||This article needs to be updated. (February 2017)|
Adam Ant at the 100 Club, January 2011
|Birth name||Stuart Leslie Goddard|
3 November 1954 |
Marylebone, London, England
Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard; 3 November 1954) is an English singer and musician. He gained popularity as the lead singer of new wave group Adam and the Ants and later as a solo artist, scoring 10 UK top ten hits from 1980 to 1983, including three UK No. 1 singles. He has also worked as an actor, appearing in over two dozen films and television episodes from 1985 to 2003.
Since 2010, Ant has undertaken an intense reactivation of his musical career, performing live regularly in his hometown of London and beyond, recording and releasing a new album and completing six full-length UK national tours, three US national tours, and an Australian tour and with a fourth US tour and second Australian tour scheduled and a further album completed and awaiting release.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Musical career
- 3 Musical style
- 4 Acting career
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Discography
- 7 TV and film
- 8 Theatre
- 9 Literature
- 10 Awards and nominations
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Stuart Goddard was born an only child in Marylebone, London to Leslie Goddard and Betty Kathleen Smith. Home was two rooms in De Walden buildings, St John's Wood.:5 He recalls: "There was no luxury, but there was always food on the table." His father had served in the Royal Air Force and worked as a chauffeur, and his mother was an embroiderer for Norman Hartnell.:4 He is of partial Romani descent; his maternal grandfather, Walter Albany Smith, was Romanichal.:10 This heritage would become a basis for a theme in his later work: a concern for oppressed minorities.
His parents divorced when Goddard was seven years old:35 and his mother supported him by working as a domestic cleaner, briefly working for Paul McCartney. Goddard's first school was Robinsfield Infants School, where he created a considerable stir by throwing a brick through the head-teacher's office window on two consecutive days.:28 In the aftermath of this incident, Goddard was placed under the supervision of teacher Joanna Saloman, who encouraged him to develop his abilities in art and whom he would later credit as the first person to show him he could be creative artistically.
Goddard then attended Barrow Hill Junior School where he boxed, was a member of the cricket team:32 and passed the eleven plus exam to gain a place at St Marylebone Grammar School:56 which was an all boys school where he enjoyed history lessons, played rugby:57 and later became a school prefect. After taking and passing six O levels and three A levels in English, History and Art,:72 Goddard then attended Hornsey College of Art to study graphic design and for a time was a student of Peter Webb. He later dropped out of Hornsey, short of completing his BA, to focus on a career in music.:4
Early musical career
Since starting his course at Hornsey, Goddard had married fellow student Carol Mills, with whom he lived at her parents' residence in Muswell Hill. Shortly after, he developed anorexia. "I just didn't eat," he has said of this period, "I wasn't attempting to slim, I was attempting to kill myself." Eventually, Goddard took an overdose of all the pills he could find in his mother-in-law's kitchen cabinet. After having his stomach pumped, he was sent to Colney Hatch mental hospital in North London, eventually being discharged on condition of supervision by Mills. "I was totally fucked up in the head. Things went wrong and something snapped. I just became a vegetable for three months. I couldn't talk to people. I was very ill and that was part of the reason I left college."
Upon his discharge from the hospital, Goddard renamed himself Adam Ant (possibly a play on the word adamant; citation needed]) with Mills renaming herself Eve. Ant remade connections with fellow former B-Sides Lester Square and Andy Warren and together with drummer Paul Flanagan, they formed Adam and the Ants (initially named just 'The Ants') in 1977, with the inaugural band meeting held in the audience at a Siouxsie and the Banshees performance at the Roxy Club in London's Covent Garden.[
1977–82 Adam and the Ants
Adam and the Ants started as part of the burgeoning punk rock movement. Ant later acted in Derek Jarman's seminal "punk" film Jubilee in 1977, as Adam and the Ants were beginning to gig around London with manager Jordan from the SEX Boutique on Kings Road. His debut as a recording artist was the song "Deutscher Girls", which featured on the film's soundtrack, along with "Plastic Surgery" which was performed in the film itself. "Deutscher Girls"/"Plastic Surgery" was re-released as a single in 1982. The band toured extensively around the UK, but proved to be unpopular with much of the British music press who disliked their fetishistic lyrics and imagery. Late 1979 saw the release of their début album Dirk Wears White Sox (1979, Do It Records), with Matthew Ashman on guitar, Leigh Gorman on bass and Dave Barbarossa on drums.
Adam Ant approached Malcolm McLaren (the manager of The Sex Pistols) and asked him to manage the band. McLaren subsequently took the rest of the Ants from the original group when he introduced the singer Annabella Lwin and began the process of honing Bow Wow Wow for chart success. Later Adam seemed to have reconciled with the fact. "I like to use the word 'mutiny'. My band was happy to go. Malcolm tried to see if I could fit into Bow Wow Wow, but I never could've or would've. I might have had a broken heart at the time, but Malcolm didn't leave me with nothing. He mentored me. He said: 'Look, what do you want?' I said: 'I wanna sell millions of records', and he said, 'Well, you're going the wrong way about it. This [debut album Dirk Wears White Sox] is the kind of esoteric stuff you do when you've done eight albums, you're living on a yacht, and you can do what you want'," he remembered later.
A new version of Adam and the Ants was formed with Marco Pirroni (guitar), Kevin Mooney (bass guitar), and two drummers, Terry Lee Miall and Chris Hughes (ex-Dalek I Love You), who used the name "Merrick." The band signed a major label deal with CBS Records and recorded Kings of the Wild Frontier during the summer of 1980. That album was an enormous hit in the United Kingdom and the "Antmania" that ensued put the band at the forefront of the New Romantic movement. The single 'Antmusic' went to No. 2 on the UK singles chart by December 1980, but made it to No. 1 in the charts in Australia. Following the abrupt departure of Mooney in February 1981, the well known bassist Gary Tibbs, formerly of Roxy Music, joined the band.
In November 1981, Adam & the Ants released another highly successful album, Prince Charming. The album featured two United Kingdom No. 1 singles – "Stand and Deliver" and the title track "Prince Charming" – as well as the No. 3 UK hit "Ant Rap". This trio of singles were promoted by some of the most lavish music videos of the period, and paved the way for Adam Ant's later acting career. The work schedule Adam Ant imposed upon himself was punishing. "I took no holidays – and I mean no holidays. When Kings of the Wild Frontier took off, I was halfway through making Prince Charming, and so on, because we had to bring out an album and four singles a year. But the price you pay... I split my cartilage in Cleveland doing "Goody Two Shoes", it was my body saying, 'Look, no!' Then I was back onstage doing the Motown 25 [in 1983] show 10 days later, having had the operation. Nobody could have stopped me, or make me do it. I did it. I was very, very bad at pacing," he later remembered.
In March 1982, feeling certain band members "lacked enthusiasm" Ant disbanded the group. A few months after the split Ant launched a solo career (though he retained Marco Pirroni as guitarist and co-songwriter). Merrick returned to the band Dalek I Love You and subsequently produced many hits for Tears for Fears.
After the split, Ant went solo, taking his song writing partner Pirroni with him. Merrick also briefly stayed aboard as drummer/producer for the UK edition of the first solo hit single "Goody Two Shoes" (which made it to No. 1 in the UK) and demos for the upcoming Friend or Foe album before moving on to other production work, while Miall and Tibbs' contracts were left to expire. The "Friend or Foe" album also produced another top ten single, "Friend or Foe", which reached no.9 in September 1982.
Ant recruited a new band for touring, consisting of new dual drummers Bogdan Wiczling (ex-Fingerprintz) and Barry Watts (ex-Q-Tips), plus guitarist Cha Burns (also ex-Fingerprintz), bassist Chris Constantinou and the former Q-Tips brass section of trumpeter Tony Hughes and twin saxophonists Stewart van Blandamer and Steve Farr. The new band made its debut at London's Astoria Theatre on 1 October 1982. A US tour began in New York on 8 November. On the 19th tour date on 20 February 1983 in Cleveland, Ohio, Ant suffered a knee injury onstage (a relapse of a previous injury suffered while filming Jubilee in 1977), forcing the postponement and/or cancellation of dates throughout February and March while he recuperated. Ant eventually returned to performing, performing as a guest on the NBC' show Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, joined onstage by Diana Ross. He resumed the US tour, completed on 18 May 1983 at the Bronco Bowl in Dallas, Texas.
During his recuperation from the knee injury, Ant worked with Pirroni on new material:214–215 that formed the basis of Ant's second solo album Strip. With promotion on the Strip album complete, Ant reduced his band to the quartet of himself, Pirroni (now out of retirement again), Wiczling and Constantinou. The latter two adopted the stage names Count Wiczling and Chris De Niro respectively and were upgraded from live backing musicians to being full-time band members, featured on record sleeves, logos and even in song lyrics. The LP "Strip" produced a top ten single, "Puss'n'boots", which reached no.5 in October 1983. Ant formally unveiled a new four-piece band at the 1984 Montreux Pop Festival,:234
In July 1985, Ant secured a spot at the Live Aid concert – the first live performance of the "Ant/Marco/Wiczling/De Niro" band – but was asked to cut his set to one song, for which he chose his new single, the Vive le Rock title track Ant later claimed to regret playing the fundraiser, saying, "I was asked by Sir Bob to promote this concert. They had no idea they could sell it out. Then in Bob's book he said, 'Adam was over the hill so I let him have one number.'... Doing that show was the biggest f**king mistake in the world. Knighthoods were made, Bono got it made, and it was a waste of f**king time. It was the end of rock 'n' roll."
A year after the top 15 hit single success of "Apollo 9", which reached no.13 in September 1984, the parent album Vive Le Rock was released in September 1985, to mixed reviews. As part of the promotion, the band performed a live TV session for Channel 4 music show Bliss hosted by Muriel Gray. Several songs were recorded, although only two – Miss Thing from the new album and Killer in the Home from Kings of the Wild Frontier – were actually transmitted.
Ant paused his career in music at the end of 1985 to focus on his acting career.:244 The Fort Lauderdale show was Ant's last full-length concert until February 1993. Indeed, between December 1982 and February 1995, Ant's only public live concerts outside North America were the four aforementioned UK/Spanish shows, Live Aid, a 1987 fanclub party performance, and a September 1994 EMI corporate event in Brighton. He severed ties with CBS in late 1986, following the release of the Hits audio/VHS compilation.:248 In 1990, Ant returned with Manners & Physique, a collaboration with André Cymone, a solo artist and an early member of Prince's band. The album was another moderate success, and featured the single Room at the Top, which was a Top 20 hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Rough Stuff became the second single for the United States and Germany as Can't Set Rules About Love charted in the United Kingdom
In 1995, Ant released the album, Wonderful. The title track was a successful single, as was a tour of the US in support of the album. While Ant and his group (which retained longtime guitarist Pirroni) played in smaller venues than they had played in the 1980s, the houses were often packed with enthusiastic fans. The tour was cut short due to Ant and Pirroni both contracting glandular fever.:298 Ant also played three shows at Shepherds Bush Empire in London and did a mini tour of Virgin Record Shops playing selected tunes from the album Wonderful and signing records. Adam and his band also played shows in Dublin, Glasgow, Middlesbrough and Stoke-on-Trent.
In 1996, Ant and Pirroni recorded two new songs, Lamé and Inseminator, for the soundtrack to Ant's latest film Drop Dead Rock. Also around this time, they recorded a cover version of the T. Rex song Dandy in the Underworld. The duo continued to demo other songs around this time, including such titles as Tough Blokes, Justine, Picasso Meets Gary Cooper and Call Me Sausage, (the last of which leaked out into bootleg circulation among fans). These new songs with Pirroni were for Ant's own new label Blend Records. Pirroni later referred to these recordings as the Blend Demos. They also guested with such bands as Dweeb and Rachel Stamp. In 2001, following the 11 September attacks, Ant recorded a charity single for New York firefighters; a double A-side of Neil Diamond's America with song of his own, Big Trouble. In interviews from the time, Ant talked of numerous varied plans, including starting another new record label, reforming Adam and the Ants, and a star-studded benefit concert for a forest in Patagonia.
Ant was poised to join the 1980s-focused Here & Now tour in January 2002, but was unable to do so after he was charged with throwing a car alternator through a pub window and then threatening patrons with an imitation firearm. The previous evening, Adam has since claimed, he had received telephone threats to himself and his young daughter from the jealous husband of a female Camden Market stallholder who had agreed to make some clothing for him. The following morning, advised by people around Camden that he would find the man in question at the Prince of Wales pub in Camden, Ant arrived there to confront his persecutor. Some of the pub patrons made fun of his appearance and told him in mocking terms that the man he was looking for was not present. Staff then asked him to leave as the premises were a private members' club. Before storming off, Ant angrily told them all that he would be back. Some hours later, finding a discarded car alternator in the street, Ant threw it through the pub window. The broken glass injured a local musician. Chased through the backstreets of Camden by pub security and others, he drove them away by pulling out an old World War II-era starting pistol, once the property of his father. Returning afterwards to the main street, he was spotted by a police patrol, gun still in hand, and arrested as he tried to leave the scene in the back of a minicab:312–315
Ant was brought to court at the Old Bailey. The charges against him, which included criminal damage and threatening members of the public, were reduced to a single count of causing affray, to which he pleaded guilty. He was fined £500 and ordered to psychiatric care with a suspended sentence. In June 2003, he was arrested again by police after a conflict with a neighbour resulted in him attempting to smash in the neighbour's patio door with a shovel, and then lying down on the concrete floor of a café basement with his trousers pulled down, curling up, and trying to sleep.:319 Once again he was charged with affray and criminal damage and spent time in psychiatric wards. In September of that year he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983, and spent a further six months receiving in-patient psychiatric care. He was eventually granted a conditional discharge by the judge at Highbury Magistrates Court.
One project from this period, however, which did go all the way to release was a guest appearance on an EP, Mike's Bikes by former Ants bassist Kevin Mooney's new band, the Lavender Pill Mob, on Mooney's own label Le Coq Musique. Ant provided lead vocals for Black Pirates, a reworking of the song Chicken Outlaw by Mooney's earlier band Wide Boy Awake, which was inspired by Mooney's departure from the Ants.
In 2003 the television special entitled The Madness of Prince Charming was aired in the UK documenting Ant's career and his struggle with mental illness (he was diagnosed as suffering with bipolar disorder).
In September 2006, he published his autobiography, Stand & Deliver. Marking the release of the book, Adam Ant did a UK book signing, which went from London to Edinburgh. After the success of the first edition the paperback edition was published (a year later, September 2007); it contains a new epilogue which covers the year following the initial hardback release.
On 4 March 2010 Adam Ant registered his new label Blue Black Hussar Ltd. as a private limited company at Companies House. That month also marked a return to live music. Ant's first live performance since The Bloomsbury in 2007 was at "Through The Looking Glass" bookshop in London on 18 March, at which he played "Ants Invasion", "Cartrouble", "Physical", and a cover of Iggy Pop's "The Passenger". A day later, on 19 March, Ant guested at a Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction gig at the Pipeline Bar, London E1, in which he provided lead vocals for the band's Top 20 hit "Prime Mover". Ant performed yet another low key show at the Southwark Playhouse on Saturday 20 March. During the intervals Ant talked about Sony records, how he rejected an alleged £2.6 million O2 deal, and a new album collaboration with Chris McCormack.
On Tuesday 18 May 2010 Adam Ant was returned to psychiatric hospital – in his own words "at Her Majesty's Pleasure" —, albeit in a comfortable regime at a London NHS hospital, where he remained until mid-June, subsequently returning home under outpatient supervision. In an official statement, Ant expressed an intention to perform further gigs later in the year once his hospitalisation had ended.
Although he gave at least one live performance in the immediate aftermath of his release (a jam at a Chelsea bar at some point during the weekend of 19–20 June 2010), which appeared consistent with his previously stated intentions, he otherwise kept a mostly low profile for the rest of his supervised outpatient period. Some smaller guerilla gigs were performed that Autumn which received no advance billing whatsoever, including a solo show at the Dark Mills festival at London's Colour House Theatre on 4 September 2010, the launch party of the Illamasqua store on 16 September (at which Boy George served as DJ), and a guest spot at the Monster Raving Loony Party's annual conference in Fleet, Hampshire, on 25 September. On Thursday 21 October, Ant performed at the Union Chapel, London.
Ant headlined at the Scala on 18 November, joined by a trio of female backing singers which included Georgina Bailie and Tiffany Vivienne Brown. The gig received positive reviews and three days later again topped the bill at a tribute concert for former Ant Matthew Ashman on 21 November at the same venue, in a show also featuring later Ashman bands Bow Wow Wow, Chiefs of Relief, Agent Provocateur and London rock act Slam Cartel. Ant was back playing live two days later on 23 December, when he and Baillee guested onstage at the Christmas party of West Rocks at Shepherds Bar in Shepherds Bush and played live again at Proud, Camden on 5 January 2011 and at Madame Jojo's in Soho on 17 January. He finished the month by playing further dates of his "... WORLD TOUR OF LONDON ..." with a two-night stand at the 100 Club on 26 and 27 January 2011.
Ant spent time in Paris where he played low-key shows (his first gigs outside the UK in nearly 16 years.). On 29 March 2011, BBC Radio 4 transmitted an interview of Ant by John Humphrys for the On the Ropes series in which Ant discussed his bipolar condition and its impact on his career. That same day, Ant held a press conference and media preview gig at Under The Bridge in Chelsea at which he formally unveiled plans for an eleven date UK concert tour (as with the Paris concert, the first such event in 16 years) due to run from 16 May to 4 June 2011. Also announced at the Chelsea event was a public screening of the December 1981 Prince Charming Revue concert video plus a question-and-answer session to be held in South London's Coronet Cinema on 11 May 2011.
By the time the tour got underway on 16 May in Brighton, the original eleven date itinerary had been expanded to fifteen dates. Ant successfully completed the entire schedule of tour dates which were overwhelmingly enthusiastically received.
There was only one serious negative onstage incident, at Fat Sam's in Dundee on 21 May 2011 when Ant reacted angrily to some crowd elements who booed his kilt decorated with the St George's Cross. The tour closed in Manchester on 5 June with a show at the city's Manchester Academy.
The Seaside Tour follow-up to the main UK tour and a warm-up to Ant's appearance at Hard Rock Calling 2011 in Hyde Park, London, on 26 June 2011, third on the bill to Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks before an audience of 45,000. Ant later slotted in some more solo gigs, including the Soho Festival in London's Wardour Street on 11 July.
Ant also announced a follow-up UK tour (described as the "second leg" of the 2011 tour), initially scheduled to run for twelve dates from 11 November 2011 in Bristol until 13 December 2011 in Newcastle. As with the previous leg, Ant passed the time until the tour playing one-off dates, appearing with his tour band in Bedford on 10 September before three days later reuniting with 2010 band members Crewdson and Love for a charity show on board HMS Belfast. As with the previous tour, the itinerary was expanded from the initial 12 dates to an eventual 21 dates running from 10 November in Frome until 16 December in Norwich, (with a non-tour acoustic gig at a benefit event for London's Wilton Hall venue thrown in for good measure). Just three days after the final Norwich date of the tour, Ant was back onstage again with two members of his live band on 19 December at a charity event at Ronnie Scott's. The first record release of Ant's 2010s comeback also occurred at this point, with the release of the Sex Drugs and HIV compilation album featuring Ant's version of Get A Grip which had been recorded a year earlier while the World Tour of London was in progress.
A few days before the end of the second leg of his UK tour, it was officially announced that Ant would be making his return to the US with a 15 date North American tour in February 2012, starting on 2 February in Ant's former adopted hometown of Los Angeles and running until 25 February in nearby Anaheim. A few days into the new year, however, it was announced that the tour was postponed until the Autumn. A five-date warm-up UK mini tour for Ant and his band nonetheless went ahead for 19–24 January 2012. The mini tour – and Ant – received some unexpected publicity three days before the opening date when a 36-year-old Japanese female was detained in a raid on Ant's home by the UK Border Agency pending deportation due to an expired visa.
An exhibition of photographs of Ant – entitled Adam Ant – Dandy in the Underworld ran from 7 March 2012 to 29 April 2012 at Proud Camden in London, featuring images of Ant throughout his career, including the work of Chris Duffy, Gerard McNamara, Jill Furmanovsky, Denis O'Regan, Chris Cuffaro, Hannah Domagala, Robert Matheu, David Corio and Janette Beckman. To promote this exhibition, Ant performed a solo charity concert at the gallery on 6 March with the same two band members as the Ronnie Scotts concert from the previous December. The concert was well received, although an inebriated Chrissie Hynde who was in attendance, heckled throughout the performance. While this exhibition was on, Ant took his band on tour to Australia with an initial five date schedule spread over a two-week period from 23 March to 8 April, taking in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. In mid February, Ant made a warm-up visit to Australia, including an appearance on the Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight show recorded on 13 February 2012 for transmission on 15 February and promotional work in Melbourne and Sydney.
Although poor ticket sales forced the cancellation of the Adelaide gig, the remaining four concerts all went ahead. The Sydney Morning Herald gave a reservedly positive review of the opening Sydney date on 23 March (which it rated three stars out of five), noting "In a set plus two encores (the first cheered for; the second not really but played anyway) comprising 30 songs, it was kind of the equivalent of throwing a lot of make-up at the mirror and seeing what stuck." Ant also made further Australian TV appearances including a return to Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight recorded on 26 March for transmission on 28 March, including live performances of "Stand and Deliver" and new album track "Vince Taylor" with his full band.
Subsequently, for the second year running, Ant was scheduled to make appearances on the summer festival circuit, interspersed with various one-off dates around the UK. This got off to an early start when Ant stepped in as replacement headliner at the Bearded Theory festival in Derby on 18 May 2012, when the Levellers had to pull out due to one of the band members being injured. Ant also played the first full band concert in continental Europe of his 2010s comeback on 24 June 2012 at the Parkpop festival in the Zuiderpark in the Hague, Netherlands, with his set broadcast on Dutch national TV. After six assorted dates around the UK in early July, Ant's next major show was a headline slot at the Silverstone Classic Festival on 21 July followed the next day by an appearance at Rewind in Perth and then at Camp Bestival on 27 July 2012. The rest of the summer saw Ant mix festivals such as the Summer Sundae Weekender on 18 August, Solfest on 24 August and the Isle of Wight Bestival with dates in such locations as Swindon, Southend-on-Sea, Warrington and Croydon.
Later in the year, Ant's postponed US tour finally went ahead, commencing 13 September in Los Angeles and finishing on 20 October in nearby Anaheim. The third UK tour of the 2010s, the Blueblack Hussar Tour, commenced on 1 November in Glasgow and ran to 30 November at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire. During the tour, the first single of the new album was released – Cool Zombie, with the formerly planned A-side Gun in Your Pocket now as the B-side. On New Year's Eve 2012, Ant and his full band appeared on Jools Holland's Hootenanny New Year music show, performing new album track Vince Taylor as well as old hits Stand And Deliver and Antmusic.
The album, the focal point of the comeback since 2010, finally received its release on 21 January 2013. Its gestation had a long history which had been running alongside the live comeback; in 2009, it was announced that Ant was planning on putting a new record out, with "sources" telling The Sun that labels were involved in a bidding war over the new material. Adam also expressed interest in working with The Kaiser Chiefs.
In an April 2010 interview for the NME, Ant announced he was also working on a new album, with the title Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter. This was planned to feature collaborations with former 3 Colours Red guitarist Chris McCormack, Ant's long-time songwriting partner Marco Pirroni, a member of Oasis (later identified as Andy Bell) and Morrissey's writing partner Boz Boorer. According to Ant, the album is a "live record that lends itself to performance" and will feature a "kind of concept. It's a very old-fashioned, old-school, step-by-step album". He also described the album as "very autobiographical, very personal." In addition, Ant re-recorded a song in tribute to the late Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, who died earlier that month, and who also once managed Adam & The Ants. Named Who's A Goofy Bunny Then?, the track was only previously available as a demo recorded in the early 1980s, but Ant said he wanted to release a new version in tribute to the late punk manager. "Malcolm was a sort of mentor in my life", he explained. "As close as you can get to a surrogate father". The song took its name from a term of endearment bestowed upon McLaren by Ant – referring to his "quite prominent teeth".
On 31 December 2010, Ant gave an interview for The Sun (featured in the "Something for the Weekend" segment) in which he discussed in considerable detail the various controversies surrounding his recent life and musical activities. He summed up his upcoming album thus: "The Blueblack Hussar is me coming back to life. I'm like The Terminator —- I was a dead man walking". He also discussed individual songs on the album — as well as Gun in Your Pocket (which, aside from the Troubador live performance, had also been given a club dancefloor play by Ant himself as guest DJ at the Family Affair clubnight in Shoreditch, London on 24 April 2010), The interview in The Sun also made mention of Shrink, a song about Ant's experiences in the mental healthcare system. Ant had previously discussed both of these songs in his April 2010 interview with Simon Price for online fanzine The Quietus. On his second visit to Iain Lee's show on Absolute Radio on 4 January 2011, two further new tracks were debuted, "Hard Men, Tough Blokes" and "punkyoungirl" [sic]. In an interview for Bizarre magazine published that month, Ant named the song co-written with Andy Bell as "Cool Zombie".
21 January 2013 release date was officially announced by Ant onstage at his September 2012 concert in Chatham by Ant's own record label Blueblack Hussar Records. Despite the decidedly DIY nature of the release, the album reached number 25 on the UK Albums Chart, only one place lower than its predecessor had managed when released on the corporate EMI label nearly eighteen years earlier. It had previously been at number 8 in the Midweeks.
To promote the album, Ant performed a series of concerts around the British Isles during April and May (billed as a "Spring Tour") culminating in a gig at The Roundhouse on 11 May. A free concert in Rome took place on 14 June and a second full length 40 plus show US tour got underway on 17 July in San Diego and ran to 21 September in Anaheim. Prior to the tour, Ant and his band appeared on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to promote the new album, performing a live version of the track Vince Taylor.
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During early 2014, Ant was at work recording his next album, titled Bravest of the Brave. On 19 April, Ant performed his debut album Dirk Wears White Sox at the Hammersmith Apollo with a band including former Ants Dave Barbe and Lee Gorman, preceding this with several UK tour dates. He also reissued the Dirk album on white vinyl on his Blueblack Hussar label, with a launch party gig at the 100 CLub. Both London concerts were filmed and later released as the DVD album Dirk Live At The Apollo. Ant would subsequently perform the full album again with his regular band for four nights at the Islington Assembly Hall in November 2014 and a full UK tour in Spring 2015.
Jack Bond's documentary on Ant, The Blueblack Hussar, covering his life and performances from late 2010 to mid 2011, was released on DVD in July 2014 by Sunrise Pictures.
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Ant toured the UK in 2016 and North America in early 2017, performing his Kings of the Wild Frontier album in its entirety. Sony Records issued a deluxe box set of the album linked to the UK leg of the tour, including a gold vinyl pressing of the album (as previously announced by Ant at the 100 Club gig in 2014). After his January 24, 2017 show in Boston MA Ant's guitarist and music director, Tom Edwards, suddenly died due to suspected heart failure; he was 41. After cancelling shows in New York and Philadelphia, the tour continued.
Later the same year, he toured the UK and announced he would return to North America with another tour, "Anthems: The Singles" in the autumn, and afterwards would be taking the Kings tour to Australia and New Zealand.
The tone of Ant's debut solo album, Friend or Foe, was defined as glitzy glam pop with "tongue-in-cheek tunes, delivered with an excess of flair and good humour". It was also described as being "one of Ant's best records and one of the best new wave albums".
The fourth studio album, Manners and Physique, was said to be a combination of "contemporary dance tracks" and Ant's "old flair for mockery". Ant himself later claimed that the album was styled after the bass heavy Minneapolis sound of which Cymone, in Ant's words, was "one of the architects".
As the 1980s wore on, Ant's attention turned toward acting, especially television and movie roles. He spent three months in England on stage starring in Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane. In 1993 he played the lead in the Steven Berkoff play Greek, which was directed by Bruce Payne. He also appeared on American television shows, notably The Equalizer, Sledge Hammer!, Tales from the Crypt and Northern Exposure in which he played a rock musician. He began taking roles in films such as Nomads, Sunset Heat, Love Bites and Slam Dance. He moved to Hollywood and appeared in a wide range of productions and shows, producing a musical about rock 'n' roll legends Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran's days on tour in England Be Bop A Lula, with a set designed by L.A. artist Michael Pearce.
At 21 years of age he was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, and has spoken candidly about his experiences with the effects of the illness. In his 31 December 2010 interview for The Sun, Ant also discussed the side effects of medication for his bipolar condition: "In the past I've been a robot. It's been an out-of-body experience. Bipolar means up and down and that's me... Music has always been the best medication. I was on sodium valproate for seven years.... I couldn't get to sleep and I didn't make love for seven years. My hair fell out and I couldn't pick up a book as I couldn't concentrate. I didn't write a song or pick up a guitar in that time – and piled on the weight. I might as well have been dead. I work very closely with my GP and any decisions I make are made with him". During an interview with BBC Radio 6 Music, he declared that "mental health needs a great deal of attention. It's the final taboo and it needs to be faced and dealt with." Ant is involved in the Black Dog campaign, which promotes better understanding of mental illness.
Ant married Carol Mills in 1975, divorcing her shortly after. He dated Amanda Donohoe between 1977 and 1981, Jamie Lee Curtis in 1983 and Heather Graham in the early 1990s. In 1997, Ant married a 25-year-old PR assistant for Vivienne Westwood. The ceremony took place in Dayton, Tennessee. They divided their time between Dayton and London, and in April 1998 the couple had a daughter. However, the couple separated soon afterwards.
Ant, who does not own a television, enjoys reading, particularly historical novels. He has tattoos depicting Lord Nelson's last prayer before the Battle of Trafalgar, an image of his grandfather and a quotation from Oscar Wilde: "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes."
Adam and the Ants
- Friend or Foe (1982)
- Strip (1983)
- Vive Le Rock (1985)
- Manners & Physique (1990)
- Wonderful (1995)
- Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar in Marrying The Gunner's Daughter (2013)
TV and film
- Never Mind the Buzzcocks (2014)
- The Blueblack Hussar (2013) Documentary on Ant's return to music in 2010–2011, directed by Jack Bond
- Sweetwater A true rock story (1999) Tele-film based on the 1960s band.
- The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries (1999) Tv episode
- La Femme Nikita (1999) TV episode
- Never Mind The Buzzcocks (1997)
- Junk (1997) (short British film)
- Face Down (1996)
- Lover's Knot (1996)
- Batman: The Animated Series (1995) TV episode
- Cyber Bandits (1995)
- Desert Winds (1995)
- Drop Dead Rock (1995)
- Acting on Impulse (1993)
- Love Bites (1993)
- Northern Exposure (1992) TV episode as "Brad Bonner" on the episode "Heroes"
- Spellcaster (1992)
- Tales from the Crypt (1992) TV episode
- Midnight Heat (1992)
- Trust Me (1989)
- Out of Time (1988)
- World Gone Wild (1988)
- Cold Steel (1987)
- Sledge Hammer! (1987) TV episode
- Slam Dance (1987)
- Amazing Stories (1987) TV episode
- Nomads (1986)
- Amazing Stories Season 2 (1986)
- Honda Advert with Grace Jones (1986)
- The Equalizer (1985) TV episode
- Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever (1983)
- Cannon and Ball Show (1982) TV episode
- Jubilee (1977)
- Funeral Games (1996)
- Be Bop a Lula (1993)
- West (1993)
- Entertaining Mr. Sloane (1985)
Awards and nominations
|1982||Adam and the Ants||Grammy Awards: Best New Artist||Nominated|
|Kings of the Wild Frontier||BRIT Awards: Best British Album||Won|
|"Stand and Deliver"||Ivor Novello Awards: Songwriters of the Year||Won|
|2008||Adam Ant||Q Awards: Q Icon||Won|
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