BBC Radio 2 Adam Ant Interview
with Steve Wright. Wednesday, December 20th 2000
Time: Wednesday, December 20th 2000, 3:30pm
STEVE WRIGHT: I have a top star in the studio! (Prince Charming starts to play) One moment! (Rest of Prince Charming is played)
SW: You know who I've got in the studio now?
TIM SMITH: Who you got in the studio now?
SW: It's somebody that I haven't seen for 15 years!
TS: I think I know who it is, but I can't quite recognise him!
SW: Because he's not in the full make up
TS: Well that could be it, yeah!
SW: Adam Ant! (studio applause) Adam Ant.
TS: I thought it was!
SW: Adam! How are you?
ADAM ANT: Very well, how are you?
SW: We're all alright. Now we haven't seen you for 15 years…
SW: Where have ya been friend?
AA: I've been in Los Angeles. I've been spending quite a bit of time in Los Angeles, making some movies and some TV things. And I've been sort of popping backwards and forwards.
SW: There's quite a lot to talk about with you really, because, I mean, what an extraordinary career you had in the 80's! I mean, you look a little bit different. You're wearing a hat today…
SW: …and I did expect you to come in, perhaps, dressed up as "him". You realise obviously it's radio, and there's no need for that.
AA: No, no, no, I leave that - I leave that at home.
SW: (laughs) So do you ever revisit "Adam Ant"? Is he still part of your life?
AA: Um, oh yeah! All the time yeah! I mean, I still feel that I'm "Adam Ant" and whatever I do is gonna be "Antmusic" really .
SW: How did "he" start? What year did the "Adam Ant" phenomenon hit you?
AA: Started about '76 - '77, after seeing the Sex Pistols. I thought of the name of the group first - the "Ants". "Adam" came about as like, um, the first man. So I just put the two together, and it sort of clicked.
SW: I can't remember, did the hits dry up or not?
AA: I think we got exhausted. I think we, you know, had too much touring and done such a lot in such a small period of time. I eventually decided to go solo…
AA: …so I kind of split the band up and went solo - stuck with Marco. The other three did their thing.
SW: When did you decide to jack it in in Britain, and you know, try out the acting in Los Angeles? What year did you try and do that?
AA: Sort of round about 19 - sort of - 90, I decided to go and sort of live out in Los Angeles for a while and see what happens. I was there from about '90 to '95.
TS: Quite a tough life isn't it? Going over there and…
TS: …pursuing the role of an actor?
AA: Yeah, it's quite a hard life and you have to pursue it. And it's very competitive obviously. Everybody else there is doing the same thing.
AA: So you have to go to the readings, and get an agent, and…
SW: …auditions and all of that?
AA: Yeah, yeah.
TS: To do all of that, having been so huge - you know, people of our age, cos we're about the same age. I mean you were so massive weren't you?
AA: You just have to get on with it. A lot of people think that being big in one area qualifies you to immediately step into another area and being as accepted. And it's not! It takes time. They really want you to prove yourself as an actor. You have to do it.
SW: Now you're here with, or you're promoting, er…is it a compilation?
AA: Yeah! It's a box set!
AA: It's, er, it's called AntBox and it's 3 CDs of all my work for 20 years.
SW: Are all the favourites in there? The original mixes?
AA: Yeah, they've got the original and some alternate mixes and some different songs that we had never released before. But some of the hits have got sort of, early mixes of it. It's quite a lot to listen to.
SW: Looking back on the music, on the one hand, you know, I used to introduce you on Top Of The Pops, and it was great fun! You were always good for a laugh. You and the guys just messing about most of the time. Dressing up, spending about 4 or 5 hours in make up - getting all the gear on! By the way, is that nose all right now?
AA: Yeah, yeah, the nose is fine yeah!
SW: (laughs) Yeah, all fixed? And yet, on the other hand, a lot of people took "Adam And The Ants" very seriously, musically. I mean, certainly at the beginning because you came out of the Punk era really didn't you?
AA: Yeah we came out of the Punk thing. I think there's an element of seriousness to it. I mean if you try an incorporate comedy into your act, you know, that's one thing. We never really did that, but there always was a sense of enjoyment. I think the thing was, we enjoyed doing it!
AA: So that showed.
TS: But did you take the music really seriously as well?
AA: Oh yeah!
TS: Did you think, "Hey, this is good fun, we're having big hits", and you, I mean, you had great videos as well didn't you?
SW: Stand and deliver!!
TS: Wasn't Diana Dors is one of the videos?
AA: Yeah she was in Prince Charming!
TS: That's it yeah! But have you got all the costumes?
AA: (..and you never know!) The costumes are in a museum actually!
TS: Are they? Where?
AA: The costumes are in the Victoria & Albert Museum
SW: How many consecutive hits did you have?
AA: I think it was…17. Something like…
SW: 17 consecutive hits!
AA: Yeah, yeah!
SW: Now did that make you very rich?
AA: It gave me a few "bob" yeah!
AA: But er, you know, like you have to watch out with that, and then you have to try and pace that as much as the music.
TS: What he wants to know is, do you still have a "bob" or two?
TS: You always ask about money!
SW: What are you doing now though then Adam? Apart from promoting this, are you just a jobbing actor now?
AA: Mostly what I do is act, but I'm writing some new stuff with Marco and hopefully gonna be bringing that out pretty soon, so it's new stuff!
SW: Great! And what do you like - what do you like to, er, listen to yourself? I mean, you know, you look around at the dance scene, or you look around at music generally? What d'ya think?
AA: It's very varied for me. I tend to like, er, quite a variation of music. I still like people like Roxy Music, who I've always liked and enjoyed. And I listen to a lot more classical music now.
SW: Do you?
AA: Yeah, there's quite a lot of classical music at home, but you know, I like Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails as well, so there's quite a variation there as well!
SW: As you were speaking there, I just er, glanced down , and apparently one of your favourite songs is Perry Como's "Catch A Falling Star"?
AA: Yeah, yeah, there's a cover of it in the box set…
SW: Is there?
AA: …that I did, yeah! It was one of the first things I ever did!
SW: Well listen, let's play a little bit of that, and then we're gonna follow that up with bo- we'll play like a few seconds of that, and then we'll follow it up with like one of your hits. What do you fancy?
AA: Stand And Deliver
SW: Stand And Deliver coming up! Adam Ant has been here! Thanks Adam, very nice to see ya!
AA: Thanks very much!
SW: Adam Ant! Steve Wright In The Afternoon!
"Catch A Falling Star" plays, and after Adam is heard singing the chorus, Steve Wright talks over the tune…
SW: WE LOVE THAT!!! Hahahahahahaha! KEEP THAT ON!!
After the chorus, "Stand And Deliver" starts. After it has played, Steve Wright says:
SW: He's a much quieter guy than you would think, don't ya think?
Adam Ant feature finished at 3:41pm. Lasting 11 minutes in total.
Although transcribed by Carty in 2000, this interview remains the copyright of the BBC and Steve Wright.