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Baker's Dozen

Apollo 13: Adam Ant’s Favourite Albums
Joe Clay , January 21st, 2013 06:44

Adam Ant is back after years in the creative wilderness. Here he discusses his all-time favourite LPs with Joe Clay

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New York Dolls – New York Dolls

I saw the New York Dolls support Rod Stewart when he was in The Faces. That was at Wembley Empire Pool. It was the Dolls, the Pink Fairies and the Faces. I was there to see the Faces, and when the Dolls came on you've never seen a room empty so fast. Everybody just headed for the bar. David Johansen had a top hat on and Arthur Kane had some pink patent thigh-length boots and was being propped up at the back. They did a 15-minute version of 'Frankenstein', and that was good enough for me. I hadn't seen anything like it before. I gather Steve Jones was there as well – a few people were there who would go on to form groups.

They were these five tough New York kids and dressed like that, it was so provocative, so over the top. They went on The Old Grey Whistle Test and Whisperin' Bob Harris said, "I want nothing to do with this lot behind me." I lived in Chelsea in this flat with an American writer and I woke up in the middle of the night once and went in his room and Johnny Thunders was there. He asked me if I had a guitar and showed me a few chords. He was quite a nice bloke. That was when I was first starting out, in '77. He'd been over with the Heartbreakers doing the Anarchy tour with the Pistols. But to wake up and see him sitting there was bizarre. He'd had his hair cut by then. He always looked really smart. I loved the whole look of the New York Dolls. They had a real influence on me. They looked good wearing make-up, but there was no doubt that they were blokes. It was like, "Come on then, come and do something about it!" To walk around like that in the 1970s anywhere in America you were risking your life.

Tracks like 'Personality Crisis' – I think Malcolm [McLaren] lifted that wholesale for the Pistols, the rhythm section and the guitar sound, the heaviness, the weight of the rock & roll sound they made. That was a big influence on Malcolm. What you saw was what you got with the Dolls. I last saw Johnny Thunders at Dingwalls in Camden. I bought him a brandy. He was sitting there scowling. He was quite a dangerous person. When I was with him once, some girl came up to bug him or say something and he did that thing like in that James Cagney film – he just put his hand on her and pushed her away. He was a real tough nut. A real rotter.

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Jan 21, 2013 2:18pm

can't be faulted

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Jan 21, 2013 3:02pm

Some of my favourite records and artists there. Probably the worst ever Miles album though. ( Nice to read that he was at the same Hammersmith gig as I was though)

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Jan 21, 2013 5:29pm

The Duchess of York is a Legendary Stardust Cowboy fan?? Mind blown...

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Jan 21, 2013 7:27pm

Jonathon Richman is from Boston area. Roadrunner is about driving around Boston. Other than that a good list.

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Jan 21, 2013 8:19pm

For my tastes, an all but flawless selection. Awesome.

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Jan 21, 2013 8:36pm

Good list, fun read, thank you Mr. Ant. Um...worst gig ever? It's gotta be following Michael Jackson the first time he'd done the moon walk. I've seen that footage, the place became fookin' unhinged when he pulled that out. Sorry Mr. Ant, that had to have been an SOB going on after!

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Feb 5, 2013 8:29pm


I had reservations about buying the new Adam Ant record and before your article I'm sure I would not have gotten around to it. As much as I've listened to Adam in the past, most comebacks by older artists who haven't consistently worked are not great and I probably should have listened to some of it online first. But reading this from your article made me rush out on an impulse and buy a copy of the CD yesterday because it sounded like a best case scenario for what I wanted this comeback to be...

"Ant still favours two drummers, lending the tracks the rousing Burundi-inspired, tribal thump of his purple period, and the guitars are slashing and raw, with the riffs equal parts razor-sharp glam to punk thrash."

I don't know what album you heard, but Joe, you owe me $14.16 (that's $12.99 + 9% California sales tax). You write well, but I am not sure if you really listened to this record or if you just misread the liner notes because the actual record does not fit this description in any way, shape or form. For starters, none of the tracks have the 2 drummers Adam plays with live, it is a drum machine for 14 tracks and the 3 tracks with real drums are played by a solo drummer, and no tracks have the tribal feel of some of Adam's past work. And the guitars are slashing & raw? If this had been produced at all, maybe on two tracks the riffs could have created something slashing and raw, but as is they are nothing but dull and most of these songs are ballads anyway.

I am rooting for Adam, and I really wanted this record to be good, but at best it is demo quality material for what could have been a decent 8-10 track album if a good producer had been involved. I can't believe they listed 3 producers for this album, because the biggest problem is that it doesn't sound produced at all.

Next time, actually listen to the records you describe. I take Paypal.

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