CHINNERS: Hello Mike thank you so much for giving up some of your time to speak to us at Mudkiss
MIKE: Hello Dave, it's always a pleasure
CHINNERS: You’re currently on Tour with Los Mondo Bongo how’s the tour going so far?
MIKE: We are all on a sleeper tour coach travelling together and having great fun, we toured the
CHINNERS: How did the idea of the band first come about?
MIKE: Steve "Smiley" Barnard was always a big Alarm fan and his favourite song was 'Marching On', he kept contacting me asking to join the Alarm when Steve (Grantly) was away with Stiff Little Fingers. One Day he said that they were wanting to put something together with some of the Mescaleros and would I like to be part of it. As a big fan of Joe's music I jumped at the chance and Smiley was secretly really pleased to be able to play in a band with me.
CHINNERS: What do you think Joe Strummer would have thought of Los Mondo Bongo?
MIKE: I would like to think he would have been really pleased with what we are doing, the songs he did with the Mescaleros were recorded quickly as they never had a lot of money for recording. I wish I could have been there and helped finished them off in the studio properly. We try and play the songs as they should be played. I never got to see Joe play with the Mescaleros for one reason or another which is a shame.
Mike is then distracted by some live footage of The Jam playing on one of the large TV screens
MIKE: I was at that gig I think it was in 1982, The Clash played there as well. I saw Paul Weller live recently and was really disappointed with his performance.
CHINNERS: After this tour are they any more plans to record with Los Mondo Bongo or play any more Live shows?
MIKE: I am looking at doing something with Los Mondo Bongo at next years Alarm Gathering which would be great. This years Gathering was at its new home of Prestatyn, it was really great and I have lots of new ideas for 2011. Steve "Smiley" Barnard is coming out on the road as Drummer for the Alarm on the 'Break the Pressure' tour in April as Steve (Grantly) is off to
CHINNERS: When can we expect to see the next Alarm album?
MIKE: It’s out in April (with that Mike got out his iPhone and showed me the front cover of the album). I’m really excited about getting out on tour and playing these new songs live, all the tracks on the album will be played live. There are 7 brand new songs that you have never heard before and a few re-workings of songs that you may recognize and it is called..................... 'Direct Action'. The track listing is: Direct Action, Badge Of Honour, Freedom, Loaded, One Guitar, Control, Change III, Plastic Carrier Bags, Milk And Opportunity, Badge Of Honour, Release The Pressure, [What About] The Man On The Street and After The Rock 'n' Roll Is Gone.
CHINNERS: The song 'One Guitar' was played at the Gathering this year, how did that come about?
MIKE: It was a song which was written by American singer/song writer Willie Nile who has performed with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band. I picked up the song and loved it on the first listen. I think it could be the new 'Rockin' in the Freeworld'. At the Gathering I decided to play it without telling the rest of the band, I appeared at the back of the hall with my acoustic guitar, I started the Woody Guthrie speech and the band expected me to start 'Rescue Me' and I went into 'One Guitar', the band looked a bit confused. It was a great moment.
CHINNERS: I can see it in your eyes that you are really excited about the album coming out.
MIKE: Yes I am, I have written and recorded a lot of it at home and as all the guys in The Alarm live quite far away from me, I use two young guys who live close to me to put down the bass and drums and when I think it's right I get the rest of the guys to come up and play on the record.
I have to go and sound check now thanks for coming down today.
SOUNDCHECK 'COOL N' OUT'CHINNERS: Thanks so much, your time is really appreciate.
Interview/photos/video by Chinners 25/03/10