Kings of the wild frontierThe first gig I ever went to was at a venue in Longrock. I think it was called the Barn. Not sure. But I'm sure about who it was. Adam and the Ants. Man, I loved that guy. I wanted to be him so much. Good looking, talented, dressed like a pirate or highwayman. If you can't see the appeal, where's your soul? See, even as a youngster of fifteen, I knew what life would have in store, and it wasn't the high seas or rapiers on the highway.
Have you ever felt fuck this age? Have you ever wished you could have been born in a time with no CCTV, no safety net, practically no rules. Yeah, I know, I'm romanticising it and I would have been born a peasant and if I'd survived past infancy, I'd have had a life of misery. And I know most pirates hanged. But let's face it, a life of excitement that ends in hanging is in so many ways preferable to a life of bullshit that ends in cancer.
You know, maybe that's where I went wrong. I should have aimed for romance. Maybe I still should. If I do, maybe I'll play Kings of the wild frontier as my soundtrack.
It actually holds up pretty well. Pop is much despised, but Adam and the Ants' brand of it was a spiky, post punky pop, and Adam was not just trading on his image, the way many of today's popstars do (at least not at that time). Dog eat dog was my introduction to Antmusic. It's not your regular pop music (the Ants had already carved out a very small niche as a decent postpunk band, with a penchant for writing about kinky sex and the like, as can be heard on Dirk wears white sox, which I also own but have yet to rip; it's not as good as Kings... but it's perfectly decent, although more solidly in its genre). It crashes in on a wave of tribal drumming and cattle-calling, indulges in some growling guitar and introduces the conceit of the album, which is that Adam is a native American.
WTF? To this day, I have no idea why he did that. Kings of the wild frontier is the maddest of concept albums. It's all about being a red Indian in the modern day. Of course, Adam Ant is not any sort of Indian. Back in the day, we did not know that he was deranged, but maybe we should have taken the hint.
I know, it does sound as though an album of songs about how the Geronimo in you is being worn down would be duff, but Adam Ant had a knack for a tune and the guitars, about as far back in the mix as you'll ever hear them, and rhythm mesh to make a menacing noise that, hearing it now, is as far from most pop as you can get and still have a hit.