new frontiers (issue 7)

Adam And The Ants

"You dressed so sparsely, why did you have to be so nasty"

I first saw Adam And The Ants in York in January 1979. What a night, still very much an uncompromising underground act, they thrilled the half full Pop Club. Songs such as "Zerox", "Plastic Surgery", "Deutscher Girls" and "Whip In My Valise" stick in the mind as going down a storm. In those days I was too young to fully understand all his lyrics. I just know it was a good night.

"Have you ever ridden in a light blue car"

They came back 6 months later. This time, the place was full. Unfortunately, the night was marred by trouble from Middlesbrough Ant contingent. The Pop Club was to close soon afterwards. The album Dirk Wears White Sox should still be available if you look hard enough.

"War is the world's only hygiene"

Adam got bored or the Ants got bored, depending on whose story you believe. The original Ants teamed up with Malcolm McLaren to form Bow Wow Wow. One classic single and a lot of less memorable songs and images followed.

"A new royal family, a wild nobility, we are the family"

Adam and his new Ants were bound for chart success. "Kings Of The Wild Frontier", "Dog Eat Dog", "Ant Music" and "Prince Charming" included. Their distinction sound being achieved by the use of 2 drummers. Each hit is remembered for its over the top video as Adam forget his punk roots and went for chart success with a strip of elastoplast stuck across his nose. "Prince Charming" became a terrace favourite as Bootham Crescent as big Keith Walwyn kept running up the goals.

"Don't ever stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome"

Pirate, prince, highwayman, regency dandy, red indian and knight. Each image more OTT than the last one. Just as quickly as fame had found them, it deserted them.

"So unplug the jukebox ... the music's lost its flavour"

Adam went to America, reverted to his original name, Stuart Goddard, and took up acting. Rather badly by all accounts as he appeared in a series of films, few of which crossed the Atlantic. His best remembered film role is still his appearance in Jubilee, if only for his singing. 1993 saw the release (record and video) of a greatest hits compilation. A chance, once more, to see those classic videos again. Better still, buy "Dirk" or the "Peel Sessions" recordings. Even then, no one recording is the definitive collection. Whispers of a British tour grow louder every week.

After this article went to press, Adam went awry. An acting career saw him play several small TV and file roles whilst based in America. Back in England, he suffered mental problems, was arrested for affray and sectioned under The Mental Health Act. In 2007, he released his autobiography. He played one concert when he read extracts from the book and performed several of his songs. In recent years, much of his back catalogue (and other never released sessions) have been made available, often exclusively via his own web site.


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