“Are you ready for what’s next,” asks Mike Peters, frontman of THE ALARM, “the second greatest rock and roll band in the world” (Bono, U2) in his brand-new song “Next,” the video for which premieres today via BrooklynVegan. “Words cannot express the joy of leaving the hospital after a long stay on the wards, especially when it means you have regained your health,” he says, referring to the previous year of hospital visits, chemo treatments, and life-threatening pneumonia brought on by the relapse of his leukemia, which was initially diagnosed in 2005.
While the single may signal that he’s newly energized from a healthy prognosis and ready to return to what he loves best – recording and performing – the fact is that Peters never stopped doing either of those things. Writing new music and performing it live to the hospital staff while undergoing medical procedures to keep his cancer in check, Peters wrote “Next” with his trusty acoustic guitar and an IV stuck in his arm.
“The lyrics of the song were conceived while I was being treated for a leukemia relapse and a lung that had filled with blood,” Peter explains. “The outcome was uncertain, but the medical and nursing staff did all they could to keep me going and, in fact, were probably the first people to hear what I was working up musically while they did their life-saving work. It wasn’t planned, but once the realization hit me that I would be in the hospital for a long time, I knew I needed my guitar to break the monotony of the isolation. Being able to play music to myself kept me going, and I’m convinced that it helped me make the transition back to life.”
As a reminder of what he went through and what he leaves behind, Peters filmed the new video in hospital corridors, a familiar sight in the last year especially. “I wanted to film something that captured the elation of knowing you are going home, moving on, going forwards ready for what lies ahead, for what’s next,” he says. “At night and in between IV sessions, I would walk the very same empty hospital corridors of the North Wales Cancer Centre, trying to preserve whatever human strength I could hang on to.”
The first order of business post-hospital was The Alarm’s triumphant return to the stage with the sold-out annual event The Gathering, which had been suspended in recent years due to the pandemic. More than 1,500 fans attended The Gathering. “People traveled from Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, USA, Australia, all over Europe and from various parts of the United Kingdom,” reports The North Wales Pioneer Newspaper. "The weekend has been the ultimate tonic for me. I’m back. The future has opened wide again for me,” Peters told the newspaper.
The Alarm has been steered for over 40 creative years by Mike Peters. With 23 studio albums, over five million albums sold, and 17 Top 50 UK singles, Peters and The Alarm have created quite a sizable and dedicated fanbase that spans decades and continents.
Reflecting on the past year and the promise of new music and live shows (the band plays two shows at New York City’s Gramercy Theater in June 2023), Peters adds, “I literally focused my entire being on being able to walk out of the hospital on my own two feet and not in a wheelchair or with assistance. It’s what kept me positive and determined to regain a complete recovery."
“Next” is now available to stream and for purchase on all DSPs.