Adam Ant Makes Comeback With New CD After Years In The Mental Health Jungle
Although three decades ago he was Britain’s biggest pop star, Adam Ant hasn’t put out an album in 17 years—an unproductive streak that comes to an end with a comeback album this week. The inevitable “whatever happened to…” questions produce a more interesting than usual answer in Ant’s case: Several times, he’s been admitted to a psychiatric hospital—either of his own accord or by being “sectioned,” as they call involuntary commitment in England. “I’m a bit of a nutcase,” he told the Quietus this month.
The jokes almost write themselves. Should the 58-year-old rocker’s new album be called “Madmusic for Sectionedpeople”? If he suffers from bipolar disorder, maybe one of his early ‘80s hits should be updated to “Goody Two-Moods”?
Adam Ant, today
Adam Ant, today
His comeback album has an almost Fiona Apple-esque title: Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter, which frankly sounds like the kind of thing that someone might come up with during a manic episode. It’s a combination of naval/nautical slang phrases that, in their way, hark back to the new-wave days when Ant dressed up in glam-rock pirate regalia on the covers of albums like Kings of the Wild Frontier, the top-selling British record of 1981. Nowadays he tends to look like a more aged, but no less dapper, Johnny Depp. “He was once named the Sexiest Man in America by MTV and the years have been pretty kind to his cheekbones; less so to his hairline,” reported back the Times journalist who was dispatched to meet the bandana-ed up pop star.
Ant believes he’s doing a public service by openly discussing his mental illness as part of the new album’s publicity campaign. “They call it bipolar disorder—that’s the modern term,” he told the Telegraph. “It only means up and down; it used to be manic depression, black dog, whatever. It’s a subject surrounded by a lot of ignorance and taboo. Where I come from, there’s the poorhouse–and worse than that is the madhouse. You should never feel ashamed of it, but you do. A lot of the time you can’t take these problems even to close family because you fear that you’ll alienate them. So anyone in the public eye that comes forward and discusses it, I think it helps.”