Sunday, November 13, 2011

Antmusic for Sexpeople, Sexmusic for Antpeople

Good things, part 3.

I've mentioned my enduring love for Adam Ant and his music a couple of times before on this blog:  HERE, when I talk about how my 14-year old self first discovered his music, and HERE, when I briefly mention seeing Adam in concert with my friend Hellione.  I felt compelled to at least try to write about how I love Adam Ant and his music, but truly, it didn't even begin to describe the scope of my feelings.

I'm going to try again.

When I bought that first Adam and the Ants album (Kings of the Wild Frontier) and had never heard any of their music previously, I fell in love immediately.  Music was a big part of my life and I liked all kinds: classic rock, pop, punk, things that would be called goth now but back then that word didn't exist yet.  The songs on this album had a screamy, punky edge, with tribal drums and such incredible energy.  I'd never heard anything like it before, and still now, 30 years later, I love every song on this album.  Not only have I not gotten tired of it, I love it more than ever.

Here is Adam and the Ants performing Kings of the Wild Frontier on Top of the Pops (a British show similar to American Bandstand).  They are clearly lip-syncing to the recorded track, and in fact Adam isn't even bothering with the pretense of a microphone.

Lyrics from this song, co-written by Adam Ant and the guitarist, Marco Pirroni:

"A new royal family
A wild nobility
We are the family"

"No method in our madness
Just pride about our manner
Antpeople are the warriors
Antmusic is the banner"

That inclusive, "outsider but part of our family" message really struck me.  As a lonely, shy girl living in the middle of nowhere, this idea of Antpeople was extremely appealing.  I loved the music, I loved the message, and I have to say the fact that Adam was hot as hell didn't hurt.

I found that Adam had had one previous album that had only been released by a small label in England, and I had a local record store special order it for me.  It was called Dirk Wears White Sox, and was completely punk; very angry and very poetic.

Here's a clip from Derek Jarman's movie Jubilee, with Adam performing the song Plastic Surgery.  This is very early, before he was known at all, and very punky.

My admiration for both Adam and his music was cemented in my soul with these songs.  Regardless of the poppy stuff that that came afterwards, these two albums are still some of my favorite music to listen to.

Adam and the Ants had been tremendously popular in England, much more so than in the US.  They had dozens of hit songs and legions of loyal fans.

And thus began a decade and a half of buying every Adam and the Ants album and single, and then when the Ants broke up and Adam Ant was a solo act, buying all the Adam Ant stuff.  I went to Georgia twice to see Adam in concert, one to Washington DC, once to Norfolk VA, and I saw him on his last tour here in Orlando (the Wonderful tour, in 1995).

After that Adam disappeared for a while, not releasing any more music.  In 2002 he announced a new album, and started doing promotional appearances and interviews.  But he was behaving erratically and saying things that sounded strange.  He did one promotional single for charity that was so bad it kind of scared me.  Then Adam got arrested for threatening patrons in a pub and pulling a gun on the police when they arrived. He was given a suspended sentence and he ended up spending nearly a year as an in-patient in a psychiatric hospital.

By this time, I had a computer and internet access and was trying to keep up with Adam.  This was extremely upsetting news. I was glad he was getting treatment and really hoped he'd get better.

In 2006 his autobiography was released, and he told about how he had suffered for years with undiagnosed bipolar disorder, and had attempted suicide.  He made it clear that he was working with doctors to manage his illness with medication and was doing well.

Then about a year and a half ago, he popped up in the news again, talking about a new album and a tour. He started doing public appearances at charity events and things, and then doing actual shows in small clubs around London.

This really worried me, as it really appeared to be the same type of manic behavior that preceded his breakdown before.  I watched YouTube videos of him performing, and he did seem a little off, forgetting lyrics to his songs sometimes.  But as the months passed, he seemed more and more in control and happy.  I watched videos of him being interviewed on British tv shows, and he looks healthy and, really, pretty damn good.  The more recent videos show him performing in bigger and bigger venues around the UK, looking and sounding amazing.  I started to feel better.  Maybe his illness is under control, and his creative spirit is returning.  He spoke in interviews about wanting to return to that early, punky type of music, and the set lists posted online from his recent concerts back that up, he's been doing a lot of the really early songs along with the big hits.

Then on Monday a miracle happened.  I had taken a random vacation day from work, putting in for it a few months ago when I realized how stressful this time would be; I figured I'd need it.  Late morning I was pooting around on Facebook when I see an announcement from the Hard Rock Live Orlando.

ADAM ANT IN CONCERT IN FEBRUARY!  Tickets were going on sale that very day at 5pm!

This was a complete shock.  His new album is supposed to come out in January, and there had been vague talk of a US tour afterwards, but it seemed way too much to hope for.  Then that not only is there a tour, but the first concert date to be announced and go up for sale is right here, where I am!

And how lucky that I was off work and saw the announcement, and was at home to call and buy tickets immediately!  Obviously, I called and bought tickets the second they went on sale.

I seriously want to cry a little just looking at that.  FRONT ROW CENTER!

So, anyway...  good things are happening.  This is a good thing of such miraculous importance to me that it has literally changed everything around in my head, and I have trouble thinking about anything else for very long.

Adam Ant!