41 Questions For Nigel Twist

Do you have a favorite Alarm song? How about a favorite Mike Peters or Dave Sharp solo song?
Favorite Alarm song:
I have many, but I like “Rain” , “Sold Me” & “We are the light” Twist & Sharp song: “Drive these blues away”, Peters song: I haven’t heard the album yet.

Do you still listen you your Alarm albums, or do you find it difficult to do so?
I haven’t listened to an Alarm album in a while. The band never reached the production plateau we should have, however we came close with “Change” and “Eye of the Hurricane.” Listening to our albums is like opening a photo album & seeing all the memories come flooding back (the bitter taste of dissapointment). (“Knife Edge”).

Was there a time when you felt The Alarm had finally “made it”?
“There was never a time that The Alarm had “made it”, it was a continous struggle from the get go. Maybe after the US tour with U2, when we should have exploded into America. But due to many factors it never happened”.

Since you were once a guitarist, would you have rather played guitar in The Alarm than drums? Do you play guitar now?
“I still putz around on the guitar but I never had any delusions about being a guitarist for The Alarm. Providing the backbone to the band was very fulfilling and I’m happy I did it, although at times it was like trying to drive a stagecoach with three crazy horses in front!”

How do you view the “Raw” album now 5 years later?
“The Raw album was a very saddening experience for me. My stepfather had just commited suicide and the atmosphere between the band members was so thick you could cut it with a knife. It felt like all we were doing was trying to make a fast buck so that everyone could leave and do their own thing. I think Mike was laying his foundation here to leave the band”.

Did you see any of the signs that Mike was planning to leave The Alarm, or did you simply consider his actions in 1990 and 1991 as “Mike being Mike”?
“I think (THE ABOVE) answers this question, everyone knew in the back of their minds it was getting sour. The band needed a break, it was unfortunate that Mike decided to make his permanent. We should have just gone on a hiatus for a couple of years and come back re-charged. I don’t think any of us individually are going to be as successful as The Alarm, but I’d love one of us to prove me wrong.”

Did you realize that last year there were rumors that you had joined the FBI?
“Nope, never heard that one, but I’m not far off, I’m a Public Defender Investigator.

Is it true that you, Eddie and Dave tried to get The Alarm back together in 1992, but IRS would not support it?
“IRS had nothing to do with a reunion in ’92. Mike called me and tried to reform the band in ’94. We didn’t want to reform just to promote solo album sales. Eddie, Dave & I played together at christmas to see where we were, it was like putting on a familiar pair of shoes”.

Do you think The Alarm still has something left to say?
“The Alarm will always have something to say, wether or not they are going to say it is another question!”
What was your band “Quasimodo” like? Was anything ever recorded (demo tapes), did anything survive the years?
Quasimodo consisted of me Dave and Glyn Crossley. We used to play ‘Who’ & ‘Zeppelin’ covers, very well I might add. I think Dave might have something on tape, however we are talking 23 years ago.

Were you in any other bands before “Seventeen” and then “The Alarm”?
Obviously, Quasimodo & The Toilets I was also in a band with Dave, Glyn and Karl Wallinger (from World Party) called “PAX”.

When you were in The Alarm, did you realize how many people you inspired with your music?
Playing to an Alarm audience was always inspiring, and I hope that the audience were inspired by the music. We had a great following around the world and it gladdened my heart that people found refuge in our music.

Can you remember any “lost” Alarm songs that were never recorded for albums or b-sides?
To be honest there were many songs that never made the grade. Mike,Dave & Eddie would come into rehearsals with ideas and as a band we would winkle out the lousy one’s. Many “sketches” were commited to tape and I’m sure that between Mike, Eddie, Dave & myself we have a few stashed in the attic.

It seemed like with the “Change” album that The Alarm were finally on there way to success, and then tragedy befell both you and Mike, and the band never recovered. What do you think would have happened if you were able to continue with the “Change” tour, and come back to America a second time?
Who knows? only the thunder?

I’ve read that Dave Sharp and Eddie MacDonald got together to write songs sometime in 1991, after Mike left the band. Do you know if there is any truth to this, and what, if anything, came out of it?
As far as I know that never happened, when Mike left the band we exploded to the far ends of the earth.

You were always the man behind the “Shades”, but you took them off for the “Strength” album jacket. Who persuaded you to do this?

Were there any “Alarm” songs written from your own perspective?
No, I never wrote lyrics (I should have tried), however every Alarm song has a big chunk of Twist influence in there.

Looking back now at the 10th anniversary, what are your feelings about the “Spirit Of ’86” show at UCLA?
That was a great day for us all, I remember being blown away by the size of the crowd . I also remember the dickwad who threw a football into my kickdrum on “Marching On.”

The Alarm went through some turmoil after the “Strength” album and tour, and then recorded “Eye Of The Hurricane”, attempting to not re-make “Strength”. What do you think would have happened if you had made another album like “Strength”?
Alarm who?

There always seemed to be tension in The Alarm between Mike and Dave. Was this just a false perception from the fans?
No, the tension was always there and it’s to be expected, two singer/songwriters each with strong personalities. But that’s what made the Alarm tick. It was the balance of ego’s and talent that made us great and guess who did the balancing.

Does/did it frustrate you when people (would) refer to The Alarm as Mike Peters’ band?
I’ve never heard anyone call the Alarm the Mike Peters band. It’s like calling The Who the “Roger Daltery Band.”

What were some of your favorite bands in the late 70’s, early 80’s. How about now?
Elvis Costello,Clash,Buzzcocks,Gary Glitter,Abba,Deep Purple,Human League,Bunnymen,U2,Big Country,Skids,Police, Oasis,The Levellers,Gin Blossoms,Bjork,Sundays,etc.etc.

How did you meet Marti Wyman? What did she have to do with the band “Babes In Toyland”?
She is the girlfriend of Jimmy Schein, he used to work for the Alarm years ago for a company called ‘Roadshow’. Marti was in a band with Kat from Babes.

At the end of the “Raw” tour, you jetted off the San Francisco to work on some musical projects (at least that’s what I’ve heard) what were they?
No musical projects, just to see my daughter & wife.

It has always seemed to me that the early Alarm songs (“Unsafe Building”, “Blaze Of Glory”,”Knife Edge”) had you doing interesting drum work, while some of the later ones plodded along at a mandatory “Alarm” pace. Is this just an illusion? Were the later songs actually harded to play?
For some reason I tried to get more mainstream and I think it works on “Rain”, “Sold Me” & “Raw”. Notwithstanding I must admit that I wasn’t getting the same vibe from the songs that I used to.

If you could have chosen the singles from your Alarm albums, what would they have been?
I think the songs that we released were the right choices for singles.

Dave Sharp claimed once that he came up with the “Western/Cavalry” outfits from the early Alarm days…is this true?
I think that everyone had their input on the western wear, it sort of grew & grew with the hairstyles. There is a subtle dividing line between punk & western attire, and we just slipped into it naturally.

What happened when you, Eddie ,and Dave got together last Christmas? Were things just TOO different?
We played together, Eddie had some new songs as did Dave. However Dave had already planned out the next two years with his Solo album so there wasn’t much we could do. It was very natural and quite magical to play together again, it’s as if Brixton was yesterday. We left it at that, in the knowledge that at any moment we could “pick up sticks” again.

Has there been a hope in the back of your mind that “The Alarm” would some day get back together again?
I don’t sit around thinking about it. I live in a beautiful part of the world, have a beautiful daughter and probably earn more than rest of the band, but there is always “little Twist” tapping on my shoulder reminding me what it’s like to count in 68 Guns in front of a packed Alarm house!

If Mike had not left in 1991, what direction do you think “The Alarm” would have gone? Do you think that you could have persuaded Mike to let Dave have a crack at lead vocals for an album?
Did you see the Riddick Bowe the other night?, that would have been the scene in the studio if we had not had a break. I think it worked just fine with Mike & Dave sharing the lead, there is no need for Dave or Mike for that matter to sing an entire album.

How on earth did you become an investigator of a public defender? Are you allowed to wear sunglasses on the job?
I could tell you but then I would have to kill you!

When you started in The Alarm, did you realize how powerful the images you presented were? (the western/spirtual/war/peace mixture). Why do you think it struck a chord, especially with Americans?
I don’t think we had a clue about the effect it had in the early stages, but later we learned how to manipulate it to our advantage. I think the combination of western/civil war/free thinking/democratic imagery runs very deep in American culture, we just rekindled the fire a bit. By a stroke of sheer luck “Spirit of ’76” was embraced by America because they thought it alluded to the independance from British rule in 1776 which of course it didn’t!

How hard was it to go from being a world-famous rock band one-day, to not knowing what the future would hold the next?
The Alarm were in desperate need of a hit by “Raw,” after Europe it was obvious that something had to break it was just when,? by Brixton we were shattered. Mike had stopped communicating with the band and being greeted by a half-full Academy was a little disturbing. Of course when Mike made his announcement without telling the band it just confirmed the fact. It would have been much more sad for the band to become “those big hair guys from the 80’s” I think the break has done everybody some good (at least I hope it has).

Did you ever collect any Alarm records or memorabilia?
I’ve got lot’s of knick-knacks, stuff you would probably kill for! but there is one thing I haven’t got that I want and that is a Declaration CD.

Does it amuse your co-workers that you were once in this 80’s rock band that toured the world, and sold over a million records?
It doesn’t amuse them ‘cos half of them are Alarm fans!

I’ve read that you were not really all that into the “punk” scene in the 70’s. Did this change when you were in the Toilets?
I came around slowly, the idea of walking around in a cut-off binliner with safety-pins stuck in it & swallowing other people’s saliva didn’t appeal to me at the time. After I played with the Buzzcocks & had a pint with Pete Shelley it changed everything.

I’ve read that, when you were very young, you and Dave lived in England together and then both of your families moved to Wales. Is this true?
Dave & I have known each other since we were five. We had our first band when we were six, I moved to Wales with my family when I was Thirteen or Fourteen. Dave stayed in Manchester.

On almost all of the “live” concert tapes I have, when Mike is “announcing” the members of the band in mid-concert, “The Twistman” always got the largest applause, did you ever notice this?
Naturally, & thank every one of you.

Do you think is strange that there are people who still love The Alarm and can’t seem to give it up (like myself). Were you aware that so many people from around the world still have a have a glimmer of hope that there will one day be another Alarm album?
The Alarm meant a lot of things to a lot of people and I hope that continues. As to another Alarm album………….who knows?

Twist say’s “Thanks to all the loyal fans out there for their love and loyalty, I hope that in some way, no matter how small, The Alarm touched your lives in a positive way”.
“With love from The Alarm: Mike Peters, Eddie MacDonald, Nigel Twist & Dave Sharp”.

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