Meeting Mike Peters at Vans Warped Tour Event
The Vans Warped Tour is a young person’s event. Me? I’m not a young person, not by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m young at heart, and unlike many of my contemporaries, I love new rock music just as much as I love the 80s rock I was educated on. This appreciation for all things rock, enabled me to experience a priceless moment with one of my heroes amidst a room packed with college students.
I was sitting at a table in the press room, waiting for Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman to hold his opening press conference at this year’s line-up reveal at Full Sail University. There were about 40 members of the press in the room, 90% of them, including our own Jaydee Grice being college students. Just as I was feeling like the only old guy in the room, the chair next to me slid back and I looked over at my new neighbor.
This dude looked familiar and it only took about 1/2 a second for me to reach out my hand and say “Are you Mike?”
With a smile on his lips and a shine in his eyes, the shaggy haired guy in the camo jacket looked me in the eye and said “Yes.,” as I noticed the name tag stitched in his lapel “PETERS.”
“I met you 15 years ago when my buddy Tim introduced us after a show in New York City.”
“Record store Tim?” he asked, as we made a little connection.
You see Mike Peters might just be my favorite songwriter… ever. He wrote the song that I walked down the aisle to. And here, in a room packed with twentysomethings far from his home and my old stomping grounds, we found ourselves sitting next to each other.
I’ve met a bunch of rock stars over the past few years and interviewed some super-talented performers, but for a few minutes, I was a bit of an ancient fanboy.
Mike Peters is an extremely interesting person and a top notch human being. He’s playing Warped Tour this year with The Alarm as a way to broaden the reach of his charity Love Hope Strength which matches potential bone marrow donors with people in need of a life saving donation.
According to Lyman, Van Warped Tour is about three things: the Kids, the music and the charities. That makes the event the perfect match for someone like Mike Peters.
Love Hope Strength has signed up donors at a good number of Warped Tour shows in the past, and the result has been 30 life-saving matches. This year with The Alarm on the bill, and the charity appearing at all 61 dates, the possibility of many more life savings matches is enticing.
Peters was effusive in his love for his Foundation and as a cancer survivor, he’s passionate about continuing to make a meaningful difference in the lives of countless others. But, he;s also a rock legend and one hell of a nice guy. When I chatted with him, I felt like I was talking to an old friend and he was extremely generous with his time.
After our initial chat, we managed to conduct a formal interview, which will appear here next week. We discussed Love Strength Hope, his battle with cancer, his love for Big Country’s Stuart Adamson and our shared wedding song, “Walk Forever By My Side.”
Check back soon for one of my favorite interviews ever, with a true rock ‘n roll ambassador. In the interim… yeah, I asked for a selfie…
Get more information on the 2017 Vans Warped Tour here.
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