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In early December 2008, Adam chatted about his forthcoming Live at the Bloomsbury CD and the work involved in setting up the show and the subsequent release.

As the conversation lasted almost one and half hours, it seemed easier and logical to split the interview for the site into two parts.

So read on...


In the past youíve referenced or used quite a few different artists like Picasso, Bragaglia or Lichtenstein , do you keep up with art thatís going on at the moment say like Goldsworthy, Gormley or Banksy?

Zerox with Bragaglia image Zerox with Bragaglia image

Oh yeah, I think that thereís always something in a gallery, if you go to the Royal Academy, I always admire someone that can do it, sit down and paint or do something and you think ďthatís really beautifulĒ and then you get something thatís quite experimental as well which is good.

I went to school with Anish Kapoor, he was at my college. I remember him doing various things, heís gone on to do some very sculptural things, he does quite nice stuff.
I think that its got very kind of slick, thereís so much money involved with it that some of it is a bit suspicious, you know people wandering around in bear suits (Mark Wallinger, Turner prize winner) and it has literally got to the point where anything is art and thatís fair enough. Thatís what Dadaism was all about and I love Dadaism. I thought that that was extraordinary, maybe it will take me another 30 years to appreciate whatís going on now. Iíd rather keep an open mind about it! (laughing)

Initially, with people like Damien Hirst, I can understand what heís doing now a bit more than when he was just slicing things in half, as it seemed like one idea. Some of the things he does now are quite subtle. Theyíre more worked out, there seems to be more work involved in it.

The For the Love of God skull and the huge sculptures that he did of body parts (Virgin Mother)?

Yeah, I thought that some of that was good, he turns his hand to different things. I think that he gets very good people involved to execute it, but itís the idea that matters.
I like Joseph Beuys as well, people like that mainly through my friend David John Gibb, who I went to Hornsey College of Art with, heís always kept me abreast of the art scene.
Iíd have to say from that point of view that you canít really beat Francis Bacon. You canít really go anywhere after that, from that I loved Stanley Spencer, I love the way that he painted, being able to paint canvases that way with such a vision.
Whenever I go into a gallery thereís always 10 things where Iíll come out thinking Iíll keep an eye on that.

Are you tempted to get involved again as Iíve seen a few pictures from when you were at college, have you done anything since?

Not really, just sketches and things. Whenever I do things, whether itís the booklet or the cover or whatever, I do a number of sketches of what they would look like or a kind of photographic idea I was after. I can draw that all out, I do keep that going. Thatís very useful to be able to do that.

Youíve always referenced films like Apolocalypse Now, Bladerunner etcÖ are you still an avid film goer?

There are quite a lot of good films that you see that do come up now on TV, itís quite surprising, how recent they are like ďThis is EnglandĒ that was on the other night, it was an extraordinary film.

This is England film poster

Shane Meadows?

Yeah, it was interesting, Ďcos that was set in , I think í78 or í79, so it was weird because at that time I was doing early Adam and the Ants and the biggest pain in the arse was all of the skinheads that invaded it via Sham 69 and more or less destroyed the scene. I always thought that they were mindless, itís just thuggery, which a lot of it was unfortunately, but having been brought up in a council estate in the original skinhead eraÖ

Bluebeat?

Yeah and sitting doing my homework and listening to Tamla Motown from all of the skinheads dancing to that music, it was a very, very accurate depiction of the kind ofÖ although they were second generation skinheads it wasnít that far removed from the kind of feel of the first generation skinheads growing up in a run down council area. There was nastiness in that film but it was only when those guys got out of jail.
What I liked about the film was the warmth prior to that.

It was split between the ones on the music side of things and then the others that brought along the racist element.

East is East was a good film, there are some interesting cultural films out there and itís nice to see a sort of new generation of movie coming along that are quite exciting and I really get a good feeling from them.
On the other side itís nice to go and see a James Bond film or a Pirates of the Caribbean because you just sit there for 3 hours like this (holds arms out, head back going aargh!) you donít have to think, you just go with the flow, itís very nice to keep the mood light, going out to the cinema is still a wonderful thing to do, it does give you a lot of hope and a lot of inspiration sometimes.

Do you still go to gigs?

Adam - London 2008

I donít go to a great deal of concerts, I saw The Killers play and thought that they were really good, they put on a good show.
When the Pistols played again I really wasnít attracted to seeing that too much. I thought Iíll keep it in my mind how they were, because I think that they were very much suited to that, they had that dungeon essence to them that I liked. Iím sure that they were very good on a big stage, thereís no reason why they shouldnít be, they can play soÖ theyíre really good.

Do you feel any pressure to produce new things or do you pressure yourself to produce new work or do you feel that there is any pressure from the fan base to be productive?

I wouldnít produce any work as a product of outside pressure from anybody, I think that if you do that youíre just going to produce work for the sake of it.
I think that what you do produce when you come up with new stuff should be, this is it. It doesnít matter how long its taken. Iím ready, this is it, judge me on this.
The only pressure that I put on myself creatively or artistically is my own and I think thatís the way it should be.

With your own products, books, videos etcÖ do you keep any of your own, do you have a collection?

Iíve got most of them, Iíve got most of the vinyls tucked away and most of the acetates and stuff like that. I think Iíve pretty much got a copy of everything that was released or what I could get hold of from the company because I was interested in checking that it was right, you know? That looks good, check it and keep it.

I think itís nice to have a bit of everything that youíve got, but I donít think that Iíve got everything.
I donít think Iíve got some of the reissue box sets and things like that. But I like the original ones, Iím a bit of a traditionalist. I like it in its original form and I think that anything outside of that is ok, but its never going have quite the same magic.

From when it first came out?

Itís like trainers, some people go to queue outside shops in the west end from 5 in the morning to get a particular one that Nike are putting out, limited edition of 1200, good luck to them.
Then youíve got other kids up north that want an original pair of this particular one that was done in 1972 and that is it, theyíve got the original ones and it doesnít matter how much theyíre offered for them theyíll keep them. It goes beyond an investment itís just something that you donít want to part with.

Is there anything that you collect?

I had a large collection of the early SEX and SEDITIONARIES clothes, I used to do that, but I donít really collect things too much. Iíve got loads and loads of books, I read a lot, Iíd just have to move out if I got any more! (laughs) but thatís a nice exercise to say Iíll cut down.

Seditionaries shirt

Is the thing with books that you get them to read or that they look good, they have nice prints in them, say for example books from the turn of the last century like The Strand, Art Nouveau or Art Deco books

Yeah, there are some lovely books, I think that books and reading in general is an important part of my life. All through my life Iíve always enjoyed a book. A book has always got me through hours of boredom on tours and just being in awful hotels or in airports or whatever.
I much more enjoy reading a book than listening to anything on an MP3. Personally I find it quite sad when you stop for one second and look in any situation in any city, people areÖ itís like I am a robot. God forbid anything noisy should happen, because theyíd never know it. If there was a 2 second warning that something was going off theyíre gonna miss it because theyíre too busy tuned into... yeah you can put 2000 selections on your MP3 player and it can be the size of a matchbox, hooray, great!
I think that that film Wall-E was very good in that respect, itís a great film but itís a bit of a warning really, with all of those people in those floating things, we could end up a world of those, itís like MP3ís and such, look I can go right around the world from this table, great (sarcastically) itís a good job Ernest Hemingway didnít do that or Magellan or Frobisher or Scott of the Antarctic or anybody that youíd like to name. Itís a good job they didnít have that attitude, itís almost as if, no, give up, you can do it at home.

I take it you donít have an MP3 then?

I do, well Clare has one and I listen to it, I find it useful for research and for listening to songs on a long train journey or whatever. Iím just saying that thereís room for that but thereís also room for the more traditional things like books as well and I think thatís exciting, itís nice to have a balance of both, or just observing people, looking out of the window is quite a good idea sometimes, you can watch things you can see life. Take a moment sometimes, but I suppose thatís a bit of a phase that Iím at.
Donít get me wrong computers are quite extraordinary, they are quite outrageously efficient, but there has to be a balance and I think that if youíre not careful you can get into that mindset, Iíll look it up on Google, anything you can look up on and its there.

I think that the internet perpetuates a lot of myths.

There are books out there with details that havenít been put online and if youíre after a particular thing, a rarity or something that hasnít just been classified and put into a list, there are things that are outside of that and I do like that.
I do like the idea of finding something that isnít just at a click, you can click up something and you get a very broad outline and itís really inaccurate a lot of the time and thatís not good enough youíve gotta get it right. Thatís why I tend to be very wary of it. Iíve always been like that, on USSA, thereís a line in USSA off the Manners album The synthesisers made us slaves, so we smashed them up to decorate our caves and I still live by that sometimes.

Do you pay any attention to what is Adam Ant on the internet?

Yeah I do! I breeze it and I have a look at it and I think the generic stuff on iTunes and all of that stuff is all like footnotes. He did this, he did that then he went into this phase and itís a couple of paragraphs, ok. Itís quite amusing some of it actually.

Do you take it all with a pinch of salt?

Yeah, you have to. I suppose thatís people liking to use their imagination. They like to assume that something is happening or rumours get round and they build it up from there and then you have the opportunity when you are doing something fresh and something real, you can say no, there it is and it makes them look a little bit silly really as itís all been supposition and rumour and you go hereís the real deal and thatís the way it should be.
I feel that there are so many sites and thereís so much out there that itís quite hard to be that discerning. Youíre not quite sure if itís a joke or whether thereís a big company behind it making it look amateurish but theyíre actually selling you something. Thereís always something being sold. Adverts flash up every few seconds when you look up a particular artist and itís like look at these too. We think you should listen to this and it made me laugh because I was looking up on my site and it said you should refer to the following people and it was all of the usual suspects, the 80ís people and then there was the Anti Nowhere League! I spent a good hour on there looking it up, thinking what are they up to? And listening to their stuff I thought that it was quite humorous actually. Well I thought that that was quite nice, if they are interested in Adam and the Ants then it would have been the very, very early Adam and the Ants and thatís quite cool.

Do you listen to other bands that have covered your work, do some of them make you cringe or do you like the fact that somebody wants to record your music?

Strangely enough there are really interesting ones with Prince Charming by R&B and Rap groups, quite heavy hardcore rap groups that are very contemporary in the essence of Master Shortie and people like that, I thought that that was ok, it was pretty good. I gave them permission.
If they wanna do something they should ask your permission, otherwise you have no control and I think a lot of that stuff is not of the best quality.
One of them made me laugh as they said we took out Marcoís guitar and we improved on that! I thought, no, hang on, wait, well take me off then! You know what I mean? (laughing) why donít you take us all off and start from scratch and do your own song! If youíre going to take someoneís work and experiment with it at least give them the credit that you are somewhat impressed with the original or you wouldnít have bothered to mess around with it in the first place!
It never fails to astonish me and in a way itís quite pleasing like when you hear this rapper singing Prince Charming, sampling the chorus sweetly and the verse is like really violent and heís singing it really well, with a beautiful harmony then going back to this heavy stuff.



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