Tuesday, October 2, 2012

INTERVIEW: Adam Ant Is Retaking America by Storm

Adam Ant, photo by Robert Kenney Images
If you know Adam Ant only because of "Goody Two Shoes," you need some serious re-education — and I'm just the gal to give it to you. While the aforementioned '80s anthem was a big hit for Adam in the U.S., if you dive deeper into this musical genius' repertoire to discover such songs as "Wonderful," "Desperate But Not Serious," "Strip," "Stand and Deliver" and "Prince Charming," then you'll have an inkling as to why Adam has a die-hard army of fans — who call themselves f(Ants) and Ant People — who follow him from concert to concert dressed as various incarnations of Adam's persona throughout the years.

This past weekend, I got to see Adam (with his many Ant People in attendance) at the Orlando Hard Rock Live venue as he thrilled and energized the nearly sold-out crowd with a retrospective of his work from inception to date. With the energy and dance moves of a man half his age, Adam certainly delivered. Living up to the hype of all the glowing concert reviews that he's been leaving in his wake, Adam has shown that he is in top vocal form, with all the theater, pomp and circumstance that fans come to expect.

In weeks prior to the concert, I had the honor of interviewing this new-wave, post-punk, new-romantic rock legend, and he told me all about the new tour and album, his connection with Michael Jackson, and his desire to collaborate with Pink and Katy Perry.

Celebrity Extra: Your fans are thrilled that you're touring the U.S. after a 17-year absence, and so far you've been wowing the crowds at every tour stop. What made you decide that the time was right to play for us here in the States?

Adam Ant: Well first, the new double album "Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter" is finished, and I’ve recruited a new band — The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Posse — that I’ve been playing with for about a year. You know when it’s right, and now the time is right. I want to do my own tour with the new record, and it’s the right time to do it.

CE: Your music has been classified as pop, post-punk, new romantic, and others ... how would you classify your music?

AA: I think it’s very difficult to bracket things, but obviously for convenience's sake, the history books have to put you in a category. If anything, I consider myself to be thought more of a punk rocker than a post-punk-rock thing, because it started in 1977, and that was my inspiration; that was my catalyst. So I consider it to have started then, but then it kind of evolved into something else. I don’t think anybody else out there does what I do, and I don’t do anything that they do, so when you’re doing that, you’re always going to be open to various classifications. I just think it’s best to just come and see it, and see what you think.

CE: As you've said, you've been in the business a while now, but you still look like you're in your 30s, and sound like you're in your 20s. How do you maintain that energy and the youthful vibe that you project through your work and your music?

AA: I think that when you are able to do something that you’re getting paid for, it only becomes a job when it’s work. When you’re doing an album, you’re kind of working because it's on someone else’s terms, and you don’t enjoy it as much as you should. And you become exhausted, which certainly happened with me. That’s why I took eight years out to do some acting, which is creatively something that fulfilled me at that time.

I find now that I really appreciate the fact that there’s the opportunity to do it under my own terms. I don’t do what I don’t think is right for me or my work. Everything I do is very objective. I work with a small team of people, so everything’s out on the table. With every concert you do, you know why you’re doing it. With that, it gives you this kind of freedom to stay out there and blow, and not have to worry about the economic considerations of the record label or worry about the charts. There’s not a chart in it — you just go out there every night and just blow. You just want to do a great show. You just want to really get that high off the audience, and fortunately that’s the way it’s been going. People are responding to that. The energy is coming back from the audience — what you're putting out, it's coming back. I just go for it. I don't think about it, I just get out there and do it.

CE: Regarding the current state of music, in "Interview" magazine you said: "There's a need for a little bit of rock-n-roll. There's too much sampling and karaoke going on. Not that it bothers me if people can get away with it, but I just want to do it 100 percent live." What current bands or artists do you feel are bringing that component to music today?

AA: There’s an American band called The Ganglians that I like, sort of a West Coast band. They sound like the Beach Boys' grandkids. They sing in perfect harmony. They did a song called "Valiant Brave," which is really the only record that I pick out and say, “I wish I’d have written that.”

CE: Which artists would you like to collaborate with?

AA: I like Katy Perry. I think she’s quite an interesting artist. Pink, I think is good; k.d. lang is good. There are very few other bands I’d want to collaborate with. There are very few people out there — I'd like to work with Brian Eno, and that’s about it, really.

Photo compilation by The Daily Mail (U.K.)
CE: Your fashion sense and style has influenced a lot of people — fans and fellow artists alike. I think one of the greatest compliments came from Michael Jackson when he came to you for fashion advice. Tell me about Michael as person and as a musician.

AA: I think the basic thing about Michael Jackson that I like was that he was a very nice chap. I spent a little bit of time with him, and he was always very gracious — a very shy, unassuming guy. I think that people just forget what a great musician and dancer he was. Great musician and a fantastic performer. It’s as simple as that. And it sadly seems to be the last thing under consideration — like everybody in the world knows Michael Jackson as they do Elvis — but his work, it’s fantastic.

He didn’t need all the rest of the stuff that was surrounding it all — the gimmick-y stuff — because if you just look at his "Off the Wall" record, what he did on that musically was years ahead of his time. I was lucky enough to observed him from 10 feet away when he debuted the Moonwalk on the "Motown 25" that I did. I got to observe musical history. But really, just the raw talent of the man, that sometimes gets overlooked.

For more info on Adam's tour — as well as his new single, album and tour merchandise — head over to adam-ant.net for all the latest news and updates.

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