Adam Ant was born Stuart Leslie Goddard on the 3rd November 1954. By the age of 14 he had already become interested in music and had learnt to play the guitar.
In 1971 he joined a North London band called Bazooka Joe which was originally started up by four men of the name of Kleinman, Collier, Ellis and Wernham. In 1974 Danny Kleinman, the bands only surviving founder member asked Adam to join the group.
Kleinman knew Adam from Hornsley Art College where the two of them were studying. The same year, Bazooka Joe began to tour the London pub and art school circuit and were popular enough to have their own warm up acts, one of which was the Sex Pistols.
When Bazooka Joe broke up, Adam started a new band which he called The B-Sides in early 1976. This band was formed with the help of Lester Square who was studying painting at Hornsley Art College where Adam was studying graphics. This group was temporarily disbanded but by early 1977, Adam was interested in the music scene again, and resumed rehearsing with the group.
"We are out to be ants and spread the music"
This didn't last too long though as the group became frustrated with the lack of gigs they could score, and Adam disappeared yet again, with the band splitting up in February 1977
Adam and the Ants
On 23rd April 1977, Adam tried to resurrect the B-sides at a Banshees concert at the Roxy club. Here Adam and The Ants formed in their first incarnation.
"He called the band 'The Ants' because he wanted to be bigger than The Beatles" - John Bivouac, a former member of the Ants
This was first of many incarnations of the group which were to happen until the group split up in 1982. Adam and the Ants had a very turbulent career which can be read about here.
Recently Bivouac stated,
"Adam Ant was bigger than the band - he was the band."
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all the musicians involved weren't influential to the sound of the Ants - we all brought a lot of individuality to the band, but Adam was the focus, the songwriter and performer who made it something extra special. "
Despite being a band, as opposed to a solo singer with a backing group, the band didn't have much influence musically or business-wise, as usually Adam took control with the help of singer-turned manager, Jordan.
"I know what I want on record and I want to go into that studio and get it. We haven't got it, yet, but we will get it 'cos nothing's going on with 'The Ants' unless it's exactly Ant music. It's got to be Ant music. It's got to be fucking Ant music. I want to be proud to play it to anybody, that's all I'm in it for, to have good records out. Money can't buy the 'thing' you get when somebody sits there and appreciates your music, just no way." - Adam Ant
Around this time, Adam went through a particularly megalomaniac phase where he wanted total control of the band. He decided that he could play almost all of the musical instruments himself and didn't need the other band members. He recorded some demos without telling them.
Prince Charming Revue
After the album Prince Charming was released and entered the UK album charts at number 2, Adam and the Ants started rehearsing for another tour of the UK named the Prince Charming Revue.
After appearing on the Royal Variety Performance, the tour began at the Cornish Riviera Club in Austell. This was cut short on the 10th gig at the Deeside Leisure Centre in Liverpool on 22nd January 1982 when Adam announced that Adam and the Ants were to be disbanded so that he could pursue a solo career with Marco Pirroni as his song writer.
After this announcement, tracks already recorded by Adam and the Ants were still to be released. Kings of the Wild Frontier won an award for the Best British Album at the first Brit award ceremony on 24th February, and Deutcher Girls was released by Polydor Records on 6th March reaching number 6 in the charts.
Songwriters of the Year
Awards for Adam and the Ants kept coming in though, with Adam and Marco named as Songwriters of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards on 29th April 1982, with Stand and Deliver being named the best selling single.
Friend or Foe
Adam was as popular as ever in Britain after going solo. He changed the sound of his music slightly by reducing the use of drums and adding in horns to the mix. His solo debut named Friend or Foe succeeded in the USA as well as Britain with Goody Two-Shoes, Place in the Country and Desperate But Not Serious] following suit as his best sellers. Adam started on a huge tour of America doing shows from coast to coast where the audiences were taken by his music and unusual appearance. he was also the first guest VJ on MTV and presented the top female singer award at the first Contemporary Music Awards ceremony.
After tour dates in Orlando, Philadelphia and Boston to name but a few, Adam met Phil Collins in Buffalo where they discussed a collaboration with Collins producing Ants records. A few more dates followed then Adam had an accident on stage tearing his cartilage. After the show he was rushed to see Dr Bersfeld in Cleveland Hospital who confirmed the problem, The tour was then postponed.
On 26th February 1983 Adam flew to New York to see Dr Minkoff before flying to Los Angeles to be finally operated on by Dr Dan Silver who preformed an athroscopy on Adams left knee in March.
Entertainment Tonight visited Adam whilst he was recovering in hospital to film him carrying out his gym training.
After the release of Where Did Our Love Go?, Adam appeared on Motown 25 where he was surprised by Diana Ross joining him on stage. The next day he resumed his tour in Palm Desert followed by Santa Barbara and Fresno. More tour dates followed with the occasional visit from his doctor to see how his injury was healing but all was well and the tour was completed with a final gig at the Bronco Bowl in Texas on 18th May 1983.
After flying back to England, Adam and Marco flew to Paris where they commenced writing songs for a new album. At the Polar studios in Stockholm, Puss N Boots and Strip was recorded with Phil Collins producing. Puss N Boots went up the charts in the UK but Strip was banned by the BBC. This didn't discourage Adam and he continued recording with Richard James Burgess as co-producer.
Adam Ant the Actor
After much hard work on completing the album, taking part in promotion interviews both in the UK and America, and filming pop videos, Adam presented Miss World 1983 with her prize at the Royal Albert Hall in November. The promotional work for the album Strip the continued with interviews on CBS Nightwatch, MTV and numerous music magazines.
After an appearance on the Christmas edition of Top of the Pops, Adam and his group began rehearsals for his 1984 world tour and Live Aid.
After the tour, Adam took a break from music to concentrate on an acting career. After three months starring on stage in Entertaining Mr Sloane, he made appearances in American television shows including one off guest appearances in The Equalizer, Sledgehammer and Tales from the Crypt. He also stared in the films Nomads, Slamdance, Trust Me, and Cold Steel.
Manners and Physique
In 1987 Adam started to write and record songs for his Manners and Physique album. The single Room at the Top was released from this album which reached the top 20 in the American charts. The songs on this album featured a different style for Adam with synthesizers, backing vocalists and a sound which was more pop than punk.
After another tour, this time to promote his next album named Persuasion, his record company MCA Records decided not to release Ants album. Due to a change in staff and a company restructure Persuasion has never been released.
After his album setback, Adam took a break from music again to concentrate on his acting career. Roles in several movies followed as did a production job in Los Angeles with a play called Be Bop A Lula. In between acting jobs, Adam started writing his next album, Wonderful.
Wonderful was released in 1995 giving Adam the opportunity to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman. A tour of Great Britain and North America was planned too but after only 18 dates Adam and Marco Pirroni fell ill with a severe respiratory illness.
Adams work then came to a near halt.
There were rumors from E! Entertainment News in Australia that the Ants were going to reform for a new album and a tour. When asked about this Marco stated,
"I am working with Adam on an album but I'm not sure about touring with the other members. To be honest, they didn't contribute much musically."
Possession of a Firearm
On 6th March 2002 Adam appeared at the Old Bailey in London after being accused of criminal damage, assault causing actual bodily harm and possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intention to cause fear of violence after an alleged incident at a pub. The Prince of Wales pub in London's Kentish Town on 12th January was the location of the incident where it is alleged that Adam withdrew an imitation World War II revolver when he got angry because he was refused admission to a private party after regular drinkers at the pub ridiculed his attire. They called him a cowboy and then whistled The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly at him. Armed police were called and they arrested Adam shortly after.
The hearing was postponed from 18th January due to Adam's fragile mental health condition which led to him being sectioned and placed in psychiatric care after he ran off from a psychiatric team which were sent to his home in Primrose Hill to check on him. Once at the hearing he remained silent and was remanded on bail until 1st May 2002.
This incident wasn't the first indication to the British tabloid press that Adam was in difficulties. Since he returned to the UK the year before he had made a string of appearances highlighting his condition. At the London Regency Rooms Christmas party he refused to leave the stage after performing bizarre renditions of his past hit records.
Whilst being detained in the Alice Ward at the Royal Free Hospital Adam telephoned The Sun claiming that he wasn't crazy.
He told the paper,
"I've been abducted by the police again. They've attacked me again. I don't know why....the whole thing's a conspiracy and they're just out to get me."
At the time of writing, the singer is being held at the ward under Section Two of the 1983 Mental Health Act. He plans to return to the music business as soon as he can.
On Wednesday 2nd October 2002, Judge Jeremy Roberts placed Adam under a 12 month community rehabilitation order whilst hearing his case at the Old Bailey. He also ordered Ant to pay £500 compensation to Plato Contostavlos, a pub musician he hurt in the incident.
"The psychiatrists are agreed that you were suffering a temporary episode of a recognized mental disorder which could have substantially impaired the responsibility for what you did. Happily, you have now recovered from that episode." Judge Jeremy Roberts
Adam Ant, remained silent.
On Wednesday 11th June 2003, Ant smashed a number of his neighbours' windows by throwing stones. He then went to the Curly Dog cafe near his home in Primrose Hill in North London.
He entered the cafe complaining about "kids", screamed, then took his trousers off before saying he was going to the basement for a sleep.
One witness said,
"He was very stressed but not aggressive. You could tell he wasn't well at all."
Ant's friend, actress Samantha Janus, ran to the cafe to try and get him to give himself up to the waiting police. He was arrested for criminal damage and bailed to appear in court in July.
Film and Television credits