13.11.09

ADAM & THE ANTS : Music For A Future Age (Demos 1977-78)

Photobucket
Circa 1978, The Ants were one of the country's greatest unsigned bands. Adam Ant, the punk rock epitome of literature's "wicked boy" at this point, was haemorrhaging tons of decadent & provocative songs, the band honing them to perfection during a protracted stretch of intense & tribalistic live performances (there's a terrific 1978 show from The Marquee here). In more than one instance I've heard period punk pundits claim that 1977 was a curiously sex-free "revolution", most of it's participants having indulged in too much amphetamine sulphate to engage in any kind of passionate post-pogo tryst, but The Ants certainly seem to have found plenty of time for (ahem) "fun" if Adam's tenaciously priapic lyrics are anything to go by. As you're probably already aware, Malcom McLaren swiped this version of The Ants from under Adam's unsuspecting nose for his rather half-baked Bow Wow Wow debacle ('cept for the brilliant Andy Warren - aka Kurt Van Den Bogarde - who fortuitously defected to The Monochrome Set & currently performs with the Would-Be-Goods). Sadly, now that Decca's much-delayed Young Man Rocking boxset seems unlikely to ever appear (I've no idea whether the cold feet responsible belong to Adam or the label), it's scurrilous archives like this one that ensure the seminal Antz banner remains aloft. AvANTi!
Photobucket
Photobucket
This exhaustive sequence of demos has been previously released under the title Who Taught You To Torture (a line from the classic "Whip In My Valise" of course) &, though it's not quite complete (no "Send A Letter To Jordan" or "Juanito The Bandito", though you can probably live without hearing the latter tbh), virtually every half decent pre-Do It, pre-Dirk Wears White Sox song is included. A mere handful of these tracks turned up, very nicely remastered, on the Antbox compilation a few years back (the excellence of which makes the cancellation of Young Man Rocking even more agonising), but that still leaves criminally discarded "lost" songs like "Il Duce", "Punk In The Supermarket"", "Mice In Freefall" & the titular "Dirk Wears White Sox" itself for you to swoon over. Though The Ants had ditched most of these songs by the time they came to record that debut LP (because they were worried about being forever typecast as kinky artschool Nazi fetishists?), Adam later milked these early recordings for numerous b-sides at the height of Antmania with Marco Pirroni on hand - hence you'll discover a blistering version of "Beat My Guest" if you flip "Stand & Deliver" over, a full-pelt "Fall-In" on "Antmusic"'s b-side, & the fantastically unpleasant "Red Scab" twinned with "Goody Two Shoes"(!). "Greta-X", another terrific seminal Ants number (not included here unfortunately), was remodelled as late as 1985, complimenting Adam's so-so "Vive Le Rock" single. Interestingly, "Fall In" is so early that it's actually been attributed to one of Adam's pre-Ants bands, The B-Sides - it's inclusion on the "Antmusic" 7" earned fellow B-Sider (& later sickeningly gifted Monochrome Set lead guitarist) Lester Square a co-write, which must've been worth a few bob I'd imagine? And that's genuine Antz headed notepaper reproduced immediately below - rather fetching, eh?
Photobucket
Ants77
AdamJord77
N.B. No idea where these files originated btw (I found them on Filecrop), but the original poster's sterling work warrants a friendly nippletweak at least...

Part 1 / Part 2

14 comments:

  1. I remember the days of the sign up the Ants and the Banshees campaigns....the Ants were blinding and again criminally underrated before going big... and even on the tours before Antmania they were still pretty raw live.... always liked Youre So Physical which was on one of the early Peel sessions.... anyway thanks for this

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have been reading a few old copies of Zigzag recently & their coverage of pre-CBS Ants is excellent. I'll scan & upload a few bits shortly...

    ReplyDelete
  3. ah kris needs...indeed... zigzag was mighty fine....my brother in laws brother in law is john tobler... used to run zigzag with pete frame.... cant get a more obscure connnection than that ha!.... i shoulda kept all my old copies...

    ReplyDelete
  4. J.Tobler - what's he up to nowadays I wonder? In fact, what's Needs up to at the mo' as well, any idea? Somebody defo needs to compile a "best of" 70s Zigzag I think, even some of the pre-punk stuff is great...?

    If you like these Ants demos keep an eye out online for a bootleg called Antmusic For Sexpeople 'cos it contains all the key early songs & is much better sound quality.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous9.2.12

    The link doesn't seem to work, could you please re-up??

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bear with me, I'm going to bundle these songs with a bunch of new discoveries & re-post them shortly... (Feel feel to remind me!)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous28.3.12

    Please do re-post. I missed this the first time and look forward to hearing this stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's on my "to do" list - I have a lot of Ants junk to rummage through though!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, definitly, rare stuff, please re-upload. Thans u very much.

    ReplyDelete
  10. postpunkweaselman26.8.13

    Saw the Ants 11 times between 78 & 80. Before Bow Wow and Kings, they were just incredible. Kick ass songs and an audience of fanatics. Along with early Banshees, Bauhaus, Rema Rema, Psychedelic Furs, Joy Division & Monochrome Set, they were the best and the foundation for all that was happening in those wild creative days. Those early bootlegged songs are priceless and vastly underrated.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm going to update & repackage this post at some point as I've found lots more early Ants (aka Antz) stuff in the interim... I'd really like to hear more Rema Rema though, have you ever found any live tapes, etc during your online excursions? If so, drop me a line please... (thanks) :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Can you repost these two volumes please?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Patience Mr. Crass, patience... :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Patience is a virtue, if you got it...

    ReplyDelete