or listen. A timeless cover and huge book of photos to illuminate the drama. The mod clothes still look cool and I particularly love hearing the sound effects in between the songs. It’s like an ode to nature, as well as being the best record ever made.



New York Dolls
New York Dolls


5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Mike Peters of The Alarm


I first saw the New York Dolls on the BBC’s old grey whistle test show on Nov. 27, 1973. It was incredible to hear Jet Boy with Johnny Thunders and David Johansen blasting out of the TV (well, when I say blasting…I mean as loud as you could get a TV set to play in 1973). They did “blast out” in the way that they looked, and the attitude came through loud and clear. I just had to have the record and asked my dad to buy it for me for Christmas. When he went to the record shop to get it and saw the cover, he nearly had a heart attack. He was so embarrassed walking home with the record still on show through the clear plastic bag. He knew his son was lost to rock and roll right there and then.



The Clash
The Clash


5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Mike Peters of The Alarm


Still as vital today as when I first put the needle of my record player down on Side One. You had to buy albums on faith back in 1977. If you had the nerve, you could ask the guy in the record store to play a track, but back then they were usually hippies and obsessed with only playing Tubular Bells or Pink Floyd, definitely not The Clash. I’d already seen the Sex Pistols in October ‘76 and then came The Clash pictured in black and white on the cover of the NME. They looked so cool and liberated. I knew they would sound as good as they looked also. I bought the record the day it came it out, complete with the red sticker (that you had to send to the NME in return for a Capital Radio EP. I’ll never forget the feeling that came over me when “Janie Jones” filled my life and imagination. I saw them at the Electric Circus in Manchester a month later and they were as good live as on record. I got to meet them in the toilet before they went on stage and when I asked Joe Strummer what “White Riot” was about, he said, “the future.”



The Balance
Catfish and the Bottlemen


5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Mike Peters of The Alarm


I loved the sound of Catfish and the Bottlemen from the very first moment I heard the song “Kathleen” from their debut album on the radio in the USA. I’ve now seen them live in concert twice, and you know there’s something special going on when you have all their records in your LP collection. The Balance is their third album and they have carved out a truly distinctive style of play that belongs to them, and them alone. I love the lyrics and could easily take any one of their three albums with me, but The Balance wins out on this occasion. They remind me of U2 (not musically), in the sense that they get better with each record and I believe there is a truly great record yet to come from them. I’m a musical child of the ’70s—Bowie, T-Rex, The Clash and The Pistols—but Catfish are right up there with all of them, speaking of and for their own generation.



Slade Alive!


5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Mike Peters of The Alarm


You have to have one live album to take with you, just so you can be reminded of what it’s like to attend a live concert. Apart from (still), being the best-sounding live record ever made, Slade Alive! was almost the first LP record I ever bought. When I went to the record shop to buy the album in 1973, I picked up the sleeve from the rack and flipped it over to see what was on the back. I noticed that the song titles had names in brackets printed after them like this: “Hear Me Calling” (Alvin Lee), and “Born to Be Wild” (Mars Bonfire). In my innocence, I thought this meant that there were other artists on the record as well as Slade and this totally put me off. Instead, I bought Aladdin Sane by David Bowie. When I got the record home and devoured the sleeve notes, I noticed there was a track called “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” and it too had the same thing as Slade Alive!—names in brackets—(Jagger, Richards). When I started spinning Side Two, I heard Bowie sing the song (not the Rolling Stones), and realized that the names in brackets were those of the songwriters. I went straight back to the shop and bought Slade Alive!, and with it, a dream to become one of those people who had their names in brackets on the record sleeve. This record, more than any other, fired my ambition to become, not just a member of a band, but a songwriter. Play it loud.