Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Unplug the Jukebox and Do Us All a Favor

I lost her in the fog.

"Hey," she said, "do you want to go square dancing?"

No. But not only did I not want to go. I didn't want her to want to go.

And while it was (more than) okay for me not to want to go, looking back I can see that not wanting her to want to go was a problem. And a red flag.

That's just common sense.

But when you want something as much as I wanted her, your common sense books the first flight for the tropics, leaving you stuck in the fog.

In the 1970s, Adam Ant was heading nowhere. He was in a band called Bazooka Joe that is remembered today only as the answer to the trivia question "who was the headliner at the first live Sex Pistols show?"

But Adam watched the Sex Pistols, glimpsed the future, and broke up his band. His next band, Adam and the Ants, fused ska polyrhythms, punk energy, and glam dress-up style with pirate uniforms.

He eventually got Sex Pistols svengali Malcolm McLaren to manage the band. But McLaren had little interest in Adam Ant and soon convinced the other Ants to jump ship to join Bow Wow Wow. Undeterred (or at least not wanting candy), Ant recruited Marco Pirroni (ex of Siouxsie and the Banshees) and several others as the new Adam and the Ants. Pirroni would write or co-write most of their hits, even after Ant hung up his puffy pirate shirt for good. (Link for Gmail subscribers.)

I talked her out of square dancing and talked her into going to see Adam and the Ants. She hated the crowd, hated the songs, and hated the fact that there were two drummers. I loved the energy, loved the crowd, and found the music pleasant (even if it wasn't that memorable). It was like we were at two completely different concerts.

We walked back to campus in the fog and I knew all was lost.

Even before she demanded I take her square dancing the next weekend.

Years later, at the edge of a different ocean, the fog rolled in again. And I went for a walk and realized that, although I've never owned an Adam and the Ants record, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for them. Because at least they don't play square dancing music.


March to the Sea said...

Second concert I ever saw..adam ant on the Viva Le(la?) rock tour...

Alex said...

Ah... but what was the first one?

Mister Pleasant said...

I never knew that MacLaren lured the original Ants away. Marco Pirroni turned out to be quite a find, as many of his Ant Tunes are still enjoyable to hear. No wonder Adam kept him around when he went solo.

The Ant's hits are definitely a guilty pleasure for me. As are their baroque and bawdy videos.

Great story by the way. I would guess that a lot of us have been lost in that fog.

Holly A Hughes said...

I'm sorry -- as soon as you mentioned the pirate shirt I couldn't think of a single song that Adam and the Ants did. And you know I love my 80s cheese!