False Alarm: The Hoax That Saved Mike Peters' Career And The Movie It Inspired!

The Alarm aka the Poppyfields release "45 RPM"!

For The Alarm, a.k.a. Wales' answer to U2, the 1980's were a fruitful time that saw the band go from playing its first gigs in wayward English watering holes after relocating to London to headlining their own UK tours and playing to hundreds of thousands of fans at major rock festivals throughout Europe.

And then the '90s hit and bands once hailed as "socially conscious" quickly fell out of favor as Nirvana and Pearl Jam redefined alt. rock for a new generation of rock fan.

That was the world in which Mike Peters found himself at the turn of the century.

L to R: Nigel Twist, Mike Peters, Dave Sharp, Eddie MacDonald

His band, The Alarm, had come charging out of Wales like a four-man battalion, making their presence known on both sides of the Atlantic with the defiant anthems "The Stand" and "68 Guns", followed by the release of two critically-lauded albums, Declaration and Strength.

A brief dalliance with synths and drum machines yielded their last U.S. hit ("Rain In The Summertime"), followed by two albums (1989's Change and 1991's Raw) that sought to return the band to relevance in a quickly changing alt-rock landscape that was now beholden to grunge.

Reading the writing on the wall, Peters quit the band live onstage during a gig at London's Brixton Academy and walked off into the sunset while his band, and the audience, stood their with jaws agape.

Ten years later, Peters mounted an exhaustive overhaul of the band's back catalog, re-releasing the band's albums in expanded and remastered editions that succeeded admirably in reigniting interest in the band. Unfortunately for Peters, the rest of the band did not share his enthusiasm for getting the band back together so he put an entirely new band together, christened them The Alarm MM++ (Roman numerals for the year of the band's formation), and began touring virtually non-stop once again.

Encouraged by the success of the reissues, Peters immediately set about recording new material only to encounter a quite astonishing amount of resistance from within the industry by those who felt Peters was "too old" to be relevant.

And thus, in 2004, the impetus for Peter's cleverly-perpetrated hoax upon an entire country's music industry was born.

Fittingly, it began with a performance video from a new band called the Poppyfields for a song called "45 RPM". To lend credibility to the idea that this was an entirely new song by an entirely new band, Peters enlisted younger musicians to appear in the clip. Members of a local Rhyl, Wales band the Wayriders, adorned in typical '90s punk regalia, were enlisted and a rock video was filmed.

The song and video were both greeted positively by the press and rock fans, sending "45 RPM" in the UK Top 30, at which point Mike Peters revealed the truth on BBC Radio 1's weekly countdown show. A revised version of the song's video was released, featuring the appearance of Peters and the rest of the real band.

The whole experience would later become the inspiration for Sara Sugarman's critically-adored 2013 film "Vinyl" (not to be confused with the HBO series of the same name), starring Phil Daniels in a loose approximation of Mike Peters.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

No comments:

Post a Comment