One of the seminal figures of new wave, Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard) had several distinct phases to his career. Initially, he explored a jagged, guitar-oriented post-punk with his group Adam and the Ants before giving way to a more pop-oriented, glam-tinged musical direction that brought him to the top of the charts. After that had run its course, he refashioned himself as a mainstream singer, which enabled him to stretch his career out for a couple of years. Once it seemed that his musical career had evaporated, he made an unexpected comeback in the early ’90s as an adult alternative artist. During all this time, he recorded several great pop singles and had a surprisingly large impact on alternative rock.
Dirk Wears White SoxAdam Ant formed Adam and the Ants with guitarist Lester Square, bassist Andy Warren, and drummer Paul Flanagan in London in 1977. The group’s approach was more theatrical than most punk groups, incorporating sadomasochistic imagery into their concerts. During this time, the group’s lineup was fairly unstable, with Square being replaced by Mark Gaumont. The band released their debut, Dirk Wears White Sox, on the independent label Do It in 1979. Dirk was an ambitious and somewhat dark album, filled with jerky rhythms and angular guitar riffs, and elements of glam rock crept into Adam’s vocals; Adam re-acquired the rights to the record in 1983, reissuing it in a resequenced and remixed form, with the tracks “Catholic Day” and “Day I Met God” replaced by “Zerox” and “Kick,” as well as including a new version of “Cartrouble.”
At the time of its release, Dirk Wears White Sox wasn’t a critical or commercial success, and the band felt the need to rework their image. Ant hired Malcolm McLaren, the manager of the Sex Pistols, to help redefine them. McLaren dressed the band in pirate outfits and suggested a more accessible and pop-oriented, rhythmic variation on punk. Adam and the Ants followed his advice, preparing material for a new album. However, McLaren persuaded all of the Ants to leave Adam, using them as the core members of Bow Wow Wow. Adam Ant immediately formed a new version of the Ants, adding guitarist Marco Pirroni, bassist Kevin Mooney, and drummers Terry Lee Miall and Merrick (born Chris Hughes). Pirroni, in particular, became very important in the band’s musical direction, co-writing the majority of the songs with Adam, thus beginning a collaboration between the duo that would continue into the ’90s.
Kings of the Wild Frontier Driven by a relentless, driving beat and chanting melodies, the new band’s first album, 1980’s Kings of the Wild Frontier, became an enormous hit in the U.K., launching three Top Ten hit singles, including the number two “Ant Music.” The band’s success was helped by a series of visually enticing videos, prominently featuring the skinny, handsome Adam Ant decked out in pirate gear. Prince Charming, released the following year, retained the same formula as Kings of the Wild Frontier, spawning two number one singles, “Stand and Deliver” and “Prince Charming.” Even though the album was a commercial success, the formula was beginning to wear thin.
Adam Ant is available for corporate events, private shows, milestone celebrations (birthday, anniversary), fundraisers, festivals, and more.