So many artists over the years have made very successful comebacks and other haven’t been so fortunate. It must be a daunting task once you’ve contemplated making the comeback wondering if it’s going to work or not. Adam Ant was one of those people.
The story of Adam and his Ants’ early days is fairly well documented of how they struggled to be accepted for a few years and then, all of a sudden he was famous, but not thanks to any help from the music press. In 1980 Malcolm McLaren took the band under his wing and then claimed he made them. “That’s Bollocks,” Adam retorts. “Malcolm claimed he invented everybody but it was me who came up with the Ant look and Marco and me who came up with the music. We were not a product of the NME and Sounds, but actually The Sun and The Mirror. They wrote about us and bang, all of a sudden we did Top of the Pops with Dog Eat Dog and the next week we sold 200,000 records.”
The band split in 1982 and Adam launched a solo career kicking off with the number one hit Goody Two Shoes, which was so sudden that a limited number of copies were credited to Adam & The Ants. He had two further top 10 hits with Friend or Foe and Puss ‘N Boots and then he fell out of favour with Strip peaking at number 41 and Viva Le Rock at 50.
He’d had enough and left for Hollywood. His good looks helped him fall into an acting career where he appeared more than 15 films including Cold Steel (1987), World Gone Wild (1988), Trust Me (1989) and Sunset Heat (1992). He also made numerous appearances on TV in Northern Exposure and The Equalizer and then the TV series Batman: The Animated Series (1995).
In 1992 he decided to make a musical comeback and recorded the album Persuasion which, when he delivered it to MCA records, weren’t too keen and refused to release it despite the facts that it featured Cameo’s Larry Blackmon and Chic’s Bernard Edwards. “It’ll come out one day,” said stated, “It’ll be my undiscovered masterpiece.”
Still in Hollywood, his worse nightmare came true. An obsessive fan, Maria Torres, became attracted to him and began stalking him to the point of dancing naked outside his apartment whilst screaming obscenities at him. One day she broke in and left voodoo dolls complete with pins attached all around his abode. Things got so bad that he ended up seeking psychiatric help. “I was terrified,” he admitted. “Being a pop star in England I accepted because that’s the price you pay, but in L.A it was quite different because you have a society which is gunned up.”
Three years passed and after Ant and long-time co-writer and collaborator Marco had relentlessly been touring the States, they decided on another comeback and it resulted in the 1995 album Wonderful. The working title had been called Slapdash Eden and 25 tracks had been written for the project, of which eleven appeared on the final product. “We financed our own tour and ended up playing a lot of cover versions,” Adam remembered, “But on the strength of Wonderful (the title track) Clive Black at EMI signed us.” Black soon moved to WEA but the project continued and they brought in producer David Tickle and Morrissey’s guitarist Boz Boorer.
The album included more acoustic songs which were well crafted. “I decided to write more mature songs and now have a new band which is not retro at all and has a whole new fresh sound,” said Adam. “I just want to write and perform music and carry on reinventing myself. Whatever I did, the music was always there but have never really been given the credit for it. It doesn’t really bother me, I remember once, Quincy Jones was at a party and came over to me, shook me by the hand and said, ‘Stand and Deliver is a great song’ and that’s good enough for me.”