“Unplug the jukebox and do us all a favor / That music’s lost its taste, so try another flavor.”
Adam Ant had to get his life back in order before he could even think about getting back into music.
After his 1995 album “Wonderful” failed to do wonderful things on the charts, the 1980s new wave icon took a long break. What followed was a few run-ins with the law and a long, widely publicized battle with bipolar disorder.
“I was essentially getting out of the music business,” the British singer-songwriter says over the phone from his London office. “I got married again, and we had a daughter. I had my ups and downs, dealing with real life.
“When you’re not working, you can get yourself in trouble. I figured after all I went through, if I can survive this, I can do anything. It made me appreciate what I had.”
Now the 58-year-old “Goody Two Shoes” legend has completed his long journey back, with a retro-sounding, critically acclaimed double album, “Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter,” released in January and now a tour of the States with his band The Good, the Mad and the Lovely Posse.
How did he make the dramatic turnaround?
“It helped that I started my own label (Blue Black Hussar Ltd.),” he says. “I had no connections to major labels, which restrict you financially. You’re working for them, not yourself, and they’re working you to death. You need your freedom.
“Three years ago, I found myself writing again, and for the first time in a long time, I really wanted to write. Then I began recording with Boz Boorer (Morrissey’s longtime guitarist). I decided I wanted to strip my original songs down acoustically. I got a great band together and we got a taste of playing live. Finally, I had a group around me who were just as enthusiastic as I was.”
Ant says fan reaction to his new material has been overwhelming, and it gets him pumped to do more shows.
“I have a great time selecting tracks from my back catalog and playing different stuff from all the albums I’ve done,” he says. “All the albums are different, eclectic. I always like to keep fans guessing as to what I’m going to play next. It keeps everybody on their toes.”
As for that mouthful of an album title, it refers to a character he created for the Adam and the Ants’ second album, “Kings of the Wild Frontier” (1980).
“It’s not like any album I’ve ever done,” Ant says. “There’s no hit single on it. It’s a story, very autobiographical.”