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A Wild Nobility: An Adam Ant Exclusive By Simon Price
Simon Price , April 27th, 2010 11:37

After a 15-year period away from the music business Adam Ant is back in the spotlight once again. Simon Price meets a musical maverick and iconic star of the 80s to talk inspiration, madness and coming back fighting

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Something very strange has been happening across London clubland this Spring. The Antsignal has gone up over the city, and the Antpeople have crawled out from their mounds to hail the unexpected return of their insect overlord.

After a troubled and turbulent decade, one of the most iconic faces on the planet during the post-punk era is returning to active service, and in a most unpredictable and chaotic style. Over the last few weeks, Adam Ant has been turning up unannounced at assorted club nights for quick guerrilla gigs - a dandy highwayman in the underworld - and joining other artists onstage for surprise duets. He's sung 'Prime Mover' with Zodiac Mindwarp, 'Antmusic' and 'Leader Of The Gang' with The Glitter Band and Angie Bowie, 'Cars' with Gary Numan (dressed, somewhat randomly, as V from V For Vendetta), played a hit-and-run acoustic set at the Troubadour and an electric mini-gig at the Scala backed by a tough, well-drilled band (featuring two members of glam-rockers Rachel Stamp). He's now gearing up to return to the Scala on Friday 30th April for a 'Pirate Metal Extravaganza', his first fully public gig in 15 years.

He's on fine form when I meet him in the Kensington sunshine. Grizzled of sideburn and goatee at 55, he's still unfairly handsome with that matinee idol jawline and those icy blue eyes, a few tightly-wound plaits emerging from a Jack Sparrow bandana, itself shaded by a jaunty flat cap.

Adam's a fashionable half-hour late to meet me and his stunning new girlfriend Hayley, one of the drummers in his backing band (as well as a member of burlesque dance troupe Satanic Sluts, of Georgina 'Sachsgate' Baillie infamy), but he comes bearing gifts: bags of liquorice allsorts, prawn crackers and assorted other snacks to keep us entertained.

He's disarmingly candid and self-deprecating as we stroll towards his new home, and I remind him that we've met once before, way back in 1995, when I interviewed him for Melody Maker. "For the Wonderful album? Well, that went tits up…"

As we enter the elegant redbrick block of flats in which he's just taken up residence - "It's very Dirk Bogarde, very The Servant" - he tells me he's had to report to the local police station to inform them he's moved, a hangover from numerous run-ins he's had with the law, most notoriously the incident in 2002 when, after his appearance had been mocked by drinkers in a Camden pub, he returned and smashed the window with a car alternator, and began waving an imitation firearm. Ridiculing the Ant clearly _is_ something to be scared of.

Adam's flat itself is a cinematically cool mess. He hasn't had time to decorate and clean up, and all surfaces are piled high in a clutter of cultural artefacts: retro comic books cut up into pieces, books of burlesque photography and trash art, and so on. One corner is plastered with photos of Adam himself at various stages of his pop career, "so I don't forget who I am". Other walls are adorned with posters of Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now!, and Slash who, as a teenager, used to babysit Adam's then-girlfriend's kid during his spell living in Los Angeles. One mirrored wardrobe door has been turned into a shrine to Malcolm McLaren, whose funeral he will attend a few days later. A jacket designed by Ben Westwood, son of Vivienne, hangs on a hook. On an artist's easel in the window is an unfinished portrait of the Queen. There's an Ivor Novello award in a glass cabinet, won in 1982 for 'Stand And Deliver'. Steve Earle's on the stereo, and there are ciders in the fridge to welcome guests (he does drink, does smoke). As chaotic jumbles go, it's a beautiful one.

As I sit on a hastily-cleared space on the bed, Adam stands, paces and declaims like a cracked actor, using a super-thin cigarette to prod the air when making a point. He may have spent the last few years in and out of various mental health facilities, but the Adam Ant of 2010 bears little relation to the monosyllabic, zombie-like apparition from ITV2's The Madness Of Prince Charming documentary. He's funny, passionate and erudite, fizzing with ideas, theories and anecdotes, constantly shooting off at tangents. Trying to keep control of the conversation is like herding wasps. I don't always agree with him - his love of the Royal Family and Lily Allen - but the last time I encountered an interviewee with so thrillingly unpredictable a mind it was Courtney Love before she went off the rails. Occasionally, his face will freeze into deadly seriousness and he'll glare with solemn menace over the top of his steel-rimmed specs, then grin "Scared you, didn't I?"

This isn't the only time Ant the performer has scuttled from under a rock since Wonderful, his last involvement with the mainstream music industry. There's some pretty painful footage on Youtube of Adam yelping the Spice Girls' 'Wannabe' backed by Queen Adreena. Then there was the charity re-recording of 'Stand And Deliver' as 'Save The Gorilla', instigated with noblest intentions by sometime collaborator (and Morrissey sidekick) Boz Boorer, but which went unreleased for copyright reasons, and if truth be told, that's probably for the best.

Compared to those two instances, this comeback feels far more promising. There's a new album in progress, provisionally entitled Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar In Marrying The Gunner's Daughter, to be released on his own label, also called Blueblack Hussar. There's a single, 'Gun In Your Pocket', a pounding Stooges/Velvets number which gleefully attacks Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand, the Gallagher brothers and the music business in general, and a lullaby-like B-side called "Goofy Bunny", a tribute to McLaren.

The first thing I want to know is what's driving you to do this now?

AA: "A combination of two things. Money… that's a fucking big one, I haven't made a record for 15 years. I've got overheads. And, it's what I do. I write songs, I sing, I do records, I dress up, I just do it. I mean, I've done some acting, and acting's great, but an actor will jump through hoops. I fucking won't. Look, I'm a punk rocker. I always was, I'm not a New Romantic. But I was a punk rocker who wanted to get more than one fuckin' album. The Pistols were great, but they only did one fuckin' album. Not enough! Sorry!"

There seems quite a D.I.Y. punk spirit to the guerrilla gigging thing you're doing

AA: "What I'm changing is that I've gotta be able to get up and sing anything, anywhere, any time. Cos I don't take anything for granted. It's 10% inspiration 90% perspiration with me. I've spent a long time in mental homes getting pummelled full of drugs. When you're sectioned under the Mental Health Act, you don't have any control. You lose your passport, your right to vote, and they put drugs in you. And they blood-test you to make sure you take them. There's no throwing up, you've gotta do it. So anyway, I wanna get back into everything. It's like learning to ride a bike again. It's like a fighter who was a champion. It's like when Muhammad Ali got back in the fuckin' ring against these monsters: let's have a go!"

It's cool that you have nothing you're trying to sell with these comeback gigs, no greatest hits or reissues or book or DVD.

AA: "I don't blame people if they're doing that. I think people like Tony Denton (the man behind the Here & Now package tours) are saving people's bacon, because bands who have one hit can go back on tour and remind people how great the 80s was. But the 80s came out of the 70s. Kevin Rowland was in a punk band. I was in a punk band. Duran were kinda punky. Echo And The Bunnymen came out of that too. So something happened that impressed people enough to imitate it forever, and the Sex Pistols were the catalyst. But the good thing about catalysts is that you can go a different way. There's Picasso, and then there's Braque. Picasso was shit-scared of Braque. I wrote a song about Picasso being a thieving bastard. He'd walk around someone else's studio at night, then go home and perfect it. And I like that playful respect: 'I'm gonna fuckin' do it better.' But the Pistols was all Malcolm, really…"

People will be wondering which Adam they're getting in 2010. The punk Adam, the pop star Adam with the white stripe across his nose, the solo artist, or something else entirely…

AA: "I've decided this time I'm gonna be a fucking Action Man doll! (He holds up an actual Action Man.) It's an idiot one, but if he didn't have any clothes on, even though he's got no dick... Basically, physically last time people saw me I looked like fuckin' Orson Welles, going to the Old Bailey with a beard. My idea was if I dress up like Ernest Hemingway, they won't recognise me. That was the pressure I was under affecting my mind. Then again I am bipolar. What does that mean? It means I'm up and down like a bride's nightie. The reason I'm up and down is that to be an artist you have to have the dark side. After I was sectioned, I started to read. 'Cos when you're inside the nuthouse, they don't give you anything to do. You've got four walls to look at, and piss to smell, and you can't get clean, so you have to be very fucking disciplined. And I read [art historian] Sir Roy Strong's book The Spirit Of Britain. And I couldn't really read it, 'cos the pills mean you can't concentrate on one line to the next. But I thought when I get out, I'm gonna really fucking cherish everything I've got. And I looked back through my work. I'm an archivist: anything with my name on it, I've got. And you can have a go at me, you can say it's shit, that's your view. But you can't tell me I don't have the right to do it. You can say it's good or bad, but you can't say it's right or wrong. Because if it goes tits up, which it has on occasion, I pay the bill. In answer to your question, if I know what my next album is going to sound, look and be like, I'm then becoming a fucking machine. And I don't want to be a machine. So there will be a few surprises. Someone said to me once, I think it was Jordan, that the hardest thing to do is quit at the top. When you're fucking number one. And we were number fucking one…"

So, that's what you did…

AA: "Yeah, I thought 'Right, that's it, I'm going solo'. I didn't want to go solo, but the band had been working too hard. I've looked back through my diaries, and I had 11 days off in 6 years. But a) we were a punk band, and b) Paul Morley, fucking twat, Mr Prog kissing my arse…"

I don't follow…

AA: "Paul Morley, fucking message, you cunt: remember that shared review you did of Dirk Wears White Sox with Throbbing Gristle? And we both got 'berks that lurk in the corner of your psyche'. That cunt is now being commissioned by Sony to write my liner notes. So, you were wrong. Suck my dick. You're a turncoat. Go and write for Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Or go on TV and talk shit for three hours. That represents the old school. He's fucked. He's got no credibility. Fuck him. If I have a hit, he can suck my dick. You slagged me off. You tried to prevent me from doing anything. You hate punk. So, go and suck Joy Division's dick, and go and get your photo taken with Anton fucking Corbijn, in black and white so it won't show the weight you've put on, and become a fucking publican. Him, Peter Hook and Liam Gallagher should have a pub, like Coronation St: "Ee, fuckin' ave it!" But I won't be nasty, haha…"

Not a fan of Joy Division, then?

AA: "No! I actually had a song called 'Dirk Wears White Sox' that we used to play live, but we were told we couldn't put it on the album because it was based on The Night Porter, a Dirk Bogarde film about a sadomasochistic relationship between a concentration camp prisoner and a Nazi guard. What about Joy Division calling themselves that, and then New Order? They only got away with it 'cos they're fucking ugly and they look like brewers."

A lot of acquaintances and admirers seem to be concerned by this comeback. They're worried that you're not up to it. This sounds like a dumb question, but… how are you?

AA: "I'm alright! I'm back to normal. I'm excited by my work. The definitions of bipolar disorder are – look it up – sexually promiscuous, dressing up funny, behaving in an unusual manner, spending lots of money erratically, and just generally being a nutcase. Well, I don't know a fucking good rock 'n' roller who doesn't fit all the criteria, so lock everybody up! Lock Keith Moon, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix... who would you not lock up? Cliff, maybe? I'm serious. People don't know anything about mental illness. It's bipolar disorder. Churchill called it the 'black dog'. It was 'the blues' in the old days. Being 'nuts', 'Bedlam', call me a 'nutter'. I was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, a Victorian law, which upset me because I don't think I'm nuts. I did wrong, I broke the law, OK. But they made a big fucking display of it. I was sentenced in the court where The Krays were sentenced, which I thought was a bit out of proportion, maybe they wanted to make an example of me, but that's the law. I paid the price, now get the fuck off my back. Cos I am Adam Ant, I dress up funny, that's what I do for a living, The End. They dress up funny, but they've got a shit outfit. The French police have stopped me a couple of times, and after a while I've said to them 'Those uniforms are shit, ain't they? You should be looking like fuckin' Alain Delon and you're looking like Mr Plod.' The British Police look like Teletubbies. No sense of fashion. If they got Vivienne Westwood in to design them, then we'd have something. Might happen! She's a Dame…"

The shoes might not be too practical for chasing criminals in…

AA: "Seriously, though. European cops, they've got guns, but take away their guns and what have they got? Blokes in combats, looking like Robert De Niro."

So, does this mean you do or don't accept your diagnosis?

AA: "The one liberty I have left, along with deciding who I sleep with, what I fuckin' wear, what I vote, what I spend my money on, what job I do, is primarily what is going on in my mind. That's the last bastion of freedom I've got. They haven't taken away our freedom of thought. That's fucking dangerous. This is my work. Correct me if I'm wrong but I have been invited to meet Her Majesty The Queen, Princess Margaret, Diana twice, Charles… I wouldn't go and meet a fuckin' politician, you can stick No.10, but the Royal Family I like. I've got a tattoo of the Queen on my arm…"

And no safety pin through her nose…

AA: "What Jamie Reid did made a point, but I personally felt… I mean, round the corner from here there's a painting of the Queen with her eyes shut. What's that about? I'd put them in the fuckin' Tower! If you go to the USA, everyone's from other parts of the world, but if you go into a bar and say 'Fuck America', you'll get 'Pick a window, pal, you're fucking leaving.' And it could be a Polish American, a Black American, a French American throwing you out. Then the cops will bash you up and deport you. Anyway, that's how I am. Ask me a question, and let's have it out. Do you want some Quavers?"

Don't mind if I do. You have Romany heritage. Did that inspire your recurring theme of empathising with outsiders, whether its piracy, highwaymen or the Native Americans?

AA: "I suppose so. A lot of my mates are mixed race, or they don't know what they are – you're like 'Oh you're part Chinese, part Greek' or whatever – and there's a point where you don't want to know about your family… and then you _do_. I'm lucky because my grandfather was Walter Albert Smith, a Romany gypsy, born in a caravan in Oxford. There were things he taught me as a small child that I've actually taken as part of my breeding. Things like 'God always pays debts without money', 'If you lend money don't fucking expect it back'. But the main thing he taught me was 'Don't hit a woman'. He said 'If you hit a woman I'll fucking hit you', and I didn't want to be hit because my dad hit my mum, and my grandad went round around the pub and knocked all his teeth out and said 'Hit her again and I'll come round and do it again'. He was a strong man. He joined the army just to get a pair of boots in 1917. He went over the France, his mum got him out and he fucked off and joined the Navy. A strong guy. He never said much, but what he did say I listened to and it was very very simple to understand: basically work hard, enjoy yourself but don't take any shit. There's a line.

"So, Romany... that made me get into it, subliminally. 'I feel beneath the white there is a redskin suffering through centuries of taming…' What was that all about? Why was I into the Native Americans? Because it was an alternative to Christianity, with respect for nature and the idea that everything in nature was alive: trees, rocks... Plus they look fucking great, and they were tough and could beat you up. And they were brilliant. But then I like Clint. I like Clint Eastwood and I liked all that."

You do a quick Clint impression at the end of the "Prince Charming" video...

AA: "Yeah. The thing is, I want to have fun with it. I think you learn from those that went before and I don't think anyone has an original thought. In my first interview with The Face I went on and on, I was a very serious young man, about not having an original thought. Well, I did, but its an eclectic originality. People talk about genius, do me a favour there's five in a fucking century. Picasso, Stravinsky, Dali, the bloke that invented penicillin, Stephen Hawking. I'd have a job remembering more. A genius is someone who is going to do something that isn't in the book. Everything else is eclectic genius."

The G-word gets thrown too lightly.

AA: "Yeah, how many geniuses there are in music? Miles Davis definitely…"

I would actually say Prince, I really would.

AA: "Yeah, Prince, but then there was that article in Uncut about the whole scene he nicked that from, Parliament-Funkadelic. And I know for a fucking fact, 'cos Andre Cymone is Prince's half-brother and he produced Manners & Physique for me, that when 'Prince Charming' came out, Prince rushed out and bought it, and he was dancing around… and look at the costumes he wore after that!"

Speaking of your love of dressing up, the 'Prince Charming' era was probably the height of that, with the whole Errol Flynn thing. You must have been in your element…

AA: "Well, no. Because I look at Kings and that's the zenith, that's it. Because 'Prince Charming' was a product. It was close but no cigar. The thing is, it was rushed, we'd done 300 gigs, we were tired, we hated each other. We were sick of it. Basically we should have had someone say 'Listen guys, fuck off for six months and don't do music, do something else'. I wanted to do a solo album then, but I didn't because we had a record company who didn't make money when we weren't working. We actually had a contract that was for one album and four singles a year. You may have noticed, people say 'Oh, the 80s, you guys had so many records…', but if you didn't fucking deliver they got another album for free. I signed a contract in 1980, for £60,000 for ten fucking albums for nine per cent. Of which I had to fund everything ... er hello! That's another story, but I would advise anyone reading your article never, ever, ever fucking sign a deal with a major record company unless you've got 'Lube Up' on your fucking forehead."

I think you said once, maybe half-joking half-serious, that the music industry sent you to the loony bin…

AA: "No. That's not fair. I sent myself. I'm responsible. I didn't have to do those things. I could have turned around and done what a lot of bands say now, 'Fuck off, I'm not doing it'. It's easier if you're lucky to have a hardcore manager like U2 had or Led Zeppelin had: no one fucked around with Peter Grant around. I know, because he wanted to manage Adam And The Ants. But I didn't. Hayley will tell you, I'm doing fucking anything. I've signed every autograph I can, because Marc Bolan signed mine and he was so nice I remembered it. He looked great, like he was off the 'Ride A White Swan' record cover. He was perfect. And he signed it, and I thought 'Fuck me, if I ever become a rock star I'm going to do that', and I have tried. People say to me 'Oh, don't do that, you'll be here all night…' Like when I signed my book. There were kids coming in carrying everything, and you have got an hour, and I wasn't very well at the time, I was on very heavy medication so I couldn't even fucking speak, but you know I could do my autograph in a sec."

Did you enjoy writing the autobiography?

AA: "I had to do that for the money. I got divorced and I had no money, that was the problem, but on top of that, after the Wonderful album I'd got glandular fever, which is symptomatic of depression, and I had to pay for the gig cancellations then because no one else fucking pays for them. The record labels certainly don't. It had to come from somewhere and I had to do a book deal. Unfortunately, part of the deal was in-stores, which I would rather not have done in my condition. I couldn't move the muscles in my face. Sodium Valproate is prescribed for epilepsy, but if you look at the instructions... anyone taking any SSRI or anti-depressant, read the fucking small print because it will cover everything. And unfortunately for me, maybe because I'm vulnerable, I experienced every fucking symptom, including not be able to smile, dribbling, lack of concentration, sexual incont, incont...just forget about fucking, put it that way!"

That's a pretty terrible side effect to have.

AA: "You go to a psychiatrist and say 'Oh, I'm feeling down, doc…' and they give you an upper. 'I feel up', and they give you a downer. They just want you in the fucking middle because that's where you're easily 'Next!' because they're on a time limit and a budget. That's the fucking National Health for you. I've written a song about it called 'Shrink' on the new album. It's all about what I've been through. 'Shrink' is fucking terrifying and the way I will perform it will be terrifying, because it is fucking terrifying. People are out there rotting in shithouses, coming back from wars, they're gonna be fucked up. It's not so much them, they volunteer for that and I respect that. It's the families you know, the kids. I don't even want to go there because some people can't handle it. I want to talk about it on television to a politician, and I won't swear. I promise. On TV you've got kids watching. I want to do it at 7 o'clock in the evening. I'm too fucking angry, disgusted, degraded and fucking hurt to swear. I'll have my moment, I want David fucking Cameron when he becomes Prime Minister, or Lord Snooty or whoever he is. I'd vote for the Monster Raving Loony Party if it was me. Because they can't debate me.

"You can't talk about war to a guy who's been to Viet- fucking-nam, chopping people's lungs out, you can't fucking talk about it. And politicians don't. Winston Churchill was good bloke because he'd done that. If Vince Cable and these other people care about this country why aren't they standing for Prime Minister? They should have a coalition, get us out this shit. But what they need is charisma, and Obama's got it. Kennedy had it. Martin Luther King had it. Malcolm X had it. And you know what else they had? A fucking headwound. Dead. I don't want to do that. Fuck that. I'm not interested in politicians, because they suck dick. Huge fucking elephant dicks. They wear suits, not very good ones. If they were good suits I'd respect them but they ain't real, they're fucking plastic. Don't get me fucking started. Scared you didn't I? But I'll be on fucking TV one day, because I can act. Kennedy was trained. Kennedy came from a slave family. He was cursed by the voodoo. This is serious business you're going into now, politics. That's why I've always said, and you know this, I don't mix politics with music. This is an interview, we're talking about an album. But that is fucking close to my heart.

I'm a punk rocker, I'm a pirate metal rocker now because these guys, metal, they look great, they're sexy, they play hardcore and they don't give a monkeys. And they look like Hayley. And you. So why not, fuck them. No really, I'd love to go on there. I'd love Paul Morley, Liam Gallagher talking about style. Oasis have been ruling the roost, remaking Beatles records and trying to convince people it's not. They've got one fucking song, 'Wonderwall'. What else you got? I mean, Noel's OK but hey, you ain't fucking Miles Davies, you certainly ain't fucking Bryan Ferry and you aint Adam Ant, Charlie."

He's won some kind of poll in Q magazine for the best front man ever

AA: "Well in my view he's the best backman. I mean, I've got a Q Award, I don't give a fuck. I gave it to me mum. Q, I mean fucking hell it must have cost them all of 30 pence, they can stick it up their ass. Those ones up there, the Ivor Novello awards, they're the only ones I've got in my flat because they are for songwriting, they're Oscars. I've not met the man, I mean he's probably a very nice chap…"

No he's not, I've met him

AA: "Marc Bolan was lovely. Bryan Ferry was lovely. Michael Jackson was lovely. Liza Minelli was lovely. I'm dropping these names because I fucking met these people and they taught me something: Be nice. People that are really brilliant are really nice, people that ain't got a lot of mouth. So here you go Liam, you cunt. I'd like to have a fight with him whichever way he wants: physically, mentally I'd beat him in anyway shape or form, I know that."

Well, if anyone ever needed a slap…

AA: "Yeah but he's probably got a very big bodyguard, but that's alright because I've got Hayley. I mean even the Spice Girls offered him out and he wouldn't take it."

The Prince Charming era was rounded off by the single 'Ant Rap', which has to be one of the weirdest singles by a major artist ever to make the Top 10. Mediaeval hip-hop!

AA: "I'll tell you what it is quite simply. It was me committing suicide. The band has fallen to bits, we didn't even talk to one another. We had like three managers, one member brought drugs into the group and I wasn't having that. So basically I was making a point of saying 'Well, it's not about the music anymore.' I made a wonderful video, the 'Ant Rap' video is the best fucking video I've ever made; jumping out of turrets and shit, but I was just trying to kill myself. And it was an attempt to do a record that had no fucking music on it, and take the piss. And I'd heard about this rap thing and I did it and I paid the price. It was the end of Adam and the Ants. It was basically my grand finale saying 'There's nothing here anymore, you're not listening. You're still buying the cunt, but its shit. Well it's not shit, it was a beautifully-made record, and bold in that respect, but looking at it now, asking me thirty years later when I've had time to think, I shouldn't have done it, I should have had a break."

It felt like you were a band so invincible at the height of their power that you could release anything, and who's going to say 'Don't do it'?

AA: "Yeah, but I wasn't taking the piss because it cost a fucking lot of money and I would disrespect my audience, but looking as a writer it was basically based on Sweet: 'Are you ready, Steve?!' So it was all the things I liked, but it wasn't a grown up decision. I should have been more U2 about it. What they do is they don't change their formula. I know what their next record is going to sound like. I don't buy it because I hate them, but I like Edge, and I like the band. I just don't like fucking Mr Bono. (Does an Irish accent) 'Every time I click my fingers, an African dies.' Well, stop clicking your fucking fingers, then! I don't like his lyrics or what he stands for or represents, how he dresses or anything. But I do actually like the fact that they had the bollocks to last, which I didn't. You know even Billy Idol, some of the other punk rockers, they ain't been able to make much of a living. You can't put your arms around a memory, know what I mean? You can't just fucking live off that."

You must have been made offers in the last few years to do big shows?

AA: "Yeah, I've been offered the O2 by very nice people, and I may fucking do it if I fancy it. [The offer was for an earlier line-up including long-term collaborator Marco Pirroni.] But I was offered a staggering amount of money. Enough money to forget about everything. Enough to buy a house, buy a car, get an inflatable doll. You know the ones... really nice! But you know something, my arse puckered, and when my arse puckers it's 'No'. It would have been 'cha-ching' but don't fool yourself… No disrespect, but that's what a 55-year-old guy does if he's got nothing else. It just didn't feel right to me, and no disrespect because I will deal with division one promoters, don't get me fucking wrong but I want them to show me they care by producing a gig in a shithouse club and making sure the all the audience get treated well like they do in the metal scene. Like when I played with the Glitter Band and Angie Bowie, because Angie got the shit end of the deal. Because Angie was responsible for fucking Ziggy Stardust…"

You reckon?

AA: "Look, I saw Bowie a few months before he did that, at the Roundhouse supporting Genesis and Lol Coxhill, and he was a fucking dirty old hippy. Then a few months later on Lift Off With Ayshea, and it's another fucking planet. And no disrespect to David Bowie because he's a very good writer, he ain't as good as Bolan, nowhere fucking near and nowhere as good as Bryan Ferry either. Like Malcolm said to me, 'You won't learn nothing from David Bowie, boy.' And I thought about it and now I fucking know why. He's a thief, he's a vampire, and he probably don't like me, but that's my fucking view. I mean he pushes the envelope, but I was playing 'Heroes' to somebody, and yeah it's good, but you know he goes 'oooooh', that one note? Eno had already used that on a song he did with Robert Fripp and Brian Eno called 'Swastika Girls'. Own up, say 'I was influenced by…', but no. And Angie Bowie fucking made those outfits out of curtains in a squat. Nobody else, and what's she doing? You know? Bless her heart, that's why I wanted to play with her, because she's lovely and she's fucking good. Good luck to her, and the Glitter Band, even now they sound scary. I mean fuck me, it's perfect. And there'd be no Gaga without Madonna so let's put it in fucking perspective…"

I love Lady Gaga, though. You talk about dressing up, and she's the only person right now really doing that…

AA: "Yeah she's good, but Madge was doing that when I was doing it, you know? I saw Madonna outside the Music Machine before she even made it. I was doing a gig with the band in like '79. There was this chick outside from New York going 'I'm going to be a star' and it was her! And she's got some fucking balls you know? She's done as much as Dietrich did for fucking Hollywood stars. She's gone in and said 'Alright. I've been raped. Someone fucking stuck his dick in my gob in a back alley. I got up from that and I went in there and I had a big fight. And I won.' She fucking won, good luck to the woman. You know? And Gaga, great. Nice girl. What can I say. Because I know how hard it is to dress different every time. I do try to wear something different at all those gigs you see me at, but it's hard. You've got to buy something every fucking day. I understand Gaga because she's intelligent, good media worker, very good songwriter – almost kind of classical. She interests me. But Lily Allen is the best fucking lyricist in the last decade. That 'Oh and I lie here in the wet patch/in the middle of the bed…' I mean, I wish I'd fucking written that."

Can we talk about Live Aid?

AA: "We don't talk about Live Aid. No comment! [he laughs]"

Here's the thing. Nearly everybody who played Live Aid, they were all dinosaurs, playing their back catalogue, reviving their careers. Queen did it, everyone did it. But you played your new single and got a lot of stick for that.

AA: "The story of that is, it all started when I missed the Band Aid single they did when I was in America, and I was gutted. And I was back here in a play doing Entertaining Mr Sloane so I didn't have a band, but basically I got a call from Geldof saying were doing this thing, and would I come to Wembley Stadium and announce it? So I went to Wembley Stadium, came down on the train, did it. There was Geldof, a couple of geezers from Spandau, lovely. Elton John, fuck, there's another name. And I was just standing thinking 'Are we going to fill this place up? No.' But I was actually involved in it. Fine. So I thought I'll do 'Stand And Deliver', 'Antmusic' and 'Vive Le Rock' because that represents me, you know... And 'Vive Le Rock' was a fucking good song.

"Anyway, then I get a call closer to the time from the promoter, Harvey Goldsmith, saying 'Adam's not on the bill'. Which was kind of embarrassing because I'd been in the fucking colour programme. My manager Miles Copeland, who managed The Police, a great manager, mad as a fucking nine bob note but a fucking hardcore hillbilly motherfucker, he said 'What do you fucking _mean he's not on the bill?' I mean it's a charity event and all, but you know. And I was doing a play, I had other things to do and it was an experiment. Miles asks 'So he's not on the bill. Why is he not on the bill?' Turns out all the major acts realised it was going to be a big deal and wanted to be on it, so they moved all the times. So I said OK, but Miles just said 'If you don't put him on you aren't having any of my other acts you fucking need.' So then Harvey did like any fucking arsehole promoter would do, and he knows it because he apologised to me afterwards, and he can fucking take me to court. But anyway suddenly I'm back on the bill but I'm told 'You're doing one song that's all'. There was a four-piece band, and 'Stand And Deliver' and 'Antmusic' needed two lots of drums, so I did 'Vive Le Rock', a big fucking mistake but there you go. Then again I didn't know, no one knew it was going to be as big as it was. And by the way, everyone was told 'You've got three fucking minutes, there's a circular stage, and if you go over time, someone at the other end doesn't go on'."

There's so much more, about Daltrey and Townshend, Elvis and the Marquis De Sade, Gary Glitter and Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown and Berry Gordy, Macca and Jimmy Page, Dizzee and Pixie, Jamie T and Plan B, and sending champagne and stilton to the Courteeners. Adam seems to have relished getting things off his chest. "I enjoyed that more than probably any I've done in the last forty years…"

I happen to be carrying my wife's copy of his autobiography Stand And Deliver, which he signed for her in 2006. He asks me if he'd personalised it (he hadn't), and takes it from my hands to right the wrong. He begins covering it in graffiti, random rubber stamps of penis-shaped pigs, and a brilliant pen-portrait of his own face. "That'll be worth a fortune now…"

As I bid him farewell, I notice he's ostentatiously flicking a pack of playing cards back and forth between his fingertips. The meaning of this only becomes clear after I've left. I open the book, and under the dedication, he's written an apology. "Sorry I didn't do this before, but I wasn't playing with the full deck."

He is now.

Upon which optimistic note I was planning to end, but there's a bizarre coda to this story. The Friday after the interview takes place, Adam turns up at The Purple Turtle in Camden for the nine-year reunion party of Stay Beautiful, the glam/alternative club night I co-run with Adam's bassist David Ryder Prangley, and thrills the 300-capacity crowd by walking onstage unannounced for his latest guerrilla gig.

"Hi, we're the support band," he announces coyly. "This is punk rock for you, children…"before launching into 'Antmusic'. The realisation that yes, it's really him spreads through the room like wildfire, and through renditions of more obscure Ants numbers 'Beat My Guest', 'Red Scab', '(You're So) Physical' and Iggy's 'Cock In My Pocket', he visibly revels in the attention, playing kiss-tease with the front row, doing sudden dramatic drops behind the mic stand, taking his top off and smearing cider over his chest, and grinning like he's having the time of his life. Midway through a finale of 'Stand And Deliver', he cackles "I managed to get every fucker in the world singing something completely fucking meaningless", before leading the nonsensical refrain "qua qua, da-diddley-qua-qua…"

He later reappears to encore with 'Born In The UK', a rambling work-in-progress based on Springsteen's similarly-titled anthem during which, among other things, Adam accuses the police of complicity in the killers of murdered goth Sophie Lancaster evading jail. (In fact, the offenders are in jail at present, two with life sentences and three with four to six years.)

Afterwards, everyone's buzzing about what they've seen. Sadly, Adam doesn't feel the same way. I'm awoken at 9 o'clock the following morning by a phone call from Ant himself. This time, when I ask how he is, the answer is "Not great, Simon, not great." In fact, he's sounding very distressed. He's heard that two policemen entered the venue during his set, and is convinced that Special Branch are stalking him. He starts fretting over CCTV footage, and repeats the phrase "I'm a marked man", adding a telling "I'm not paranoid…"

While Adam may indeed be correct that police are keeping an eye on him, much to his anger ("It's over five years since I committed a crime…"), this doesn't appear to be the case here. I make a few enquiries and it turns out that the two officers were merely making the same routine visit to the Turtle they make every Friday and Saturday to check for underage drinkers. Adam isn't buying that ("too much of a coincidence"), and is convinced that they were noting down the "seditious" lyrics to 'Born In The UK'. It would almost be sweet that Adam believes pop lyrics are still considered so dangerous by the establishment - this isn't 1976, this isn't Thailand - were he not so deadly serious about it.

Suddenly, the concerns of his acquaintances don't seem so far-fetched and patronising after all. It can't be much fun living with this stuff whizzing around your head, and I too hope he's OK.

Then I re-listen to the interview tape. The phrase "up and down like a bride's nightie" leaps out. In the space of a week I've caught Adam on two up days and one down day. And, as another musketeer-shirted star once put it, two out of three ain't bad.

So, what are you gonna do? Strap him to a sanitorium bed? Put him on display inside a Perspex cube in the British Music Experience and forbid him from actually doing anything? He's a free man. For better or worse, this is who he is. This - "I write songs, I sing, I do records, I dress up" - is what he does.

He's Adam Ant again.

The Quietus would like to thank Ms Dayglo of Punk77 and Jonny Garrett for their help behind the scenes with this feature

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.

Miss Fierce
Apr 27, 2010 4:10pm

Oh. Dear. :-(

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Apr 27, 2010 4:33pm

who fucking cares? it's 2010.

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Andy Barding
Apr 27, 2010 5:39pm

The finest piece of music journalism I've read since Jeremy Allen's dismantling of Lou Reed. Fantastic!

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John Doran
Apr 27, 2010 5:40pm

In reply to deezer:

Well, I don't want to state the obvious but "a lot of people" seems to be the answer as he got offered the O2.

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Jann Venner of Rolling Stone Magazine
Apr 27, 2010 6:32pm

Fucking hell.

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Apr 27, 2010 6:45pm

Great interview! "I just don't like fucking Mr Bono. (Does an Irish accent) 'Every time I click my fingers, an African dies.' Well, stop clicking your fucking fingers, then!" ...that made me laugh

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Jon TheUndead
Apr 27, 2010 6:56pm

I Saw Him At The Scalla With The Glitter Band & He Was Back On Form.
It Is Great To See He Can Take The Piss Out Of Himself.
Good Luck To You Adam.

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Apr 27, 2010 7:56pm

Someone's got to save our Ant! Really, really excellent interview, though. I will be quoting "You won't learn nothing from David Bowie, boy," possibly forever.

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Madam Stan - Ant Lib Online
Apr 27, 2010 8:50pm

Hey Simon

Well done on one of the most insightful pieces of journalism on Adam Ant yet.

A great summing up, too. Too many people out there want to freeze the man we all grew up with in amber, hoping that he "doesn't do anything too embarrassing".

Ain't gonna happen.
And there's no point getting the "bride's nightie" in a knot over it.

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steve mcqueen
Apr 27, 2010 9:08pm

great interview, very truthful, and thouroghly enjoyable read! :-)

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Apr 27, 2010 10:12pm

he needs a reunion with Toyah!
I'm a huge fan of them bOTH!!!

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Apr 27, 2010 10:20pm

A truly great piece of journalism. As someone who has looked after a close relativewho has suffered from mental health problems I can recognise the signs
of someone who is clearly going through a manic phase. The way you write
clearly showed the creative phase mixed with the delusional and paranoid phase
and because of this I genuinely wish him all the best, whilst looking forward to hearing his new stuff.

I am looking to hearing and seeing him perform his new stuff.

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Apr 27, 2010 10:41pm

Great work, that raises questions about mental illness, its treatment, freedom and choice, and the role of the artist in society. They put their work and their emotions out there to bring something new into the world, and that takes bravery, and, sometimes, a kind of madness.

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Apr 27, 2010 10:43pm

In reply to MsDayglo:

...and there's some really funny lines in there. x

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Apr 27, 2010 10:47pm

In reply to Madam Stan - Ant Lib Online:

To be fair, MS, it's not "embarrassment" people fear, but real, physical danger. No-one wants to emasculate him or tame him, they'd just like him to be at ease, and lucid. How that's achievable is another question.

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Johnny Nothing
Apr 27, 2010 10:56pm

Manic for sure. I so wish I'd been at the Turtle gig. I know it's only rock'n'roll...

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Apr 27, 2010 10:59pm

WOW, a thoroughly amazing interview! I'm speechless!

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Uzume~In love with AA 1979-present~
Apr 27, 2010 11:03pm

“It is only too true that a lot of artists are mentally ill- it's a life which, to put it mildly, makes one an outsider. I'm all right when I completely immerse myself in work, but I'll always remain half crazy.”

Vincent van Gogh

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Apr 27, 2010 11:30pm

brilliant int what a genius adam is who else would come back like this, the real thing. hope you publish the rest of the interviw. superb

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Apr 28, 2010 12:12am

that was a great interview, adam fuck what other people may or may not say, what ever makes u happy and puts a smile on ur face u go and do it, i will be in the crowd at the scala on fri 30th, good nite or bad 1 g 4 it adam and be happy............

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edward przydzial
Apr 28, 2010 1:14am

In reply to Dan:

bono is a lying two faced douche bag hypocrite ask him about his damage to the development deal he is attempting to build in california at the expense of the environment and against the wishes of the people who live there... he's full of shit. he can stop snapping his fingers... guess what? they are still dying and will continue to do so. they have not stepped up to the plate of modern humanity and done their responsibility to develop and maintain their own continent... that is NOT america's fault, that is their fault. and it will not change no matter how many billions we dump down that rat hole. bono needs to shut his left wing progressive liberal pie hole. enough.

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Baby Jebus
Apr 28, 2010 1:21am

Great interview, though the poor sod is clearly on the edge. But a single slating Ross, Brand and the Gallaghers- that's only a McIntyre off the full set.

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Apr 28, 2010 9:39am

That was a great read and the last paragraph sums it all up for me.

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Apr 28, 2010 10:32am

simon you misunderstand, "on the third day" adam was not depressed; when he is he cant even talk. what youre getting are all the classic symptoms of the hypermanic phase of bipolar. every part of adams personality, good and bad is magnified. right now adam is like orange concentrate with no water to dilute it. when hes depressed its nearly all water. or another analogy is a painting which was fine but the artist kept going and overdid it. something near the middle is preferable but medication has to be changed incrementally because bipolar is an everchanging condition: like a train running thru a city and never stopping at the centre, but at least medication helps keep a person near it. its difficult for a creative artist as it dampens down their creativity but thats why its important to micromanage medication so that you stay the right side of "jump the shark."

the mere fact adam is smoking and drinking demonstrates to me he is hypermanic as these are mere symptoms; when he was back on an even keel he didnt have to 'give up' smoking, he just stopped. its like meeting someone when theyre drunk and assuming this is the real them. we all do and say things that we wouldnt normally when inhibitions are diminished, and mania has this effect. some people commit heinous crimes when manic, thankfully adam is not a drug/sex abuser but he is very vulnerable to being exploited and delusions (of grandeur), paranoia,and hallucinations dont help matters.

i urge everyone to accept and understand the fact that adam is bipolar; he wouldnt be adam ant without it; but the real adam is a gentleman not some foul-mouthed laddish person trying to outdo liam gallagher in being obnoxious.

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Apr 28, 2010 11:49am

Welcome back Mr Ant.......we missed you xox

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Damien DeVille
Apr 28, 2010 12:01pm

Excellent Interview Simon. Well done. I LOVE Adam Ant's Music and ATTITUDE.......It WILL be FANTASTIC when he's back at the TOP of the Charts........Mr Ant, you have my support 110%. Good luck from a fellow Punk Gothic Rocker

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Frankie Poullain
Apr 28, 2010 12:01pm

How come 'mad folk' are the only ones who talk sense?

Well done Simon, it wouldn't have been the same without you.

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Apr 28, 2010 12:06pm

I bought tickets for the Scala show as soon as I read about it on The Quietus. However, over the past couple of weeks the 'guerilla gig' footage has made me question whether Adam really is ready to get back on stage & relaunch his career. In the end I decided that he wasn't & that I didn't want to be part of exploiting someone who is obviously still very ill - so I sold the tickets (via Scarlet Mist before anyone asks).

This very well written feature leaves me in no doubt that I did the right thing.

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Matthew North
Apr 28, 2010 2:32pm

Hats off to you Simon, Excellant interview, Roll on friday. Matthew

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Apr 28, 2010 3:41pm

What a great interview. It's nice to see a writer really give a subject, especially one that's as much of a character as Adam Ant, the room to really ramble and go off on tangents and really say what's on his mind (even if the connections don't always make perfect sense) instead of just condensing it all down to a few quotes and writing an article around that.

I guess a great interviewer knows how to ask the right questions and then just let the interviewee run with it.

Fantastic piece.

I hope Adam Ant's able to make a proper go of it and find his rightful place in this future we find ourselves in.

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Apr 28, 2010 7:42pm

Ironic that he slates Oasis and Noel Gallagher because they win things like Q Awards. And then he goes on to say how wonderful Ivor Novellos are.

But Oasis has actually won 2 Ivor Novellos to Adam Ants 1. (although Noel turn one down because he didn't want to share it with Damon Albarn) plus they have been nominated for more.

Oasis have blown Adam Ant out of the wat in all categories.

Besides apparently the only thing that Adam Ant has won in 28 years is the Q award. Maybe he should belittle it. It's his only claim to relevance.

He's off his rocker!

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Apr 29, 2010 12:50am

A brillant article. Sadly the last time I read an interview with Adam like this was around the turn of the century and shortly afterwards he was taken away by the men in white coats and pumped full of happy pills.

He is clearly still very ill and I wish him well and hope he gets all the help he needs. Good luck Adam.

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Apr 29, 2010 1:01am

Bravo. Someone with something to say instead of the anodyne PC shite spouted by today's pop stars.

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Apr 29, 2010 4:49am

In reply to sushi:

Thanks for saying this, sushi. I've spent time with him, too, in past, and have witnessed the manic state come and go. Bipolar is such an unkind hand to be dealt. He is a lovely man dealing with a challenging sitch; I will always think on him fondly and wish him well.

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Apr 29, 2010 5:32am

I loved reading this. You can still see where he is dealing with his disease, but he sounds great. And I agree with a lot of what he has to say. I really hope to have a chance to see him live again. I have only seen him once, New Year's Eve 1993. Now THAT was a concert! In my top 10 of all time. It was an interesting bill. Village People (Don't laugh. If you've never been in the middle of 20,000 people doing the YMCA, you haven't lived.), Adam and Duran Duran. I've seen VP 3 times and DD more than 50, but Adam only once. I hope to fix that. Please come back to SoCal Adam! We love you!

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Apr 29, 2010 8:53am

Oasis has 1 song?!.....Adam Ant has 0 songs....The music is a fucking joke. What's next?...A flock of seagulls interview

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John Doran
Apr 29, 2010 9:07am

In reply to Hoho:

Ant has more talent in one of his perfectly manicured fingernails than gormless pub rockers have in their entire dreary career. The thing is: if you listen to the album tracks off Prince Charming, you can see that the Ants ended on a high. Forget Ant Rap, check out Scorpios, Pablo Picasso, Mile High Club, S.E.X. and you can hear a mind (well two minds actually) fizzing with ideas and possibilities.

After their first album (which was highly derivative - while undeniably very exciting) Oasis trod water for the rest of their lamentable career, concerning themselves more with wearing leisure wear to low rent nightclubs, beating up fat photographers and walking round like they'd shat themselves.

Flock Of Seagulls you say? I Ran is amazing. Wishing is amazing. What a great idea. *reaches for phone*

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Apr 29, 2010 11:02am

Why did anybody think this was a good idea?

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Apr 29, 2010 12:52pm

i urge all oasis fans and anyone else who is offended by remarks adam has made here to take everything adam sez with a pinch of salt; he is not "playing with a full deck" right now, contrary to appearances. a madman is always the last to know, because even sane people are easily fooled. dont bother trying to make sense of what he sez because thats the nature of insanity, it doesnt make sense. bipolar affective disorder involves mood which means that in a manic state, everything that adam may have a mild disdain for becomes vitriolic hate; at the same time he can profess undying love for someone he would might merely like after first meeting. take no notice of either extreme because at the moment adam cant help it and like anyone who is out of their mind (eg on drink or drugs) he is very vulnerable and has little idea of danger because he feels invincible right now. its a shame nobody has been able to intervene and get him back on medication, because what goes up must come down; and if history repeats itself he will end up having another psychotic episode and/or getting arrested, then spending six months in the psychiatric unit again, and going to the depths of hell with clinical depression.

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Apr 29, 2010 12:59pm

Brilliant interview. Happy to see Adam, alive and kicking ass ;-)

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Apr 29, 2010 1:14pm

In reply to edward przydzial:

That's The Edge, not Bono.

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Apr 29, 2010 5:02pm

In reply to sushi:

Sushi, a lot of what you say is correct. But, no-one, however close or loving, can intervene/get him back on medication; they can only advise and guide. He can only be forcibly detained and medicated if he puts himself or others in danger. In a way this is good, otherwise people would be sectioning their relatives for talking during TV programmes or whatever, and Adam does have the right to be a little mad if he chooses, but at certain points, "choice" becomes less clear.

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Chris Tinkham
Apr 29, 2010 8:53pm

A cracking read and very in depth. Yes Adam is bipolar and so what? When he's up let's celebrate with him and when he's down lets support him more. What I've seen of the group of fans I've met is it's not just a fanbase, it's a friendship and the love for him flows strongly. As my partner says " As long as Adam is happy and healthy I wouldn't mind if he never performed again, but if he wants to perform, even better!!" I've seen 30+ people drop everything at a moments notice to race to London for 30 minutes of seeing Adam on stage. One of the fans got her arm autographed and then had it tattooed on. Adam, the love still flows your way and long may you continue dressing up, singing and being amongst your friends.

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Bass demon
Apr 29, 2010 9:17pm

Yeah well done Mr Ant ,your like an old wobbling drunken brain dead Boxer having a pop at U2 and Oasis,U2 have written some amazing songs and are the biggest fucken band on the planet and Bono is fucken cool ,and at least he is trying to help poor people ,what Have you fucken Done?Granted Liam gallagher is a fucken twat and needs a good fucken hiding,Antmusic was great back in 80-82 but can you deliver something that will blow peoples minds,Lets hope its better than some of your more embarassing recent efforts.Great interview.

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Apr 30, 2010 4:33am

In reply to Bass demon:


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Apr 30, 2010 8:59am

I don't agree with him about joy Division, David Bowie or the royal family, but he's still cool.

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Tezlar Shaw
Apr 30, 2010 11:52am

In reply to Craig:

New Order Nazis?

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Apr 30, 2010 2:49pm

Adam's not only a victim of his bi-polar disorder but he also has become a victim of his dangerous obessions for endless youth and beauty a long,long time ago... He hasn't realized yet, that his fans have aged within the last 30 years - and he together with them.

Looking at the latest comments written underneath the new videos of his recent "guerrilla gigs" on YouTube, etc., his music (which is truly nothing more than a helpless attempt of what you may call "something which sounds like music") doesn't seem to be of any interest anymore at all.

It's all about how "sexy" he looks, that he "smiles again" and that "he's back again" - everything BUT his artistic work!

What we have here is the tragic result caused by his very own utterly high self-expectations (where he only can fail now due to his illness) and by a large group of people (not his loyal fans, BTW but some "wanna-be groupies") who are far more interested in shaggin' a "has been idol", a former "sexy poster motif" than being interested in brilliant music, a wonderful performance or a great gig. Blind admirers who apparently have lost all touch with reality - who are just even madder than their idol ever could be.

Viva la self-destruction!!!

The day Adam Ant will realize what he has done on stage so far and WHO his audience really is (a mindless applauding and cheering bunch, NOT at all interested in his artistic work) - all may end in a horrible tragedy and endless depressions for him as a former artist and genius.

Maybe even tonight...

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Apr 30, 2010 3:30pm

I wish Adam the best on his Scala gig tonight. A lot of people care about him and want him to do well. Whichever way tonight's gig goes, we the fans will still be there.

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Apr 30, 2010 9:34pm

In reply to Indy:

I agree with your comments re- youtube videos but anyone who is a member of any of the main Ant Forums knows the reality between fans is very much different. The 'fans' who post on Youtube are by and large people who maybe bought a song 30 years ago and have fond memories of a young and vibrant Adam Ant.
The discussions of the main forums however is very much different.
A majority are very concerned about his wellbeing just now and where it is going to end up. We have all seen it before in 2002-2003 when it became major headlining news and the signs are clearly there in this interview , excellent that is is btw, that he is displaying the classic signs of bipolar disorder. Sushi I think has outlined this better then anyone else I have read here or elsewhere.
As for Adam himself, I feel for him, I really do. It is so fucking easy for people to sit here and say he should take his meds and so on but put yourself in his place and what would you do? Seriously?
Dribbling, not being able to smile or have sexual feelings and your liberty taken away from you.
It is a hard one to call but as long as Adam feels he can control it to a degree, I give him my respect for being brave enough to face the world feeling free.
It is a crying shame he can't find the proper balance that the rest of us have though because much of what he said in this interview, manic or not, I agreed with and understood.

Adam - If you ever read this over, I wish you well man. Stay who you are but if you feel the need to take time out then do so and fuck everyone else.

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May 1, 2010 1:13am

A couple months ago I would have gone across the world to see him live. Can't read/watch any of this stuff anymore.

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Simon Price
May 1, 2010 10:47am

I thought the Pirate Metal Extravaganza was bloody great last night. A lot of doubters proven wrong. Maybe even worthy of the word 'triumph'.

With the possible exception of Kylie's comeback after beating cancer, I've never experienced a gig where there was so much love in the room with everyone desperately willing the star to do well, and Adam really rose to that.

His little monologues between (and during) songs were revealingly candid and very funny. He gives so much. The band were brilliant, I thought, especially considering that they largely had to wing it and follow their leader's whim. I could have lived without the pointless cover of "Shakin' All Over", and the organiser bloke who kept invading the stage, sexually harassing the backing singers and pestering Adam (to the extent that a very patient Adam eventually told him to fuck off and had him physically removed), but apart from that, the set was so, so satisfying. I had a real pinch-yourself moment seeing Adam Ant doing "Kings Of The Wild Frontier" in the flesh. (And having two drummers really made it.)

I could tell he was up for this from the start. He entered the Scala through the front door, not the stage door, and wandered through the bar shaking hands and posing for photos with everyone. When he saw me, he beamed "Alright mate? Follow me, let's go to the dressing room..." so me and Mrs Price dutifully trooped after him along with various other hangers-on, and the backstage area immediately turned into an aftershow party when the gig hadn't even happened yet. Realising that this wasn't a great idea, we quickly made our excuses and ventured back out into the public area to let them get on with it (but not before posing for photos ourselves, of course).

Songs I can remember (not necessarily in order):

"Cock In My Pocket" (Iggy cover)
"Get It On" (T. Rex cover)
"Red Scab"
"Beat My Guest" (or did I imagine that?)
"Goody Two Shoes"
"Vive Le Rock"
"Apollo 9"
"(You're So) Physical"
"Shakin' All Over" (Johnny Kidd & The Pirates cover)
"Stand And Deliver"
"Prince Charming"

We had to leave before the end, when Adam was reciting some poetry from a book, but I'm guessing they ended with "Born In The UK" and maybe one other...

Definitely another 'up' day for the Ant.

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AP Childs
May 1, 2010 5:47pm

In reply to Simon Price:

fantastic news! wish i could have been there. a great piece too. it's good to hear, despite the twinges, he seems to be firing on full cock again.

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randy ping
May 1, 2010 8:39pm

good on adam. keep on the chaos.

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May 1, 2010 9:16pm

In reply to Simon Price:

Thankfully Born in the UK didn't show up and to hell with it, I wish I was there. By all accounts the performance was top notch, reading aside which pissed off a few folk unsurprisingly.
I was Glad for Adam it went well and most of all glad for the punters, many of whom travelled from Europe to see this show.
It might be the end or it might be the beginning, Who knows but well done to Adam and to his band who have been sadly underrated despite immense pressure clearly and who performed admirably.

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May 2, 2010 12:16pm

In reply to sushi:

Sushi, you are spot on with your comments/analysis. I only hope that Adam's friends can have some influence; I agree that he is very vulnerable currently and I only wish him well and to stay well.

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May 3, 2010 11:43am

In reply to sushi:

Hey Sushi,
I really do appreciate your comments! You are one of 3 who really seem to care -my opinion.
New CD, new gigs, new "ememies", new flat, new girlfriend

Clearly manic phase, but leave him any freedom to express himselfe and give him every support to drop softly, but PLEASE someone keep him from ridicule. He´s still my personal alltime testosteron-packed wild-nobility-dandy-HERO and I reallly do like to see him perform but not with that slightly precarious grin, showing false strands of hair, kind of hiding his greatest treasure, namely, his eyes(and noone, except Mr Price, at least "commented" his new privat life as "stunning" so far, but a 182cm-22 years old cheap-blonde, wannabe-starlet, burleske-dancer, fire-eating, talent-free-drummer?!
(also my opinion, but

Thank you so much Mr Price for this fantastic interview

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May 3, 2010 7:04pm

In reply to ms:

The BEST interview ever of AA - and I have read them all
However - MS - I totally agree with you on every level - but as you know I have seen it all and my considered verdict is that HE IS HAPPY - and there has been so much 24carat gold plated unmittigated SHIT for this fella - so what - be manic, enjoy the 22 year old - it's a moment - If we cannot live with that - well really that's our issue - hang with AA and that's it -you and I LEARN TO LIVE WITH IT
x B

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May 3, 2010 7:23pm

So that was you and your wife - I wondered who the other 2 grown ups in the room were !!! - hello - pleased to meet you - almost - to much youth for my comfort -I too left once the unpredictability of it all became apparent- the best bit was being tweeted as Sarah Stockbridge - compliment of the decade !!
x Bridget

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The Bloke
May 3, 2010 8:22pm

The guy's brilliant. There are loads of crazy people in the music business. Iggy Pop, Morrissey etc. They don't get the shit Adam does.

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May 4, 2010 2:49pm

In reply to bsidesbaby:

I think this is an interesting read, although I did feel somewhat guilty for intruding... poor adam, he is ill, we all know he is ill and while it is nice to see him apparently happy and med-free, I worry what the true cost of that is. He has collected alot of people of late who make me worry. I just hope he is safe and remains that way.

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May 5, 2010 1:57pm

This was a very informative article for me due to the fact that i live in Canada.I'm a HUGE Antfan and had no idea he'd been making appearances of late or that another album was in the works. Thank you for informing us on the other side of the pond!! Wish you could have inserted some recent photos-do you need a photographer?

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Martin Castro
May 6, 2010 7:17pm

god save adam ant. welcome back! M

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Craig Farr
May 8, 2010 11:08pm

Fantastic interview!!

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May 9, 2010 4:39pm

well done on a great read,, to Adam I wish you well and hope you are enjoying what you are doing,,, I only hope that you will be playing more gigs, and this time the tickets won't be sold out before I have the chance to buy one ,,, keep doing what you do,,, maybe you could do it in Norfolk lol xx

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Kid Circus
May 9, 2010 7:38pm

Great interview, made me laugh out loud!

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Darren Stuart
May 10, 2010 9:09am

A very funny, frank interview. I've taken the time out to check out the Youtube footage over recent weeks. It's very good to see he's getting out there. Can only help him in the long term with his bipolar, and old Ant fans like me (30 years and counting) fully appreciate that he's doing all he can to provide a show when he does it. I've not been lucky enough to attend any of the shows, but I do hope he makes time to do a full national tour. He was gonna play down here in Brighton back in '85 supporting the Vive Le Rock' tour, but that never happened. Same year Scritti Politti pulled out of their tour as well. What a bummer that summer was!!!

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May 11, 2010 6:49am

In reply to The Bloke:

What are you talking about? Everyone rips into Morrissey, and for good reason. I love them all, though.

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lorraine rae
May 13, 2010 8:23pm

good luck adam with your album shame about what happened in portsmouth ,but you are welcome here even though a small amount of people are idiots here .wish you well and with your new album

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May 14, 2010 8:11pm

What a kook...but I still love his old music. I hope we don't read about him committing some weird crimes in the near future...although I get the feeling it's going to happen.

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May 15, 2010 5:57am

"as well as a member of burlesque dance troupe Satanic Sluts"

Oh no, he's hotter than that !

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May 15, 2010 6:33am

"I love Lady Gaga, though. You talk about dressing up, and she's the only person right now really doing that…"

Oh Please


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May 15, 2010 6:46am

"Oasis have blown Adam Ant out of the wat in all categories."

Oasis are okay but a bit laddish and mainstream, Adam rules them

Let's hope he pace's himself a bit though

still sexy

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May 15, 2010 6:47am

In reply to deezer:

And ? What a fucking stupid comment !

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May 15, 2010 6:51am

In reply to Hoho:

You're clearly missing out on soething if you don't see the significance of him

You probably listen to shite wishy-washy guitar bands

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May 15, 2010 6:58am

In reply to Bass demon:

Jeez, Adam is hotter than them all together and makes great POP with an anarchc twist.

Shut up you boring twat geezer, we need more sexy guys with feeling, not lameass boring farts with the same ol same ol guitar twaddle

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May 15, 2010 7:03am

In reply to Indy:

He's good and sexy (and by good I mean artistically). I agree that he needs to look after hiself but he does have it (yeah, such a bad thing to talk about a persons sexiness, oh shame shame, oh the shame *snore*), he has the talent and the sex

Just because 16 year olds relate to something else, doesn't mean a man can't get up and do his thing, and it having merit....

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May 17, 2010 12:56pm

What a fantastic read. I was a ten year old when 'Kings' was the first album I bought. I've grown up buying everything this man has made and counting the days between each album. The news he's back recording (after 15 years) was great news but something doesn't feel or sound right and this interview confirms it. He sounds ill and the YouTube snippets of his comeback don't sound good. I've got everything crossed that this album will be good and he gets some success again that he deserves, but I hope it isn't at a price...

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May 19, 2010 2:20am

In reply to azzeroo:

A most excellent piece . I so want him to play our store. Funny thing is him and Joy Division pretty much formed me musically. Funny how he hates them.

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May 19, 2010 6:30am

In reply to :

@ UNKNOWN (comment of May 15th, 7:03AM)

You are giving me proof that you are one of those "fans" I have mentioned in my first comment - or you are missing my point completely...

Just watch the "guerrilla gigs" (does "Portsmouth" ring a bell???) on YouTube and try to spell the word "talent" again, looking at the "artistic value" of his recent performances...

You might choke on it!

And please don't you tell me that this is "punk"...

Oh, and btw: Have you read Marco Pirroni's comment on the recent events on AR?

You should - the man tells the truth!

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Howie van Zanten
May 20, 2010 6:51am

In reply to Indy:

I have always appreciated his courage! He definitely needs some vocal training. However, he enters the stage again - but no-one can expect the "pirouetting, highkicking thighslapping cruiser" anymore ...

@indy: where can marco's comments be read?

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May 20, 2010 12:29pm

In reply to Howie van Zanten:

Marco's comments have been removed, as they were meant for a private members' forum only and could be misconstrued. The two are like family (a wild nobility) - which means they don't always see eye to eye, but there is a bond and Marco is always supportive (practically and emotionally) when needed.
Adam is currently in hospital, but is well and in good spirits.
Don't believe any wild gossip over the next few days, all there is to be known has really been said on this page, or between the lines. x

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Howie van Zanten
May 20, 2010 2:32pm

In reply to MsD:

Thank you very much for the information. Well, these two guys have made many of my friends and me both happy and angry in our early teens, though I have never had the chance to see them live on stage (they rarely toured Germany). Not being a "mindless, applauding" admirer I am convinced, Mr. Ant hasn't already said and done everything. 2010 started with good news for old and new (there are some, really) antpeople. I wish him all the best, whoever he collaborates with ... ;-)

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May 20, 2010 3:09pm

In reply to Howie van Zanten:

I never have expected Adam performing just like in the early 80s - but I have no doubt at all, that Adam Ant himself will notice the lack of the artistic quality of his recent gigs with consternation and disbelief once he has recovered from him manic state.

Adam Ant is a huge part of my youth and of my taste in music - for me, he is as important as The Beatles, Elvis, The Sex Pistols, The Doors, etc.

Therefore, it is really hard, sad and tragic to witness, that a lot of mindless admirers (NOT the true Antpeople who really do care about him...), people who are just blinded by his "sexiness", don't even want to realize, that he obviously isn't in good health.

Adam Ant is a genius!

And I rather would love to know that he's in good health again than seeing him standing on a stage or in a recording studio, being in a horrible state and pleasing a crowd that doesn't care at all about him...

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May 20, 2010 3:39pm

In reply to Indy:

you wrote "but I have no doubt at all, that Adam Ant himself will notice the lack of the artistic quality" - well, I hope so! And a lack of self-criticism is always the death of artistic development, may you be 16, 55 or 83 years old. And I hope, he gets a chance to improve his performance in front of the people, not as a "legend", not as a "freakshow" but as the outstanding artist he still is. And that may take time ...

btw: I 100% agree to your statements! Being humble and uncritic does not mean being a "fan" ...

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Howie van Zanten
May 20, 2010 3:43pm

In reply to H:

... sry, it was MY comment! Though I use a stagename, I don't comment anonymously :-D

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May 22, 2010 10:37am

In reply to Howie van Zanten:

Just heard the sad news that Adam is back in hospital...

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Republibot 3.0
May 25, 2010 2:15am

Just out of morbid curiosity, has *anyone* ever heard any outtakes from the album he was working on immediately after "Wonderful?"

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May 26, 2010 3:54pm

Oh Adam. Love him so. I have been thinking about him daily since finding out he's back in hospital. Really hoping he can settle into some sort of creative happiness without so much chaos. Not sure if it is possible to have one without the other for someone like him. I just wish him well.

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May 26, 2010 3:58pm

In reply to sushi:

Also - I agree with sushi's comment. Adam sounds completely manic in this interview.

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Felicity Buchanan
Jun 4, 2010 3:39am

To Simon Price, in particular,
I wanted to let you know what a sensitive and well-done interview I thought this was. You let Adam say whatever he needed to say, even if it wasn't a direct response or it seemed like herding wasps, yet you kept a point of view, too. I've been an editor for most of my working life, and I know how necessary it is to edit out the dross in an interview. Sure, it's easier to go with the flow online than in print, but your talk with Adam is still fabulous.

I hope so much that he finds an equilibrium that works for him. I understand depression all too well. Medications suck, because being a zombie isn't a life worth living. And sometimes, when you strip out the pain, you have nothing left to give, especially if you are a creative person.

Which Adam is, almost without peer. I hope he knows how immensely talented he is and how much his music means to people. It's made me sad and happy for years (and I'm roughly his age).

You may not like us now, but you will.

We always will.

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Victoria Bettelheim
Jun 12, 2010 1:55pm

Thank you for such a frank and honest account. It shows that he was about to go again which is distressing - I have friends who suffer who bipolar. It is sometimes hard to keep up.

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martyn goodacre
Jun 19, 2010 12:16pm

Thnaks that was a fabulous interview.
Ive had the "up and down like a bride's nightie" experience with him and its sad but he handles well.
At least he knows he's bonkers.

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Jul 2, 2010 2:39am

Excellent feature, Adam is highly talented, a pure original. I wish him every success with all his activities.

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Howie van Zanten
Jul 13, 2010 8:03pm

In reply to Eve:

All the best to the man who gave so much joy to all of us ...

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Rob Thompson
Jul 23, 2010 4:44pm

Phenomenal piece of journalism and brutally honest (usually a misnomer when those two words are used in the same sentence). HUGE friend of and fan of Adam's and ALWAYS will be! Written by someone who actually CARES a crap enough to ask the right questions in order to paint an accurate picture of the subject being interviewed! THANK YOU Simon, and THANK YOU ADAM.. for SHOWING THE WORLD.. that ridicule is NOTHING (0) .. and NOTHING TO BE SCARED OF!!! WE <3>

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Jul 27, 2010 1:14am

In reply to Tezlar Shaw :

No he said the name was, Joy Divison's was from a book by a holocaust survivor about prostitutes in the death camps,New Orders cos it sounded good, the didn't know Hitler had said it Mein Kampf, they aren't nazis, they were trying to shock in their early days and it kinda worked but were too low-key.

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alan wheater
Aug 1, 2010 12:58pm

very enlightening, he seems a decent guy, whos been thru the mill, but he had his 15 mins of fame, and it would be naive to think he could reach those heights again. he's not my cup of tea, but i wish him all the best for his future endeavours.

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Aug 3, 2010 4:18am


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Aug 11, 2010 6:03pm

Thank you so much. Very deep. Hilarious and inspiring. Still got a great personality. This is whats left behind once were done here. Life and peace. X

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Liam Curtin
Aug 17, 2010 1:49pm

What a fantastic piece of writing. As a big Adam Ant fan it was great to read of the 'guerilla gigging', though I have to admit I'm rather jealous of the people that saw Adam perform. Sadly, the only time I had the chance to see Adam was on the Here & Now tour that he had to pull out of. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to see him live one day.

Great to hear the David Ryder-Prangley is playing bass with Adam. Rachel Stamp were such a great band, I was a fan for a long time (since the 'My Sweet Rose' single') before I found out that David was in the same class as my brother in school, my Mum worked with his Mum at one point and my Dad had also worked with his Dad at some point apparently! Small world! Anyway, I got into Rachel Stamp after hearing Adam Ant mention them and then seeing them play at the Big Weekend in Cardiff. I've seen them many times since. I'm going off the point a bit here but I thorougly enjoyed this sensitive, well written article.

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Aug 20, 2010 8:10pm

In reply to sushi:

oasis are shit so there.

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Oct 2, 2010 9:40pm

Wow what a read as a big ant fan I just wish him all the best and I only wish I could go to the gigs to support him but due to health reasons I can't but if he's got the energy he used to have I can only say what a show it would be as for the illness like others on here have said support the bloke he's human after all. Adam If you read this I love you and am thinking of you

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Nov 9, 2010 8:42am

In reply to Indy:

There are some who see the underlying messages even he may not see. The checkered floor on the video, the cross & bones the taking from the rich & giving to the poor action and the lyrics of many of his songs. There's a theme of rebel independence that runs through all of his look, style and lyrics. That's brain washing that the viewers could use in today's dead head society of mindless corpses.

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Dec 4, 2010 12:30pm

I care, Adam Ant is a legend. Great article, I wish his book had been more like this.

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Joe Black
Dec 8, 2010 7:42pm

BRILLIANT article, best I've ever read about the legend.

And, deezer, I DO. And many others who've been inspired by this pioneer of rocknroll.


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Dec 18, 2010 9:05pm

Great. Looking forward to the new LP. Long live Adam !!

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Dec 20, 2010 3:55am


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Dec 27, 2010 9:22am

Excellent interviw, very interesting with Adam being so eloquent and frank about his life and ideas. A big difference in presentation from his book which I found very flat and difficult to read. I went to the gig on the 17th at the Electric Ballroom amd found a good return to form even though it was poorly attended due to the inflated ticket price, I had a great time but there seemed to be a fair bit of resentment around that! The laat time I saw him it cost £2.50 I still have the ticket..He is what he is, if his mania feeds his creativity then how is that a problem? I have always thought people who are on the fringes of 'normality' are always the most interesting and the ones I keep coming back to. Safe defined limits to someones character are hugely dull. Once a punk always a punk...

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Jan 19, 2011 4:01pm

That interview was awsome!

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Shannon Wood
Mar 1, 2011 1:47pm

Thank you Simon. The article brought tears to my eyes. I am an Antperson still it seems. Have not heard what's become of Adam since I left London in 2002. Antmusic is the banner...

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Mar 29, 2011 12:44pm

Really interesting & sensitive portrait of someone with bipolar disorder, as others have said you could have edited out a lot of stuff here but it would have lost his "voice". Right from the moment you described the way he "stands, paces and declaims like a cracked actor, using a super-thin cigarette to prod the air when making a point" it was patently obvious to me that he was going through a manic phase; the intensity, energy and the way that he leaps around from one topic to another, making connections and going off on tangents, are absolutely classic mania. I find some of the comments on here very patronising, as though someone with bipolar should really be staying safely indoors away from the big bad world

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Jun 7, 2011 1:55am

How does Price get writing gigs? He's fucking shit, man.

He uses words like COOL and DUMB, and he's - what? - late 40s? He looks like a prick too.

Shallow fucker.

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Jun 7, 2011 1:58am

In reply to :

I know. Price is sad.

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Jun 7, 2011 8:02pm

Excellent article! I agree with AA that many people don't seem to realize that genius/creativity and mental illness often go hand-in-hand. Bravo to him for taking back his life, his health, and his career!

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liz sugden
Jun 8, 2011 1:06am

the interview is a great insite in to adams mental state,we have been to his recent gigs and he is on top form got it just right, cant wait for his new lp and single hope he stays well enuogh to get them released and do a tour to go with it, in bigger venues this time , we love u adam .ant music for sex people xx

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Jun 17, 2011 4:44pm

Brilliant article, thank you. xxx

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Jun 17, 2011 11:34pm

Viva le Ant!
Why be such a dick at the end, Simon?
Because you can?

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Joseph Woby
Jun 21, 2011 12:57am

A human story, movingly told, and without condescension. Caught the voice just so, gave the subject room to breathe and history time to settle. Well worthwhile.

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Jul 1, 2011 6:51am

Saw his show in Exeter. Wonderful experience. Great article. Stay strong, Adam. You are loved and treasured for who you are unconditionally.

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Oct 29, 2011 1:45pm

Loved reading this
Made me a little sad that I wasn't alive when he was at his height :/
Still looking forward to the 2011 tour !!!
Good work Adam xx

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Sher Sher
Nov 12, 2011 1:54pm

Great interview! I loved Adam in the 80's & I still do now. Sure, the guy has some serious problems but it's understandable with everything that's gone on his life. My kids (who r 7 & 9, a girl & boy) absolutely adore him. Give them a choice of what they want 2 listen 2 and it's Adam Ant EVERY TIME. The guy has a fantastic mind and is not some 'manufactured piece of shite' that has no original idea themselves. Rock on Adam x

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Shanti Deva
Feb 15, 2012 3:46pm

Wow. What a brilliant interview. I had just finished watching Adam on 'Gordon Street Tonight' (in Australia), and felt compelled to do a Google search for articles about him...and I'm so glad I found this one.

Thank you, Adam, for being so honest about your mental illness. I hope you can appreciate just how courageous and inspiring you are.

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Maureen Anderson
Apr 12, 2012 7:54am

Adam down under - Adam's tour in Australia, by all accounts has been highly successful. I can understand people being concerned about mental health issues but like Adam says - living life like a zombie is not worth living. Sushi says that the disease has to be "micromanaged". That sort of tells me that the process is not that good and as a result the only way to never be "manic" is be a zombie. Personally I think that Adam is coping better than he's given credit for. The style of interview he gives and the dressing up etc is him adopting a persona. He knows it's a persona and it's that persona fans paid to see in Australia and loved. Hardly the actions of a person who is out of his mind. I read he was "sectioned" in May yet had not committed an unlawful act. Sectioning can occur on "perceived" intent: that's scary!

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May 2, 2012 6:06am

This is the best damn interview I ever read of Adam Ant in the last 30 years. Profoundly better than the sterilized pablum in mainstream music media such as the excreble Contact

Thank you Simon Price for not homogenizing nor sanitizing Adam's acerbic, charming, terrifying rant in your editing process. Part of Adam's alluring, hypnotic charm is the man CANNOT BE TAMED. Adam's mind is like a magpie's nest.

When he is hypomanic or full blown manic, he's tantamount to a whirling, twirling, volcanic overwhelming sack of rats and cats in a burlap sack which exploded. Yet despite his legendary public tantrums, epic promiscuity, embarrassing humiliating antics resulting in forced commitment/sectioning, despite his tangental thought process, racing thoughts, grandiose flights of fancy - there is decency, humility and yes, even a gentle sweetness. Adam's furious, blinding, grinding fury to proclaim truth boldly demonstrates there is so much goodness in this man worth redeeming. Without a madman like Adam, the world would be dross.

The cranky-ness and irritability he manifests with his squabbles and public feuding with Liam, Bono, record company executives or whoever he's angry at, is a manifestation of hypomania escalating into full blown mania - and yes, he definitely is on the arc of paranoia insofar as his fear of the the cops at the pub just checking to see if there were underage drinkers present.

Yet, Adam's dead correct about how appalling what allegedly passes for a mental health system is. Psychiatrists...even the good ones are basically legalized drug dealers. Some shrinks are crazier than their patients. I'm 57 and have been seeing psychiatrists off and on since I was 22. Big Pharma psych medication is "cost effective" in terms of the business end of running the mental health system. It's the cheap, superficial and easy way to have the patient sit with a shrink for 5-10 minutes once every month or two for a medication anaylsis. In America, psychiatrists can see 20 patients a day, for the 5 minute medication analysis - bill insurance $250.00 a session - quite easy to be a millionaire, writing prescriptions all day long in a high volume, mental health medication mill. Psychiatrists are trained in medical school to deliberately tune it out when patients express their concerns about physical side effects. Shrinks consider it "normal" even if you have severe bowel incontinence and are shitting in your underpants from Valproic Acid Depakote contraindications. One shrink told me "learn how to be comfortable with your discomfort even when you're walking down the street and your bowels blow and you poop in your panties....feces dribbling down your leg, while walking down the street in public"......nope, I'm NOT making this up!

It is VERY expensive and labor intensive to provide ongoing, long term cognitive therapy, classical psychotherapy, recreation therapy and art therapy. In America, even if you do have good health insurance and a clinical diagnosis of mental illness it is almost impossible to get health insurance to pay for counseling. At best, most American health insurance will only pay for 6 counseling visits. Even if you're having a full blown nervous breakdown with fantastic health insurance coverage it is extremely difficult for a patient to get VOLUNTARILY admitted to a psych hospital in America. It sounds like involuntary commitment/sectioned laws in the UK are the opposite of how it is in America. It's really hard to get admitted to a psych hospital in America, even when the patient WANTS to go there voluntarily and has great health insurance coverage. For the 33% of Americans who do not have health insurance, and a mental illness there are next to no resources. Particularly after September 11th and 2008 Wall Street stock market crash, government funding cuts eliminated the already inadequate free mental health clinics. I live in the largest city in California. California is the 9th largest economy in the world. The free govt. run inpatient psychiatric hospital in my city was shut down 2 years ago due to funding cuts.

Most psych hospitals don't have ANY art/recreation therapy. The day revolves around taking high dosage of extremely strong pharmaceutical psych meds, meals, some Community Meeting group therapy with a lot of "cross talk" very little private individual therapy and way too much unstructured time watching TV.

I am taking this opportunity to publicly "out myself" as a person who has lived with bipolar disorder 57 years. I was in voluntary out patient mental health treatment dating back to my teens and early 20's but didn't even get properly diagnosed until I was 34. The signs of my behavior was clearly bipolar but the frickin' shrinks and therapists couldn't even realize I had clinical depression. It was a relative who figured out I was bipolar and from there I went and TOLD a shrink my diagnosis - then finally at least I could name my pain, claim my pain, it had a name and I could start from that basis to address my own self-mastery of my illness.

I was compliant with the medication treatment plan and kept taking psych meds for 12 years - over 60 meds and that crap nearly killed me. I still kept taking the meds even when it was the 7th level of hell - but like Adam, I realized I'd be dead from all the meds the shrinks gave me. It's tantamount to being a human dart-board. The psychiatrist throws an arsenal of medication at the patient - if one med doesn't work, they shrink keeps trying more meds - you wind up with side effects and the doctor gives you more drugs to deal with those side effects and it snowballs, until you die of cancer or a heart attack from all the petrochemical crud lodged in your body. Polypharmacy - lots of different meds in high dosages screws up your physical health...I've read some comments on this forum advising carefully tritrating the dosage to be adjusted to the bipolar patient's mood swings. Honey, I tried the titrated dosage scene for 12 years and I wound up a much sicker person than BEFORE I was diagnosed.

Like Adam, I was also on Valproic Acid/Depakote. I only took it for a month and had to quit because it almost gave me a full blown heart attack. It took 7 years to physically heal from the horrific side effects it caused. I was on Lithium for 10 years and wound up with toxic blood levels. Lithium poisioning can kill a person.

The egregious side effects of psychiatric medication can be worse than the mood swings of bipolar disorder. I understand Adam's decision to quit taking medication, after many years of his diligently trying zillions of different meds which didn't work to eliminate the mood swings - but just flattened him out to the frozen wasteland Zombie state.

It gets really tiresome when I hear comments from people who don't have a mental illness and do not understand the disease when they just keep saying "oh take a pill, stick with your medication". They have no fucking clue. There is a cultural phenomena which many people have bought into that medication is a "Magic Bullet" and if a bipolar person does not become cured, it is because they haven't tried hard enough. Many people with mental illness have body chemistry which does not respond to medication.

But it seems, as Adam has aged - he's learned how to better pace himself, care for himself and not burn out to the ragged edge of the abyss. I read in other interviews he is diligently aware he must be mindful about diet, exercise, and avoiding extremes. He's admitted publicly the toll his work-a-holic lifestyle living on the razor's edge caused. He still has huge denial and it pains me to know he's self-medicating and been drinking alcohol and smoking for several years after so many years of being "straight edge" sober in his lifestyle management. But despite my concerns for him, it does genuinely appear that he's turned a corner. He lost his hair - but he saved his mind.

Online I read he's written a new song entitled "Fist in the Skull" about what it is like living with bipolar disorder. Back in the late 1970's he always reminded me exactly of Lord Byron, squared and cubed. That was before he or I knew we were bipolar. Lord Byron was bipolar and only lived to 36. If Adam decides to return to acting, the dream casting would be for him to play the lead in a film about the life of Lord Byron. In the 19th century, Lord Byron was tantamount to a rock star, a Romantic Revolutionary poet. Their life story has remarkable similiarities. Byron was also battered as a child by a violent, alcoholic parent. Byron was a political firebrand, an activist for the underbrand. Byron's love life also mirror's Adam's.

Here's the beauty part - Adam is 57 and the heart's still pumping, he's still writing, still performing, touring and by all accounts is a responsible, tender, considerate father which has given him an anchor in life. The vast majority of people who live with mental illness commit suicide or over-dose from drugs/alcohol or early death from sheer burnout of epic debauchery. So many people with mental illness don't make it past their late 30's or early 40's. I am from a family of origin with three suicides and bipolar disorder, alcohol and drug abuse on both sides of the family. I knew something was "off" when I was an adolescent and decided when I was 12 never to do drugs, drink or smoke. That and a life long committment to an organic, whole foods diet is one of the reason's I'm still alive at 57.

Sort of uncanny, Adam Ant and I are both the same age - so here's my two cents....if a person is bipolar and makes it to their late 50's and older and still has some semblance of clarity and understanding of their condition....consider this a SUCCESS. Consider it a SUCCESS if the person with bipolar disorder can live independently and even if their behavior is sometimes erratic or downright annoying, if they are high functioning enough to work even part time, go to school, raise kids, have relationships, that is a SUCCESS.

The percentage of bipolar people who actually last to the age of 57 is far smaller than the percentage of bipolar folks who kill themselves while still in their youth.

I've heard him in several interviews talk about how Tony Bennett, Sinatra and Liza Minelli still could perform into their senior years with consumate artistry. When he speaks of his hero, Muhammed Ali - it gives me hope that Adam will continue to soldier on. What troubles me is Adam's life-long preoccupation of the notion of being a "fighter" - he's always been at war with himself and at war with God. This may lead to his ultimate un-doing. His tremendous charm and luminous artistry is directly connected to his being a bit of a rascal full of piss and vinegar. That's what gives him the saucy erotic snap, crackle and pop. So I take him as he is - and God love 'em.

No it is not good for Adam's mental health to be working in the entertainment industry. Being a rock/pop star or an actor is the absolute worst environment for a bipolar person. But he's got bills to pay, a child to support and at this point in his life, it's not as if he can sell used cars or be a bank teller. It's the tiger chasing it's own tail - the razzamatazz milieu he works in serves to undermine his mental stability - but his quirky, eccentricity and raucous flamboyance is what makes him a star who belongs in the pantheon of the immortals.

Nope, he isn't dancing in performances anymore in that inciendiary, wild prince of punk jitterbug, snake-hipped, undulating pelvis-on-fire manner that could inspire the crowd to riot. From what I've seen on You Tube clips of his performances from 2010 to 2012 sometimes he's breathtaking, in total command of the stage, fit as a fiddle, lucid, cogent, cerebral giving performances that blow the roof off the joint. A few of his more ragged performances were a hot mess - the glassy stare and incoherent ramble with big gaps where he doesn't even bother to sing the lyrics and it's sadly reduced to the audience chanting the song in unison as their sing along to keep the baloon from deflating. So sad.

But it's Adams heroic determination to soldier on and not give up in defeat that emboldens the fierce loyalty, compassion and love his long time fans feel for him.

I've been a devout Ant Wench for 30 years and love this man to death. I've never had the opportunity to see him perform live, but am thrilled to the very core of my marrow he's coming to San Francisco, October 18th, 2012.

Vive le Rock - BTW is one of his all time best songs and it broke my heart those slithery, reptilian shit heel promoters from Live Aid 1985 were so cravenly amoral they deliberately undermined his ability to give the audience the performance we know he can do. He made the right decision to leave the music industry and focus on an acting career.

I love him not just because he can knock my panties off and to reduce him to just a wicked sexy erotic vagrant, diminishes the true stature of the man. I love him for his courage, humility, bold as brass kick-ass bravura and his alluring personna.

We all know the snit with Marco will eventually end and Adam will "kiss and make up". They've been friends since they were whippersnappers in their early 20's. I believe to a large extent, Adam's anger at Marco is because his mate had him sectioned. Adam does understand he needed to be hospitalized. Being furious at your best friend, spouse or relative for having you sectioned is a common phenomena. Adam's rant alleging Marco was only standing in the room when their songs were written is part of the pathology of grandiose conflict seeking behavior indicative of the hypomania or full blown manic stage.

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Paolo Dickey
Jul 5, 2012 8:06am

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Jan 4, 2013 8:14pm

excellent piece of journalism! well done. amazing questions and very candid answers from Adam Ant. thank you!

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Jan 21, 2014 1:30am

I get how he feels about Liam Gallagher, I'd like to give the twat a smack too.

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Emma Haskell
Feb 17, 2014 11:10pm

What a fascinating interview, I really enjoyed reading this, thank you Simon :)

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Apr 30, 2016 1:36am

Excellent interview-he is very funny-made me laugh quite a few times-love his music-would really love to have a sit down talk with him

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Demonia Blackstar
Feb 6, 2017 7:11pm

Good article...only because you let Adam speak...he is funny and to the point...I am going to see him May 2017...however, he made a private phone call to you, obviously he must have trusted you, so you should never have mentioned it here.

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Aug 10, 2017 4:55pm

Adam Ant is eternally brilliant, febrile, intelligent, ye gads, the scope of reference and nods, already gleaned in all honesty before the 80s flash and the success. Pleasingly normal then. no need, none, to say we will never see the like etc cos redundant

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