The former U.K. chart-topper gets back into the swing of performing    

Creatively speaking, Adam Ant has soared over the mountaintops and stumbled on the valley’s floor. Clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003, he had fallen off the radar eight years earlier, after the release of Wonderful. He eventually battled through the disease to release Adam Ant Is the BlueBlack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter, his first studio recording in 18 years. “Bipolar means up and down, which also means light and shade,” Ant says. “You do need the light and the dark, and I think the album reflects that. This record shows both sides, and it would have been cowardly and inappropriate not to address it.”

In the years since his last album, Ant—born Stuart Goddard in London—released the odd single, various compilations and his memoir called Stand & Deliver: The Autobiography in 2007. But they were placeholders for the new LP, the first on his private label, Blueblack Hussar Records. “I spent more time with the album, and it was more organic,” says Ant, 58. “It grew from writing a batch of songs with [longtime guitarist and songwriting partner] Boz Boorer and some of my own. Most of the people I collaborated with had home studios, so I didn’t go into one studio with one producer and come out with one sound, like I did with Tony Visconti on Vive Le Rock or Chris Hughes on Kings of the Wild Frontier and Prince Charming.”

In fact, many will barely recognize Adam Ant’s latest music as coming from the singer who pioneered the New Romantic sound in the late 1970s. The new album reveals his love for blues, jazz and bluegrass, and as the producer—his first-ever gig behind the console—he wanted to bring out all those different styles. “It’s not overproduced and it’s not a slick record,” Ant explains. “It’s an eclectic choice of songs. I didn’t record with any particular production sound in mind. I recorded with the kind of technology I felt it needed. In that respect it’s quite a surprising record because it isn’t, ‘Oh, he’s gone for that sound.’ It’s very hard to put your finger on a kind of sound for this record.”

Having been away for so many years, Ant has slowly returned to performing and is touring later this year. “The album got me back into the practice of songwriting, recording and playing live,” he says. “Knowing the business side of things and having your own label, these are things you talk about having, and then you have them. It takes time to appreciate what you have. I’m constantly writing now for the next one and the one after that. Hopefully it won’t take so long in between.”

–Steve Rosen


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