The Beat of the Ant Warrior – fan interviews
Yet another overwhelmingly, spectacularly tantalizing and completely successful U.K. tour, eloquently orchestrated by Adam Ant and his band, Joe Holweger, Will Crewdson, Andy Woodard, Jola and A.P. Leach, has just come to a close. The ANTHEMS Singles Tour 2017 included a flamboyantly dazzling, strikingly picturesque, soulfully dramatic, and mesmerizingly unforgettable, performance at Royal Albert Hall in London. Set to begin again in September in the U.S., followed by New Zealand and Australia dates, the countdown to the extravaganza has already begun via the extraordinary and unique Ant Warriors loyally dedicated to Adam, his music, philosophies, and his attitude.
Proudly proclaiming social responsibility for being a hardcore Adam Ant fan, I’ve spent the past several years traveling back and forth to the U.K., Canada, and various cities in the US, to see the audacious Warrior bring forth his magic and spirit to thousands of people, for as long as 35 years, or better for some. Personally, I’ve even flown across ‘The Pond’ from New York to Islington, for literally a single night’s journey, to see the concert. Since the onset of the ‘Dirk’ tour and throughout the UK and North American ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ tour, as well as the ANTHEMS Singles tour, I’ve been taking up residency in the sacred ‘queue’, with those in hopes of capturing access to the cherished and treasured position along the front of the stage.
After several gigs, and the fact that preparing for one of his concert tours nearly became a way of life, I’d come to realize that Adam Ant fans are some of the most colorful, talented, and fabulous human beings….but then what else could one expect from such a gifted, ingenious and bewitching artist. With the help of social media and close empirical contact I began to invest in the lives of these people, and I learned of the life changing events, and in some cases life saving occurrences, as well as the romances, that this one man phenomenon has inspired.
As a tribute to a remarkable man, a visionary, who has contributed his life to bringing joy to others in a fashion he can certainly be proud of, here are some of the stories and journeys of his enthusiasts.
The queue for the Royal Albert Hall commenced at 9:30am when two Swedish fans hopped off the plane and went directly to the venue to sit amidst the dreary, rainy surroundings on the cold cement steps of the doorway promising to open at 7:00pm that evening. They were followed by sweet Olivia Kennedy who arrived at 11:00am. I arrived at approximately 1:30pm. After being dropped off by my taxi in front of the dazzling, burnt orange double decker tour bus. I immediately met Ann-Marie Carter and her Adam inspired boyfriend Chris Nichols. Ann-Marie is a flavorful author, who met Chris through one of the Ant fan pages, then sort him out, and is considering marrying him during the next US tour in September. We walked to the correct side of the venue along with Aaron Baynton, who consequently became my queue photographer, and then things got serious!
All at once, long time fan Keef D’or arrived, wearing his usual Ant fashion, followed by Dale Benest, also in Ant garb, backed up by Sarah Wells, Ashleigh Bowie Sharkey, Donna Edwards, Judy and husband Paul Whitehead, and a huge host of others. Scottish native Judy Whitehead, after forgetting the fact that she was married for the moment, was happy to show off her brand new tattoo of Adam, designed tastefully by artist and fan Damien Fermor, taking up much of her arm, while husband Paul matter-of-factly explained how he wakes up each morning to a shrine of Adam in his bedroom.
Paul Whitehead: I’m Paul and I’m married to the biggest Adam fiend in the whole country. I wake up to him starring at me straight in the eyes every morning because there is a shrine in our bedroom.
Dale Benest: For me, the music, lyrics and styles of Adam Ant embrace individuality and non-conformity. In an age of conformist pressure, Adam encapsulates my views on the matter.
James Harris: Adam Ant has been my hero since I was eight years old. I can still remember vividly when I first heard his music. I was at a friends house and he said, “You’ve gotta hear this”, and then played Stand and Deliver on cassette. I was blown away and immediately crazy about his music. I love it as much to this day, always have, always will. It’s so wonderful to have finally got to see him live, which I’ve been fortunate enough to have done numerous times over the past few years. All of his shows have been amazing and I really think he’s better than ever now. I went to five of the gigs on the triumphant ANTHEMS tour, and I can’t wait to see him again! Also, I’d like to thank him, as it was Adam who first made me want to be a singer and songwriter myself, and his words of encouragement in an interview many years ago have stayed with me; “Never give up on your dreams”.
Fred Brusse’/Paula Weaver: We are ‘sex people’, and if they are not, it’s no match… Before the internet when all the Antpeople were kind of alone and separated from each other, there wasn’t much chance to find a soulmate by the means of another member of the Ant family, especially for Fred being in Holland. After Facebook became more popular and the first Ant pages appeared, there was already much more bonding going on. When Adam came back on stage loads of fans hooked up by joining Ant pages, as we did. It was love at first sight when we started talking to each other! Two diehard fans that have been looking for someone exactly like we always had been hoping to find. The fact that we live over 1000 miles apart, wasn’t even the slightest issue. It was a crazy year of flying back and forth to spend every day together. After a long time preparing and arranging we met up in London to attend Adam and the band at RAH. Next to the awesome happening of the two of us being at the concert of the man that brought us together it was the start of us spending forever with each other. We had a magical night! All those years of being outcast, weirdo, etc… the inner surge for an explanation of the feelings that made us feel different. We are both Ant people, Ant warriors, and we fight for what we want, and win. We’ve got Adam to thank for that. We couldn’t have a better teacher and guide to get through life, to finally get what you really want.
Of course there are hundreds of thousands of fans, all with their own personal Adam Ant tales. David J. Harris, a fellow Louder Than War writer, Brad Harrison, a frequent page comedian, Emma Haskell, a talented fan, Diane England, a welcome and avid concert attendee, and Terry Cedar, a kind and generous Ant person, who is about to release a new record. Damien Fermor, the artist I mentioned regarding Judy’s arm, who draws miraculously ‘like’ pictures of Adam and the band, generously giving them to the fans in need, or those falling on hard times. Mark Little who plays in the cover band, Ant Music, along with lead singer Lee Jon Stokoe, who claims Adam had literally saved his life. Lynn Clark, Donna Skipper, Patricia Galvin, Anastasia L. Bird, Eddie Parker, Kev Rayner, Rosann Ciciriello- Palomba, Lynn Hurley, Jodi Lynn, whom I recently discovered attended my high school at the same time as myself, Brenda Sich, Karen Clarke, Clair Bear, Laura Archer Wilkinson, and Nancy Kelly, who stared AdamAnt.net. Without exception, all of the followers have big hearts and an inner kindness, even those who aren’t directly Adam fans.
Lee Jon Stokoe: Adam made me discover my love for music at the age of five. I remember seeing him perform on Saturday morning TV and thinking “I’ve never seen anything like this, this is something special”. That Christmas my favorite gifts were Kings of the Wild Frontier, and Dirk Wears White Sox. I played these to death, and it was the beginning of a huge collection. Adam subsequently influenced me to sing, and now I’ve been involved with bands for 23 years. I was lucky enough to meet him during the promotion of Wonderful. I can honestly say this is the only time I’ve ever been starstruck.
Sarah Wells, who drove me throughout the UK and invited me to stay at her home, although she loves Adam’s music, comes as a Will Crewdson fan, claiming he’s inspired her to reacquaint herself with the guitar.
Sarah Wells: I’d have to say that the band always makes me feel welcome, and it’s really nice to be remembered. Especially this tour as Will made an effort to come down and see me in spite of being tired. I do especially like the B sides, and I’m definitely with Tom on Beat My Guest. It makes me smile and remember him whenever I hear it.
Then there is the beautiful Donna Edwards, who shyly admitted to fancying bass player Joe.
Donna Edwards: I love the music. I think Joe is absolutely beautiful. I love the Spider Bites album, and I play it in the car all the time. It makes my day. I’m a pretty new Ant fan, it’s only been 12 months. I went to Rewind north last year and he was playing, I then became hooked. I went home, went on YouTube and downloaded every song he recorded, and now I feel like a fan since he started. I love the Spider Bites, She Made Me Do It, and Scant Regard. No one would come to London with me so I decided to go alone to watch him at the Roundhouse. It was then that I made new friends, because if Adam. Ant fans are different to other groups of fans. All friendly and make you feel welcome, somewhat like a family of fans.
The Adam Ant enthusiasts have become a strong institution, all bonding together for one purpose. There are even fans found in the public eye who frequent Adam’s concerts such as John Robb, author, television personality, and boss of Louder Than War, as well as Jordan Mooney, the female face of punk and long time best friend of Adam. I’ve been accompanied to Pennsylvania by former lead singer of the boy band, Worlds Apart, Aaron Paul, now a solo artist, and Jimmy Star and Ron Russell, hosts of The Jimmy Star show, a 4 million fan based internet television production. During the ‘Kings’ tour, the faces of Billy Idol, Gary Numan and Billy Morrison were all present at a California concert. Having fellow artists admire your talents has to be the ultimate expression of success.
I observed a single fan touch Adam’s boot as he flew across the stage in Ipswich. Her hand began to tremble and shake as she vowed never to wash it again. I viewed a fanatic take off her shirt, followed by her bra in Watford, and a man in Islington yell from the audience, ” We all want to fuck you”. I watched as Charlie as she ran past security onto the stage to kiss Adam in the midst of a song. She later described it as a chance of a lifetime. Crazy stuff! Yet life-affecting events for those whom experienced the events.
John Ares, aficionado and producer, who has orchestrated some of the most wonderful concert after parties says: “Summer of 82 I saw the music video for Goody Two Shoes. Grabbing my attention immediately I remember wanting to know more. That following September MTV aired in New York City for the first time. Determined to find out more, I recorded music videos hoping to see more of Adam and the Ants. Eventually I would not only discover more of his music videos but began collecting videos in general. This led me to become a music video collector/archivist still to this day. The collecting lead to my first music based television series in NYC called Music Madness. For two and a half years in the 80s, and 10 years from 1990 to 2002, I produced and directed the longest running music based TV series in cable access history. What started it all was wanting to find more videos from Adam. My personal style was also influenced by Adam. Through his entire career Adam’s style of dress has always been on my radar. Growing up with him as a reference point, I was always influenced by his presentation and attention to detail. As a teenager I emulated him. As an adult I was influenced by him. Today as an adult influenced by his style I find a filter through my own personal taste which produces how I present myself today. Adam also inspired me to produce one of the biggest events ever in the USA for Adam, the After Show Tribute Parties. From 2013 and earlier this year in 2017, they have all been about the celebration of a man and his music. I hope to do it again in the upcoming tour.”
It is no wonder that Adam has collected so many admirers throughout the world, and appears to continue to do so. A completely new generation including 7-year-old Thomas, 12-year-old Harry, 8-year-old Kai, 13-year-old Devin and hardcore fan 14-year-old Derrek, are all singing the words to his songs along with everyone else. It’s thankfully obvious that Adam still has a very long career ahead of him, and will continue to give people hope, something to look forward to, and will continue to live in the hearts of millions.
Tickets for the upcoming US tour are selling fast.
All words by Eileen Shapiro. More of Eileen’s writing can be found in her author’s archive.