Stand and deliver
Years before the likes of Duran Duran and Michael Jackson blew up MTV with lavish video spectacles, British artist Adam Ant broke ground on the medium.
The singer, who performs Wednesday, September 11, at Ace of Spades, made wild, colorful clips replete with pirates and horses, boxers and butlers. His image was curated in part by Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, but much of it was also informed by Ant's graphic-design background. Before he started performing, the artist, born Stuart Leslie Goddard, studied at Hornsey College of Art.
“Everything I learned in art school helped me when I got into rock 'n' roll, [with] album covers and typography, and the videos,” Ant told SN&R in a recent interview. “[But] videos don't have the same impact now—the whole MTV thing peaked by the time “Thriller” came along, and artists were competing with major Hollywood directors and million-dollar budgets.”
Even still, faced with such competition, Ant's “new romantics” style and raw, post-punk sound continued to earn him fans for such tracks as “Goody Two Shoes” and “Strip.” The singer struggled with mental illness over the years, but experienced a 1995 comeback with the hit song “Wonderful,” and also acted in TV and on film.
Ant's latest record is the double album Adam Ant Is the BlueBlack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter, and his current tour focuses on both new and old material.
“Obviously, the hits are what people want to hear,” he says. “If I were to go see Roxy Music, I'd want to hear the hits, too.” 8 p.m. $30, Ace of Spades, 1417 R Street; (877) 463-2875; www.adam-ant.com.