Interview: Adam Ant, singer

Adam Ant
Adam Ant
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IN his Eighties heyday, Adam Ant was one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. That’s right. His albums sold millions and his image - black Hussar jacket, lip-gloss and that much-copied nose stripe - was pinned up in teenagers’ bedrooms around the world.

But after dominating the charts with some of the decade’s undoubted anthems from Prince Charming to Stand And Deliver, things began to slide. Sales dried up, new acts arrived on the scene and the man born Stuart Leslie Goddard fell off the radar.

And then his problems really began.

In 2002, he was arrested when he hurled a car alternator through the window of a London pub and threatened the people inside with a replica pistol.

He was subsequently sectioned under the Mental Health Act, but on his release was sectioned again following another incident in which he lobbed stones at his neighbours’ windows.

After his well publicised personal problems, it seemed like Adam Ant was destined to remain on the music industry’s casualty list. And yet here he is in 2011, enjoying a successful comeback and talking candidly about his illness.

“Yeah, there were long periods when I didn’t think I’d make music again, so I feel grateful to be alive and well enough to be able to do so now,” he says. “I admit, for a time there, it got a bit sticky.”

Fortunately Goddard, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly before his rise to fame, is in a much happier place now - and he believes that coming off antidepressants has made all the difference.

“It may be a coincidence, but from the minute I took antidepressants, I didn’t pick up a guitar or a pen for seven years,” says the 57-year-old Londoner. “I was weaned off them by my GP and I feel a lot better now.

“Work is the great healer for me and I’m lucky that my passion is my work,” he says.

The singer comes to the HMV Picture House on Sunday night as part of his first proper tour in 16 years, and the shows have been going down a storm both with fans and with the press.

“I’m a little bit surprised that so many people have been coming to the show - and it’s great,” he says. “It’s always great to see an audience, and certainly such a young audience.

“I can only assume that so many young people are coming to the gigs because my music was being played at home when they were growing up. So it’s fabulous, and I don’t take anything for granted now.”

As well as the tour, Goddard has been working on a new album entitled Adam Ant is The Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter. “It’s going to be released next year,” he says, before going on to explain why he’s now calling himself the Blueblack Hussar. “I just got to thinking what would the character be like after 32 years. He’d be old, mad and maybe just a little bit bitter and so the Blueblack Hussar was born.

“People have offered me quite a bit of money to put the stripe across my nose, but I’m not doing that. I wanted to create a scenario - a persona to bring back.”

His days of serious chart-bothering may be behind him, but Goddard is determined to stand and deliver when he comes to the Capital this weekend.

And this time, he is not performing alone. He spent six months auditioning new band The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse, and the final line-up includes his girlfriend, Georgina ‘Sachsgate’ Baillie

“We’re all having a great time together,” he says. “I want the fans to leave the gigs sweating.

“What I’m trying to do is put on the show that I would go and see by someone who had been part of my childhood,” he says.

“Like, if I was to go and see Roxy Music and they didn’t do the hits, I’d be a bit disappointed. So, I’ve been putting in a few songs from the new album just to give people a taster, but obviously I’ll be playing all the hits as well.”

Adam Ant and The Good, The Mad And The Lovely Posse, HMV Picture House, Lothian Road, Sunday, 7pm, £22.50, 0844-847 1740