For the next 30 minutes, The
Upstart Pipsqueaks will control the horizontal, and the vertical,
of your computer monitor. So don't touch. Don't. If, in the
event, we lose control of your stuff... we'll do our best
to bring it back to you in one piece. Stop touching it. I
said... Stop. Okay, just for that... you have to claim it
As always, this article is best viewed whilst listening to
the album concerned... or a different one. What do we care?
By the way, when you
see an icon next to the text, that means there is audio for
you to listen to.
Adam and the Ants: Kings of the Wild Frontier
-dog eat dog-
Skid: It's about 8 o'clock in the morning. Ruxy just woke
up; Skid's been up for about 48 hours... We're drinking coffee
Rux: We're crazy like
that... Some sort of native madness going on.
Skid: 2 drummers.
Rux: Okay, I can tell
you right now what I like about early Adam and the Ant's stuff.
Skid: All Right.
Rux: Dueling vocals.
Skid & Rux: (sing
in unison) Oh yeah. Oh right. "It's dog eat dog eat dog eat
dog eat dog eat..."
Rux: And the fact that
he says, "brush me daddy-o."
Skid: Okay. Bands with
2 drummers... Adam and the Ants.
Rux: Course of Empire.
Skid: Course of Empire...
Golden Earring... Mel Torme.
(Laughter) Scrubby, scrubby, scrubby... Fuck the dog?
Rux: Don't talk like
Skid: It's what the man said.
Rux: Oh yeah. And the
other thing I like about this band is the spaghetti western
guitar, courtesy of Marco Pirroni.
Skid: The Good, the Bad,
and the Ugly. I wanted to mention... the cover of this album,
as well as Dirk Wears White Socks, the photo is taken from
a video. I think they were trying to say something about the
new medium of videoooo.
Rux: You think? In 1980?
It was pre-MTV... I guess there was still video going on,
Skid: Well, when was
Rux: Like 1983 or something...
Skid: I remember the...
Eurythmics, as well as mine... also put a video shot on their
Rux: On which album?
Skid: I have no idea.
Rux: That's a very nice
Skid: I never liked the
"dog eat dog" part.
Rux: (sings) "dog eat,
dog eat, dog eat, dog eat, dog eat, dog eat, dog eat,
dog eat, dog eat, dog
Skid: Clicking drumsticks...
Rux: Two pair...
Skid: Dueling drumstick
Rux: I don't know who
the drummers were on this record, but they were fucking great.
Skid & Rux: (sing)
"Well, I'm standing here, looking at you, what do I see, looking
straight thru... it's so sad, when you're young, to be told....
Skid: And also, I should
say that this is the album that introduced me to what I thought
was punk rock, at the time... We all know better now.
Rux: This is the NEW,
new wave sound!
Skid: Yes. But it did
change my world.
Rux: Oh yeah... And for
me, I grew up listening to Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers...
And then all of a sudden I'm saying to myself... oh look,
Skid: Cowboys... oh wait...
Rux: Wait a second...
Rux: I think these guys,
and Joy Division, were the bands at this point in my life
that I started turning from country music to listen to.
Skid: Well, this had
a little country, obviously... Did you feel that they were
making fun of country, at all?
Rux: No... I don't think
that at that point I understood the whole making fun of things
in music. When you are young, music is so pure that you don't
look at it as a sarcastic thing.
Skid: I vividly recall
my sister defending Adam and the Ants as not being punk, or
new wave... but as being "Ant music". No one was very convinced...
And then she'd go on to play a Barry Manilow record. She was
a little confused. God rest her soul. It's kind of a limiting
genre, when there can be only one band that's "ant music"...
But then there was Bow Wow Wow, which was anti-ant music.
Rux: I thought that was
early feminine chick rock.
Skid: Not really, seems
how she was only 15. You know who put together Adam and the
Rux: (dramatic pause)
Skid: Why, yes... and
when they fell apart, he put together... Bow Wow Wow.
Rux: So that explains
the Bow Wow Wow drumming.
Skid: Yessir... they were out of the ashes of Adam and the
Ants... they were half of the Ants. (Looks at liner notes)
Now riddle me this: Why is Antmusic the only song in quotations?
(sings) "Do do do... Los ran-cher-os."
Skid: And then some of
them went to Culture Club.
Rux: NUH UH!
Rux: Shut up!
Rux: SHUH UUHH.
Skid: (sings) "Oi, oi,
Rux: (in shock) Some
of the Ants, you mean? But, not Marco or Adam.
Skid: (laughing) No!
I should say, one of the Ants...
Rux: And obviously, it
was not the drummer.
Skid: Possibly one of
Rux: (sings) "Ranchurio-o."
Rux: It's like the British
Italian movie music... The spaghetti western stylee music.
Skid: You and I already know that Marco was the hidden talent
Rux: But he never acted... in movies about wastelandic times.
Skid: Good Lord, no...
Rux: Whereas our good
Skid: Stuart Goddard...
Rux: Yeah, in all his
glorious shortness, did do some fine acting. As the leader
of the rabble...
Skid: World Gone Wild.
Rux: Is that what it
Skid: World Gone Wild...
Rux: Go out and rent
it, kids... go out and rent it.
Skid: Apocalypse at the
drive-in. Adam Ant's Mad Max.
Rux: All these new movies
with their fantastic special effects, and their view of post-apocalyptic
society, cannot compare to... World Gone Wild. (Laughter)
Where do they get the ricocheting bullet sound?
Rux: Hollywood, I would
Skid: Oh yeah? I only
got one thing from Hollywood, and a little antibiotics cleared
that right up. Her sister wouldn't, but Hollywood. Adam Ant's
the first guy I saw with the little, tiny braids. Which is
why I tend to sport them from time to time.
Oh yeah? Where as I tended to sport mine because of....
Skid: Boy George?
Rux: No no no! Not Derri, But Steve Hindalong, from the Choir.
Skid: Okay... I hadn't
Rux: He was the guy I
most vividly recall doing it. Except for Aimee Mann, of course.
Skid: And that guy is
one funny looking dude.
Rux: He looks like a
girl, named Aimee.
Skid: He looks like an
ugly girl... should we say something about this song? Because,
it is a good song and it should be addressed.
-feed me to the lions-
Rux: Now, with Feed Me To The Lions, we lose our spaghetti...
Skid: This song was a
little too sexy for me at the time... it makes me feel dirty.
Rux: This is a touch-yourself
song? We've got these killer dueling vocal lines.
Skid: Yeah. Always. A
lot of people equate that with Peter Murphy also. I think
this is really one of the places that they really started
Rux: Yeah? It was definitely
a product of the post-punk, I think. And to me, this is really
post punk, AND post new wave.
Rux: Yeah, because to
me, New Wave is your crappy Police and all that business...
So to me, this is like, the New new wave... or post punk.
Skid: I knew about this
before I knew about the Police.
Rux: You're a lucky man...
Oh, and The Clash... I consider the Clash new wave.
Rux: Because they didn't
have the ingredients for punk rock, I don't think.
Skid: Well, early on
when they were wearing the boots and the flak jackets...
Rux: Even with Combat
Rock it wasn't very punk rock for me... It was far too musically
versatile and pretty to be punk.
Skid: You mean wimpy.
Rux: Yeah, that too.
Skid: It was kind of
odd seeing Strummer with a mohawk singing some of that stuff.
Rux: They wanted so badly
to be punks, but it just never came off that way to me. But
as long as you wore a Clash t-shirt, you were okay being a
punk. BUT, if you were listening to the Clash, it would never
fly, and you'd get the stuffing kicked out of your teddy-bear
Skid: I think the term
"new wave", since it was cooked up by the press, was limiting
and no one would have called themselves new wave if they'd
expected it to last. They should have numbered it and signed
it and called it the second wave, the third wave...
Rux: (sings) "Hi ho hi
ho hi ho."
Skid: (sings) "It's off
to work we go. Oh we oh... ohhh oh."
Rux: We've got thirteen tracks on this album, and I can only
think of two of them that aren't that good. Maybe three. And
one of them is coming up...
Skid: Well, two of them,
and I think we are through two of them.
Rux: Two of them that
aren't so good? Which ones don't you like?
Skid: Well, "Dog Eat
Dog" I'm not so crazy about...
Rux: See, I dig that
one, mostly because of the drumming.
Skid: Yeah. Just parts
of it bug me. The last one, "Feed Me To the Lions," I never
really cared for. I do like some of the background vocals.
Rux: It's really all
about the vocal treatment... The ones I don't like so much,
are the "Human Beings," and "Don't Be Square."
Rux: And here is your
social statement for the album...
Skid: I think a lot of
bands write a song like this. The Jam had "This is the Modern
World". Where they claim that they don't care about what the
press thinks. "We're on the outside, but we're not looking
in" was one of the things I held onto as a youth.
Rux: Yeah. (Sings) "Do
Skid: I like the bendy
Rux: The bass line in
this is very funny. (Sings) "Do do do do do do do do."
Skid: Who the fuck is
Nick Kent? New Music Express?
Rux: Could have been...
They certainly don't care for him much, though.
Skid: (sings) "We are
not different, we are exactly the same."
Rux: Now I don't know
if back then, these guys were that well received by the British
music press. I really don't remember back that far, press
wise. I can remember the music, but I can't remember what
the world's reaction was to it... you know?
Skid: And I wasn't in
England, so much.
Rux: Oh yeah. There is
that. An ocean. But like nowadays, I guess we are much more
global than we were back then... If you don't hear it directly,
you can find out all about things with the click of a computer
button. I guess when you are ten, you can't really say, "Hey
Ma, take me to the record store so I can get the New Music
Express. Hey Ma, you're spoiling all the paintwork."
Skid: Well, the first
punk rag that I remember was Maximum Rock'n'Roll.
Rux: Yeah... We didn't
find that until like '87 or so...
Skid: Nah, it was around
'85 or '86.
Rux: I miss the Maximum
Rock 'n' Roll. And then for me, the finest rock publication,
from about 1992 on was The Big Takeover.
Skid: I have no idea
what that is.
Rux: It's Jack Rabid's
mag... I guess out of Texas. He really did a lot for introducing
much of the Brit-pop in the nineties to America. And all the
kids who were into the Brit-pop read the Big Takeover.
Skid: I have no idea
what that is.
Rux: I love the feedback
at the end of the song... and the madness. Number 9. Number
9. Number 9.
Skid: Here we go...
Rux: Oh yeah! I once
heard New Ben Franklins do this song...
Skid: Shuh Uh... Bass
on the offbeat is nice. The fact that the bass, guitar, and
the vocals are all doing something completely different that
is so nice.
Skid and Rux: (sings)
"Rationalize 'til I'm blue in the face. You cannot win if
you throw the race."
Rux: Now do you think
that Adam wrote all the words, or do you think that Marco
is really responsible for almost everything?
Skid: I've never thought
about it. I kind of assumed that he did write the words, but
the way that they fit in with the music, it is possible that
Marco did that as well.
Rux: He may have actually
co-written a bunch of this stuff. If you look at the Adam
Ant records without Marco Pirroni, it's a very different flavor,
overall. Lyrically, and of course, musically... But the thing
is, even with Marco, after these first couple of records,
there was such a stylistic musical change anyways.
Skid: I love the kettledrums
here. And just the exchange between the vocals and the instruments,
it really stands up, even today.
Rux: This is... This
is probably my favorite off of this record. This, and "Antmusic."
"Killer in the Home" is pretty good though. We'll be getting
to that in a moment. That's pretty much your Doors song, though.
I keep wanting to say, " Father... I want to kill you."
Skid: His brain is squirming
like a toad.... It really is very rich. It's inventive and
very different from a lot of things. It draws from familiar
areas like spaghetti western and horror, but it really puts
it together nicely.
Rux: It does. It's an
excellently packaged music. I really wish we had some production
credits other than produced by Chris Hughes... I would actually
like to find a biography of this time for Adam and the Ants.
I think that it would be fascinating to read what actually
-killer in the home-
Rux: I think when I originally got into this band, it was
solely because of the drumming. Really... and I think that
you are right, the guitars are very western, and I reckon
it was very familiar to me back then. There wasn't too much
to step out of my comfort zone, coming from country music.
I'm still just enraptured with this drumming. And I kind of
look at it like the other
bands I got into around this time were for similar reasons...
a lot of it had to do with the drumming. Joy Division, Bauhaus...
songs like "In The Flat Field." Some Siouxsie... I think a
lot of the early Siouxsie stuff was very inventive. What do
you think the Siouxsie/Adam Ant connection is? There has got
to be one...
Skid: Ummm... Sid Vicious
played drums for Siouxsie and the Banshees...
Rux: Yeah... and Siouxsie
was on TV with the Sex Pistols... When she was very young,
she was like 17 or something.
Skid: I didn't know that.
Rux: Yeah, pre-Budgie
Siouxsie Sioux. I bet that Marco knew this fella that knew
this kid that once met a guy that heard Mike Wallace mention
a legend that his sister's cousin knew Budgie, and they had
coffee every other weekend. That's going to be my assumption
at this point.
Skid: Okay. Well, I'll
bet that McLaren was grooming Siouxsie to be the Bow Wow Wow...
Rux: Ahhhh. Very interesting
Mister Bond. I bet the McLaren is the connection behind it
all. He needs to write some books too, so we can find out
about all this, from his skewed perception of what went on.
Skid: I think he did.
But he should just Phil Spector out.
Rux: Spector out? I did!
I know he has written a bunch of stuff, but I don't know that
any of it was really about anything important... thinking
about it, in this time frame, I can't think of anything off
the top of my head that can come close to this as far as depth.
I'm sure there were things out there, I just can't think of
-kings of the wild frontier-
Rux: And here you have the bitchin' drumming.
Skid: This is the definitive
drumming. When I think about the two drummers, this is what
I think of.
Rux: This song has it
all... the entire Adam and the Ants' schtick. You have the
call and response vocals, you have duel vocals, you have ultra
tom drumming, spooky western guitar, you have a little counterpoint
bass, although it's not as evident on this song as on some
Skid: You've got kettledrums.
Rux: You've got Adam
sounding like Johnny Rotten. Or is that John Lydon?
Skid: There is no John
Lydon. I will swear to that... I worked with a kid named John
Lydon... he got no end of hell from us, I can attest.
Rux: So what happened
with this band? It got too good for Malcolm McLaren? He put
it together and it got out of control... bigger than his head.
Skid: I don't know.
Rux: Parents, I beseech
you... allow your children to listen to Adam and the Ants!
To improve your quality of life, and increase their responsibility...
because we are family! ...I got all my sisters and me.
Skid: When I was that
age, maybe it didn't answer any questions for me... but it
really did help me a lot because it did make me start looking
for the answers. Maybe that's a little deep for Adam and the
Ants, but that's how I view it. I once knew a guy named Dionysis,
that handed me a picture
of a blue elephant. He said it helped him a lot, but it didn't
do a damned thing for me. Shade too white... Duane Eddy...
Skid & Rux: (in
unison) And his twangy guitar.
Rux: Do you think there
is some link between these guys and the Cult?... I bet there
Skid: See, I think of
the Cult as coming later on... I guess they were around, but...
Rux: In '80? It was the Southern Death Cult, I guess.
Skid: Right. But by the
time they made a name for themselves, it was much later.
Rux: Well, by the time...
In America, at least... By the time anyone had heard of them
it was Sonic Temple, and it was '87 or something. Skid: That's
not true. Before they got any radio play, yes, but... by that
time it was all over,
and they were opening for Metallica. You know, Chow saw Ian
break his leg in about '84, and the Divinyls opened for them.
He fell off the stage or something. So Chow and all his buddies
went to the
hospital to see if they could visit him.
Rux: Well, Dreamtime was like '83... it was the decline of
Adam and the Ants, and the rising of the Cult. And on the
first couple of Cult records there was a lot of western flavor,
I think. Not to mention, all of the Indian imagery that both
bands used... or is that Native American? Skid: Asbury claims
to be Native American, and he put together the legendary "Gathering
Tribes", which was the pattern for Lollapalooza.
Rux: Now this song,
"The Magnificent Five," sounds very 80's to me. Where the
rest of this record really doesn't.
Skid: They're the Mag
Five, instead of the Fab Four. That fuzzy guitar sounds 80's
Rux: Well, yeah... and
this rhythm here, during the verse, sounds much more 80's
to me. It almost sounds Stray Cats-ish, actually. I'm just
going to say throughout this review: "Well, what do you think
their connection is to... the Stray Cats?" I'm looking for
Skid: You're going across
the ocean for that one. What are you? James Burke, all of
-don't be square, be there-
Rux: When did the Stray Cats rise to fame?
Skid: (from the lou)
Rux: about '85, huh?
Skid: I wonder how they
carried this off live. I really would have liked to have seen
that, because most of the time he's got two or sometimes three
vocals going on at the same time.
Rux: And back then it
wasn't like you just sampled everything and played it back
live, either. You actually would have had to have background
singers. I remember seeing footage of these guys live... Now
this one, I don't like. Because it's disco. Where the hell
did this song come from?
Skid: Yeah... Until
you get to here.
Rux: Until the second
drummer starts in, it's pretty much disco.
Skid: (sings) "Whatever
Rux: The lyrical content
fits with the record, but the music really doesn't... for
Skid: I guess it did
bother me for a while, too.
Rux: This would be something
I would expect DEVO to do... It's like a DEVO song is hidden
on the Adam and the Ants record. You have all these different
parts. Some of them fit, and some of them don't. There is
a little bit more discord than I'm used to hearing in music
like this. Whatever that
Skid: It's not as bad
as "Goody Two Shoes."
Rux: Well, no. Did you
not like any of the later stuff... like "Whip in the Valise?"
Skid: I remember that
particular song I don't like. I think there was other stuff
on that album that I did like.
Rux: That was on Dirk
Wears White Socks?
Skid: I don't remember.
"Strip," I didn't like.
Rux: I like the song
"Strip," but most of that record I don't remember liking much
at all. I think it was the song "Strip" that I liked...
Skid: Who was Dirk?
Rux: That was me.
Skid: Really? I had no
Rux: Back then, I wore
Skid: And now?
Rux: Now, I wear gray
Skid: It's the same socks
Rux: Oh sure... pretty
much. They hide the dirt better though.
Skid: They were right
on this part. You might not like it now, but you will.
Rux: I guess this is
better than I remember it... this song. It definitely is palatable,
it's not like I want to press the skip button. (Wistfully)
If I could only find a girl that liked antmusic... and Naked
Skid: (not wanting to
hurt feelings) AaaaaaaahhhhhhRrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Skid: I still find myself singing this song from time to time.
Rux: (sings) "Flintsto-ones.
The Jolly Roger-r. Flintsto-ones, the Jolly Roger-r." What
do the Flintstones have to do with it?
Skid: (whistles along)
Jolly Roger? I did.
Rux: This was great.
This was a sign of things to come on the next record, I think.
The next record lost a little bit of the western flavor...
Skid: Prince Charming?
Rux: I though it was
Skid: I think Dirk was
the live one...And Prince Charming was before this.
Rux: No, I think this was the first one. We'll have to consult
the library for that. The best thing about this song is there
is almost no music. It's completely vocals.
Skid: And the romping
guitars on the water.
Rux: It's so subdued...
and the drums are so very subdued. They're there, but there
really isn't much to them.
Skid: The sea shanty.
Rux: What's he saying?
Skid: "Hoist the Jolly Roger."
Rux: "Hoi-oist 'em?"
Skid: "Hoist the-eh ..."
Rux: "Oh... Hoist up..."
Skid: "Hoist the."
-physical (you're so)-
Rux: Now, this song I really like. The last good thing that
Nine Inch Nails ever did was a cover of this song. Skid: I
may like it better now, I used to not like this. This would
be the third song I don't like.
Rux: It doesn't fit with
the album at all. But taken on it's own, I think it's a really
Skid: Well, on that one
Nine Inch Nails tour, Adam Ant showed up on stage with them.
Rux: Nuh uh.
Rux: I was obviously
Skid: I believe it was
in New York, and we don't live there.
Rux: Oh yeah.
Skid: (indignantly) ANYMORE.
Rux: I pretty much like
any song that says the words "twist and shout" I think. I
think it's a key phrase for me.
Skid: Mine is "the woods
are lovely, dark and deep". I think that my aversion to this
song has to do with Olivia Newton-John.
Rux: The short one! It's
about me! I think the things I like this song for are: the
feedback. The completely different vocal treatment he gives
it with stretching out not only vowels, but also consonants...
and the fact that he says "twist and shout." And I really
like the lyrical phrasing where there is lyrics, and then
there is additional stuff, like: When you wear that dress,
you know, the short one. Like it's a fragment added in to
better the song, but its not really in time with the music.
Skid: But not a real
short dress, that's cruel... I think that this song had a
little influence on the Bauhaus.
Rux: Or the other way
Skid: Could be, because
I know they were contemporaries.
Rux: Bauhaus started
in like '78 or something. Or was it in the 30's?
Skid: Hmmm... Wait a
second... we can't talk about Prince Charming, because we're
not reviewing it.
Rux: We can talk about
Skid: Oh that's right.
We're cartoon characters... Now look at the cover of Prince
Charming... What person formerly known as Prince...
Rux: Oh yeah!!!
Skid: But you already
knew that didn't you? ...Separated at birth?
Rux: Twin sons of different
Skid: Both are short.
Both have an affinity for women's clothing, and make-up. "Physical"
is much better now.
the term "Human Beings" was a Native American euphemism for
Rux: did I say I didn't
like this song?
Skid: I think you did.
Rux: I think I did...
but I didn't mean it. I was thinking of that kid over at Melford.
Skid: You were thinking
of bad as a colloquialism. Slang term for... It was one bad
Rux: Shut your mouth.
Skid: Hey, I'm just talking
Rux: I can dig it.
Skid: Damn right.
Rux: The Indian ties
here, when he dropped off of that, the Cult picked it up.
So I'm thinking, whether they were friends or not, or musically
connected, I think that this had some effect on [the Cult].
Either that, or there was some movement in the 80's in Britain
to recognize the Native American plight... which I would find
rather odd, but... Who
the hell knows what those limeys did in the 80's.
Skid: The guy who wrote
"Last Of The Mohicans" was British... So what was that all
Rux: Rudyard Kipling?
Is that who wrote it?
Skid: No, I'm certain
it wasn't. an uncomfortable amount of time later...
Rux: I read that book... I like the book a lot more than the
movie, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
Skid: Was he Doris Day
and Jerry Lewis' kid?
Rux: Jerry's kid....
Once again, the main element of the song is the vocals. The
bass and drums definitely carry their weight, but they're
mixed so far back.
Skid: Gary Tibbs.
Skid: Gary Tibbs was
in Culture Club.
Rux: And who was he?
Skid: I don't know.
Rux: And so there you
have it. Kings of the Wild Frontier.
Skid: Marco Pirroni,
please call us.
Rux: We dig your crazy
style. He's fat now.
Skid: He was kind of
Rux: And he still had
for the record:
number of songs neglected by the reviewers: 4
Answers to quiz questions:
2) John Moss - drummer
3) James Fenimore Cooper
4) C. Day-Lewis, former poet laureate of Britain, father
5) Adam Ant was in Spellcaster (1988) with William (I) Butler
William (I) Butler was in Sleepers (1996) with Kevin Bacon
Next fortnight: Oasis : Standing On the Shoulders of Giants