February 15, 2021
In our series on musicians with a formative influence on our writers, Alexis Petridis on his relationship with the band for whom ridicule was nothing to be scared ofRead more from The fandom that made me seriesI’ve thought about it a lot in the intervening 40 years: why Adam and the Ants? I was a prime candidate for obsessive pop fandom – nine years old, glued to Top of the Pops on a weekly basis, an early adopter of Smash Hits, already spending whatever money I had on records – but why them specifically? After all, I was spoilt for choice. It was 1980, as miraculous a year for singles as Britain has ever seen. I could have alighted on the two-tone movement, or Gary Numan, or thrown in my lot with the Jam and the burgeoning mod revival. But I didn’t: it was Adam and the Ants, the night in October they opened TOTP with Dog Eat Dog.
Adam and the Ants: how the wild tribe revealed pops theatre of dreams
Maybe they were a band inadvertently designed to appeal to a nine-year-old boy: songs about pirates and Native American tribes and highwaymen, a lot of shouting, a lot of cocky lyrics about how amazing Adam and the Ants were. Maybe because glam rock was the first music I could remember – relatives’ copies of Block Buster! and My Coo-Ca-Choo; Marc Bolan’s kids TV show; seeing Wizzard on television and running screaming from the room, terrified by the sight of Roy Wood – and Adam and the Ants were ultimately a glam rock band: two drummers, like the Glitter Band; makeup; loud guitars; chanting, all of it derived from glam.
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