Friday, March 6, 2015

Adam & the Ants

Who are Adam and the Ants?

Adam & the Ants
From Wikipedia and used in accordance with fair use policy.
Adam and the Ants and their flamboyant frontman Adam Ant were a huge influence in the early 80s and are often thought of as a New Romantic group.

It comes as a surprise to many, then, that Adam Ant started off as a punk, in fact the Sex Pistols played the support act for his former band, Bazooka Joe.

This web-page will take you through Adam and the Ants short, yet theatrical musical career.

Through the line-up changes, Malcolm McClaren's influence and achieving number one status right through until the demise and Adam's solo career.

Adam and the Ants - The Early Days

Adam and the Ants front person was vocalist Adam Ant. Born Stuart Goddard Adam Ant was the bass player for Bazooka Joe when the Sex Pistols played their first concert in 1975. The Sex Pistols were actually the back up group for Bazooka Joe. Just after this concert Adam quit Bazooka Joe in order to form his own group.

He started a group called the B-Sides who were a wash out before he joined forces with Lester Square (guitar), Andy Warren (bass) & Paul Flanagan (drums) and Adam and the Ants were born. It was the beginning of 1977, by May the Ants had their first gig and also their first change of line up with Lester Square leaving before they performed.

Lester was to go on and form The Monochrome Set. The Ants' new guitarist was Mark Ryan, he too was replaced later that year and in October Johnny Bivouac became the latest Ants' guitarist.

Adam and the Ants - Radio 1 Recordings - John Peel Show

Adam and the Ants made their radio debut on Radio 1's John Peel show at the beginning of 1978. They also toured around the UK with punk band Siouxsie and the Banshees(see the above photo of Adam & Siouxsie on the road). They got their first record deal in 1978 when they signed with Decca (the label notorious for turning down the Beatles).

Their first single was "Young Parisians" and was a flop, after this the band were dropped by Decca and went through more line-up changes before settling on Adam Ant (vocals, guitar), Matthew Ashman (guitar), Andy Warren (bass guitar) & Dave Barbarossa (drums).

You can actually still get Adam and the Ants Complete Radio 1 Recordings on CD from Amazon.

Dirk Wears White Sox

Adam and the Ants First Album

In late 1979 Adam and the Ants released their first album (under the label Do It Records) called "Dirk Wears White Sox". The album gained a cult following and actually reached number 14 in the album charts, but Adam wasn't happy.

Malcolm McLaren's Influence

Adam Ant decided to reach out to Malcolm McLaren who had managed the Sex Pistols and see if he could get them more commercial success.

At this time the line-up comprised of Adam Ant (vocals, guitar), Matthew Ashman (guitar), Leigh Gorman (bass guitar) & Dave Barbarossa (drums). Malcolm McLaren convinced the band members (except Adam) to leave Adam and the Ants and form Bow Wow Wow. So much for helping them reach the level of stardom that Adam had been after.

He did however make some suggestions regarding the image and it is claimed that he is responsible for them wearing pirate inspired costumes for their next album.

Kings of the Wild Frontier - Adam and the Ants 2nd Album

Another new line-up ensued, this time however it would become even more successful. The line up was Adam Ant (vocals), Marco Pirroni (guitar), Kevin Mooney (bass), Terry Lee Miall (drums) & Chris Hughes (drums).

The band signed another record deal this time with a major label CBS Records who already had big acts such as ELO and Pink Floyd on their books. Their album Kings of the Wild Frontier became a number one hit in the UK and the Ants were on their way.

Kings of the Wild Frontier
With this album they embraced the beginnings of the New Romantic movement that was emerging in the UK with their flouncy pirate-inspired costumes, while still showing their punk roots with a kind of "glam punk" look. Adam sported a white stripe across his nose and this was soon being copied by boys across suburbia.

I can vividly remember going Christmas shopping with my brother who would've been about 11 and he came downstairs sporting "the stripe," I was mortified!!!

Prince Charming

Adam and the Ants - Album Number 3

Adam and the Ants released their next album in November 1981. Hits off of this album included "Stand and Deliver" and "Prince Charming" and continued to cement their chart success, with both of these going to the number one spot.

Prince Charming
The videos off of this album showed the band camping it up with Adam playing his version of Dick Turpin (Britain's infamous Highwayman) for the song "Stand and Deliver." The start of MTV came at the right time for the band as they hammed up for the screen which was what helped to get them noticed in the US.

They finally had the commercial success that Adam had craved when he had turned to Malcolm McLaren in 1980.

Adam and the Ants - All Over Now

In early 1982 Adam and the Ants were nominated for a Grammy for the category of best new artist, however by March they had disbanded. Adam decided to pursue a solo career and released "Goody Two Shoes" on his first solo album, although the single was credited to Adam and the Ants.

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