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The Alarm

I made a pleasant discovery a couple of days ago — a two-dvd set from Mike Peters, the old frontman and founding member of the Alarm. Apparently recorded on the twentieth anniversary of the band’s formation, it’s Mike telling the story of the band from start to finish, with a nifty slideshow and thirty six! songs performed solo acoustic.

Yeah, I know — if you remember the Alarm at all, it’s because of their faux Bob Dylan western outfits, their forty foot hair, and the video of “68 Guns.” Their music might be a little dated, it’s true, but I learned how to play guitar from their first two albums. They showed me that acoustic music can be punk as shit, say something real, and have heart, all at once.

Also, they remind me of the bond I had with an old friend, and the music we played together. That friend and I have ideological differences that I think keep us from being too close these days, but we still keep in touch, and I still credit him with shaping much of my musical creative style. We played a lot of Alarm covers those days. When I see Mike Peters waxing nostalgic about his old band, I can’t help thinking about it all!

Those were days filled with righteous idealism and fierce hope — the definition of youth, I think. It’s important to carry that through our whole lives!

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  • Frederick

    I came across your website and this post via google as I have been searching for YEARS for this DVD. I was there at UCLA so its a very sentimental concert for me. I am 44 years old now. I have been trying to get my hands on this DVD to purchase for years and I can not find it. I have contacted the alarm.com website about it and they never respond.

    I think it is out of print and you have one of the few copies in the USA. Would you consider letting me borrow a copy of the DVD. I can rip it off DVD or let you put it on my drop box if you can rip it. I live close to you.

    I am not into piracy and would be willing to pay you, or send a check to Mike Peters. I just dont know of any other way to get a copy. If you know where I could buy the DVD, I will buy it.

    I can give you my name, address, drivers license, collateral or whatever you needed to let me borrow it for a couple of hours to make a copy. I am in Orange County, California.

    Thanks in advance for your consideration. I seriously have been looking forever.

    • A
      Matthew Selznick

      Hi Frederick — thanks for your comment! It’s a pleasant surprise to get comments on a decade-old blog post!

      As for the DVD… it sounds like you’re talking about The Spirit of ’86 concert DVD (I was there, too…). I don’t have that.

      The DVD set I’m referring to is The Story of the Alarm, an acoustic concert and presentation from Mike Peters. It’s still readily available from the Alarm’s website or from Amazon.com.

      Sorry I couldn’t help you with The Spirit of ’86! If you can work with a VHS copy, it looks like there are a couple on eBay as I write this, though.

      Good luck!

  • anonymous

    i assume you guys have all found http://www.thealarm.com by now??
    or at least http://www.100welshheroes.com 🙂
    if not, come on and join, it’s great.
    all are welcome

  • i remember because of that self righteousness i was allowed to listen to it. remember the years of the mormon music nazis? where i lost a human league LP because “hard times in the past” just had to be referring to a hard on . . .
    i just hid the alarm behind a christian mask . . . for about a year i had nothing but them, U2 (pre-90s), and big country to listen to.

    did you know that stuart adomson courted the mormon church? i met one of the missionaries who taught he and his family, ultimately he didn’t commit, but i think it affected his music, i can see a lot of the joseph smith mythos in some of the later songs.

    the letter from mike was brief, but reall, and smelled like biro. lord what a hilight that was, i’d almost forgotten. but since there’s been johnette napolitano, and john doe, and henry rollins . . . easy to forget the nuances of the 80’s.

  • mwsmedia

    You’ve got a letter from Mike Peters???

    Funny you should say “full of ourselves.” I was wondering why I can only really listen to the Alarm every so often, and when I do, I gorge myself on them and then I’m fine for, like, a year or so.

    I think it’s because of the self-righteousness. It comes across just a little on those DVDs — like Peters is taking full responsibility, in a way, for the whole band — he even intros one song by paraphrasing the freakin’ Beatles: “It was twenty years ago today / Mikey Peters taught the band to play..!”

    I mean, come on…

    The Christianity aspect of it gets on my nerves, too…

    Man, see how fickle I am? I’m back to listening to Son Volt.

    Oh yeah … go to the Borders in Vegas or Henderson… if they don’t have the Dvd, they can order it easily enough…

  • i hang my 12″ on the wall now.
    keep my letter from mike peters in a frame.
    and search for any mp3 i can find of them.
    with no guilt at all, i paid for each release at least once.
    mike peters comes here occasionally (who doesn’t)
    but i haven’t seen him
    now just the opening bars of the songs make me weep
    remembering that time we were all so full of ourselves and so full of naive hope . . .

    gotta find those DVDs

  • cjmarsicano

    “Come damn close to meeting your maker, get so ill you can barely stand…”

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist! 🙂

  • mwsmedia

    Oh, you bet! I still have that one, also the original EP (“The Alarm”, “Declaration,” and a bunch of 12″s… I was there when they did their free “Spirit of ’86” concert at UCLA.

    Saw them at the old Fender’s Ballroom here in LA, too — as I recall, the Cruzados opened for them (former members of the Plugz, a great LA area punk band.) I’m pretty sure that slam pit was where I caught mono — a lot of strange sweat flying around in the air!

    I was down for a month, after that. Worth it, though!

  • cjmarsicano

    The first I remember of the Alarm was “The Stand”. I still have that first 12″ of theirs.

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