Death & Mortality: Mike Peters

You’ve beaten cancer twice in the past twenty years. How has all that changed you?

Both diagnoses were very heavy and I was staring down the barrel. In 1995 I was only given a sixty-per-cent chance of living, but came through it. You become very aware of how precious life is and how short a time span we actually have. It does make you very aware of enjoying what you have while you’ve got it.

Did it bring an added dimension to the thirtieth-anniversary shows for The Alarm’s Declaration?

What I tried to do with Declaration was bring it forward to now, so I decided to treat the whole album as a set of new songs and re-record them as a reflection of who I am today. It gave it a clarity that enabled the fans to look at the past and see the future in it. And celebrate it without the distraction of time.

What about fronting Big Country on last year’s The Journey?

It was an honour to sing for Stuart Adamson, who was a great friend of mine. I’ve had to come back to health to stay alive as a musician and a father, and a lot of inspiration came from hearing Stuart sing ‘stay alive’ on the song In A Big Country. Those words were massive to me when I was in hospital having chemotherapy. I’ll always be grateful for that inspiration.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.