English Singer- songwriter and actor Adam Ant, (Adam and the Ants) (Stuart Leslie Goddard), was born on 3 November 1954, in Marylebone, London. He attended Robinsfield Infants School, where he created a considerable stir by throwing a brick through the head-teacher’s office window on two consecutive days. Afterwards, Goddard was placed under the supervision of teacher Joanna Saloman, who encouraged him to develop his abilities in art. Goddard then attended Barrow Hill Junior School where he boxed, was a member of the cricket team. He passed the eleven plus exam to gain a place at St Marylebone Grammar School which was an all boys school where he enjoyed history lessons, played rugby and later became a school prefect. After taking and passing six O levels and three A levels in English, History and Art, Goddard then attended Hornsey College of Art to study graphic design and for a time was a student of Peter Webb. He later dropped out of Hornsey, short of completing his BA, to focus on a career in music.
The first band Goddard joined was Bazooka Joe, in which he played bass guitar. In 1975 Goddard saw the Sex Pistols at Saint Martin’s School of Art, London, who were supporting Bazooka Joe. This inspired him to leave Bazooka Joe and form a group of his own called the B-Sides. Whilst at Hornsey, Goddard married fellow student Carol Mills, and lived at her parents’ residence in Muswell Hill. Shortly after, he developed anorexia with tragic results and After Overdosing and After having his stomach pumped, he was sent to Colney Hatch mental hospital in North London. Upon his discharge from the hospital, Goddard renamed himself Adam Ant (Adam being the first man and Ant because “they are resilient little buggers”) with Mills renaming herself Eve. Ant remade connections with fellow former B-Sides Lester Square and Andy Warren and together with drummer Paul Flanagan, they formed Adam and the Ants (initially named just ‘The Ants’) in 1977, with the inaugural band meeting held in the audience at a Siouxsie and the Banshees performance at the Roxy Club in London’s Covent Garden.
Adam and the Ants started as part of the burgeoning punk rock movement. Ant later acted in Derek Jarman’s seminal “punk” film Jubilee in 1977, as Adam and the Ants were beginning to gig around London with manager Jordan from the SEX Boutique on Kings Road. His debut as a recording artist was the song “Deutscher Girls”, which featured on the film’s soundtrack, along with “Plastic Surgery” which was performed in the film itself, and was re-released as a single in 1982. The band toured extensively around the UK, but proved to be unpopular with much of the British music press who disliked their fetishistic lyrics and imagery. Late 1979 saw the release of their début album Dirk Wears White Sox (1979, Do It Records), with Matthew Ashman on guitar, Leigh Gorman on bass and Dave Barbarossa on drums.
Adam Ant approached Malcolm McLaren (the manager of The Sex Pistols) and asked him to manage the band. McLaren subsequently took the rest of the Ants from the original group when he introduced the singer Annabella Lwin and began the process of honing Bow Wow Wow for chart success. A new version of Adam and the Ants was formed with Marco Pirroni (guitar), Kevin Mooney (bass guitar), and two drummers, Terry Lee Miall and Chris Hughes (ex-Dalek I Love You), who used the name “Merrick.” The band signed a major label deal with CBS Records and recorded Kings of the Wild Frontier during the summer of 1980. That album was an enormous hit in the United Kingdom and the “Antmania” that ensued put the band at the forefront of the New Romantic movement. The single ‘Antmusic’ went to No. 2 on the UK singles chart by December 1980. Following the abrupt departure of Mooney in February 1981, the well known bassist Gary Tibbs, formerly of Roxy Music, joined the band.
In November 1981, Adam & the Ants released another highly successful album, Prince Charming. The album featured two United Kingdom No. 1 singles – “Stand and Deliver” and the title track “Prince Charming” – as well as the No. 3 UK hit “Ant Rap”. This trio of singles were promoted by some of the most lavish music videos of the period, and paved the way for Adam Ant’s later acting career. The work schedule Adam Ant imposed upon himself was punishing. In March 1982, feeling certain band members “lacked enthusiasm” Ant disbanded the group. A few months after the split Ant launched a solo career (though he retained Marco Pirroni as guitarist and co-songwriter). Merrick returned to the band Dalek I Love You and subsequently produced many hits for Tears for Fears. After the split, Ant went solo, taking his song writing partner Pirroni with him. Merrick also briefly stayed aboard as drummer/producer for the UK edition of the first solo single “Goody Two Shoes” and demos for the upcoming Friend or Foe album before moving on to other production work, while Miall and Tibbs’ contracts were left to expire. The “Friend or Foe” album also produced another top ten single, “Friend or Foe”, which reached no.9 in September 1982.
Ant recruited a new band for touring, consisting of new dual drummers Bogdan Wiczling (ex-Fingerprintz) and Barry Watts (ex-Q-Tips), plus guitarist Cha Burns (also ex-Fingerprintz), bassist Chris Constantinou and the former Q-Tips brass section of trumpeter Tony Hughes and twin saxophonists Stewart van Blandamer and Steve Farr. The new band made its debut at London’s Astoria Theatre on 1 October 1982. A US tour began in New York on 8 November. On the nineteenth tour date on 20 February 1983 in Cleveland, Ohio, Ant suffered a knee injury onstage (a relapse of a previous injury suffered while filming Jubilee in 1977), forcing the postponement and/or cancellation of dates throughout February and March while he recuperated. Ant eventually returned to performing, performing as a guest on the NBC’ show Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, joined onstage by Diana Ross. He resumed the US tour, completed on 18 May 1983 at the Bronco Bowl in Dallas, Texas. During his recuperation from the knee injury, Ant worked with Pirroni on new material that formed the basis of Ant’s second solo album Strip which contained a top ten single, “Puss’n’boots”, which reached no.5 in October 1983. Ant formally unveiled a new four-piece band at the 1984 Montreux Pop Festival. In 1984 Ant released “Apollo 9”, followed by the album Vive Le Rock. Between 1985 and 2003 Ant also appeared in over two dozen films and television episodes. between December 1982 and February 1995, Ant’s only public live concerts outside North America were Live Aid,a 1987 fanclub party performance, and a September 1994 EMI corporate event in Brighton. In 1990, Ant returned with Manners & Physique, a collaboration with André Cymone, a solo artist and an early member of Prince’s band. The album featured the songs Room at the Top, Rough Stuff and Can’t set rules about Love. In 1995, Ant released the album, Wonderful. Ant also played three shows at Shepherds Bush Empire in London and did a mini tour of Virgin Record Shops playing selected tunes from the album Wonderful and signing records. Adam and his band also played shows in Dublin, Glasgow, Middlesbrough and Stoke-on-Trent.
In 1996, Ant and Pirroni recorded two new songs, Lamé and Inseminator, for the soundtrack to Ant’s latest film Drop Dead Rock. They also recorded a cover version of the T.Rex song Dandy in the Underworld. The duo continued to demo other songs around this time, including such titles as Tough Blokes, Justine, Picasso Meets Gary Cooper and Call Me Sausage. They also guested with such bands as Dweeb and Rachel Stamp. In 2001, following the 11 September attacks, Ant recorded a charity single for New York firefighters; a double A-side of Neil Diamond’s America with an X-rated new song of his own entitled Big Trouble.
Ant was poised to join the 1980s-focused Here & Now tour in January 2002, but charged with throwing a car alternator through a pub window and carrying a firearm, after receiving threats to himself and his young daughter from the jealous husband of a female Camden Market stallholder whom he sought to confront at the Prince of Wales pub in Camden, pub patrons then mocked his appearance and he was asked to leave as it was a private members’ club. Some hours later, finding a discarded car alternator in the street, Ant returned and threw it through the pub window. The broken glass injured a local musician. Chased through the backstreets of Camden by pub security and others, he then pulled out an old World War II-era starting pistol, once the property of his father. Returning afterwards to the main street, he was arrested by a police patrol, gun in hand. Ant was brought to court at the Old Bailey. The charges against him, which included criminal damage and threatening members of the public, were reduced to a single count of causing affray, to which he pleaded guilty. He was fined £500 and ordered to psychiatric care with a suspended sentence. In June 2003, he was arrested again by police after a conflict with a neighbour resulted in him attempting to smash in the neighbour’s patio door with a shovel, and then lying down on the concrete floor of a café basement with his trousers pulled down, curling up, and trying to sleep. Once again he was charged with affray and criminal damage and spent time in psychiatric wards. In September of that year he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983, and spent a further six months receiving in-patient psychiatric care. He was eventually granted a conditional discharge by the judge at Highbury Magistrates Court.
Ant made a guest appearance on an EP, Mike’s Bikes by former Ants bassist Kevin Mooney’s new band, the Lavender Pill Mob, on Mooney’s own label Le Coq Musique. Ant provided lead vocals for Black Pirates, a reworking of the song Chicken Outlaw by Mooney’s earlier band Wide Boy Awake. In 2003 a television special entitled The Madness of Prince Charming was aired in the UK in 2003 documenting Ant’s career and his struggle with mental illness (he was diagnosed as suffering with bipolar disorder). In 2006, he published his autobiography, Stand & Deliver. In 2010 Adam Ant registered his new label Blue Black Hussar Ltd. as a private limited company at Companies House. Ant’s also made his first live appearance since The Bloomsbury in 2007 at “Through The Looking Glass” bookshop in London Performing “Ants Invasion”, “Cartrouble”, “Physical”, and a cover of Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” and guested at a Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction gig at the Pipeline Bar, London E1, in which he provided lead vocals for the band’s Top 20 hit “Prime Mover”. Ant also performed another low key show at the Southwark Playhouse on Saturday 20 March. In 2010, Adam Ant was returned to psychiatric hospital in London where he remained until mid-June, before returning home. He performed a solo show at the Dark Mills festival at London’s Colour House Theatre in September for the launch party of the Illamasqua store on 16 September (at which Boy George served as DJ), and a guest spot at the Monster Raving Loony Party’s annual conference in Fleet, Hampshire.
Ant also performed at the Union Chapel, London in October and headlined at the Scala where he was joined by a trio of female backing singers which included Georgina Bailie and Tiffany Vivienne Brown. He also topped the bill at a tribute concert for former Ant Matthew Ashman at the same venue, in a show also featuring Bow Wow Wow, Chiefs of Relief, Agent Provocateur and London rock act Slam Cartel. Ant and Baillee guested onstage at the Christmas party of West Rocks at Shepherds Bar in Shepherds Bush and played live again at Proud, Camden on 5 January 2011, at Madame Jojo’s in Soho and played two nights at the 100 Club. In 2011 Ant played shows in Paris and in March 2011, BBC Radio 4 transmitted an interview of Ant by John Humphrys for the On the Ropes series in which Ant discussed his bipolar condition and its impact on his career. Ant also embarked on an eleven date UK concert tour from May to June 2011 which was expanded to fifteen dates due to popular demand. The tour closed at the Manchester Academy. Ant also toured Seaside resorts and appeared at Hard Rock Calling 2011 in Hyde Park alongside Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks Ant also performed at the Soho Festival in London’s Wardour Street. Ant appeared with his tour band in Bedford in September before reuniting with 2010 band members Crewdson and Love for a charity show on board HMS Belfast. Ant embarked on another tour, which was increased from12 dates to an eventual 21 dates running from Frome to Norwich, (with a non-tour acoustic gig at a benefit event for London’s Wilton Hall. Ant also performed at a charity event at Ronnie Scott’s. Ant also released the Sex Drugs and HIV compilation album featuring Ant’s version of Get A Grip.
An exhibition of photographs of Ant – entitled Adam Ant – Dandy in the Underworld ran from 7 March 2012 to 29 April 2012 at Proud Camden in London, featuring images of Ant throughout his career, including the work of Chris Duffy, Gerard McNamara, Jill Furmanovsky, Denis O’Regan, Chris Cuffaro, Hannah Domagala, Robert Matheu, David Corio and Janette Beckman. To promote this exhibition, Ant performed a solo charity concert at the gallery although he was heckled by an inebriated Chrissie Hynde. Ant toured Australia playing Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, plus an appearance on the Adam Hills for the Gordon Street Tonight show. Ant also made further Australian TV appearances including a return to Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight performing of Stand and Deliver and new album track Vince Taylor. He also performed Goody Two Shoes, Ants Invasion, Physical, Stand and Deliver, Antmusic Prince Charming. In 2012 Ant headlined at the Bearded Theory festival in Derby and also performed the at Parkpop festival in the Zuiderpark in the Hague, Netherlands, which was broadcast on Dutch national TV. Ant also headlined at the Silverstone Classic Festival, Rewind in Perth, Camp Bestival and the Summer Sundae Weekender Festival. Ant also embarked on a US Tour in 2010 starting in Los Angeles and finishing in Anaheim. The Blueblack Hussar Tour, commenced in Glasgow and finished at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire and released the single Cool Zombie, b/w Gun in Your Pocket. New Year’s Eve 2012, Ant and his full band appeared on Jools Holland’s New Year Hootenanny performing Vince Taylor, Stand And Deliver and Antmusic. Ant also re-recorded the song Who’s A Goofy Bunny Then? in tribute to the late Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. The song took its name from a term of endearment bestowed upon McLaren by Ant – referring to his “quite prominent teeth”. His latest album ‘Adam Ant is The Blueblack Hussar” was released 2013, containing the song Gun in Your Pocket, Shrink,”Hard Men, Tough Blokes”,”punkyoungirl” and “Cool Zombie”. It features collaborations with former 3 Colours Red guitarist Chris McCormack, Ant’s long-time songwriting partner Marco Pirroni, Andy Bell and Morrissey’s writing partner Boz Boorer. Ant embarked on a UK Tour during April and May culminating in a gig at The Roundhouse on May. A free concert in Rome took place on June and a second full length 40 plus show US tour startingJuly in San Diego and finishing September in Anaheim. Ant also appeared on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.