Most people are aware of the global success that Adam Ant had in the early to mid 1980s, with pop friendly songs such as "Prince Charming" and "Stand and Deliver". However, fewer will realise that this was not his first attempt at chart success. For several years prior to the commercial glory days he, and his band, had a very different look and sound.

Adam and the Ants first formed as way back as 1977, although it took them some time to settle on a stable line up. The subject matter of songs was poles apart from the bubble gum pop that would bring him world wide fame and fortune with themes as dark and brooding as sex and fetishism. Whilst this brought them a certain amount of notoriety and a spot in Derek Jarman's film "Jubilee", commercial success eluded them.

This part of Ant history was recoded for posterity on their chronically underrated album "Dirk Wears White Sox". For me this remains, by some considerable distance, my favourite Ants record and its nice to see that it will shortly be played, in its entirety, in a one off gig at the Hammersmith Apollo.

So, it was a real pleasure to recently chat with original Ants drummer DAVE BARBAROSSA about his time with the band, the subsequent formation of Bow Wow Wow and the announcement that he will be rejoining the Ants for the upcoming tour and "Dirk" gig...

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

First up, how's life treating you at the moment Dave?
Life is treating me good, ta.

Tell me something about your earliest musical influences and how you started playing the drums?
Early influences were the Latin American music my dad played, the reggae and soul I grew up with in Hackney and the glam rock I heard on TOTPs. Starting tapping about on a friends kit - loved doing it though.

Were Adam and the Ants your first band or had you been in any other beforehand? How did you come to join them?
I’d jammed down the school hall with a few mates. The Ants were the first band, yes. Adam’s drummer dropped out, I stepped in.

What was your initial perception of Adam? He seems very different at that time to the Prince Charming/Highwayman persona that would bring him global success.
I was in awe of the bloke.

What was your relationship like with the rest of the band. Clearly you were close to Matthew Ashman, but what about the other band members?
Yeah, got on with all the chaps. It was an excellent time.

What are your recollections of being a "film star" in Derek Jarman's Jubilee?
A bit of a blur. A lot of ‘sophistos’ and me, with my big hair. A great thing to be in, obviously.

So how did it all come to an end with the Ants and how did Bow Wow Wow begin?
Man, that is very well documented. Briefly, Malcolm stole us away...and Adam went on to be fabulously successful, ha ha.

From the outside its difficult to discern the true role of Malcolm McLaren within both bands. Specifically the "firing" of Adam and then the recruitment of Annabella Lwin. Also I notice he has several co-writing credits on Bow Wow Wow numbers. What's your take on the reality of it, as opposed to the mythology he liked to create about himself?
Malcolm was the intellectual force behind BWW (and a band or two before) a very clever man and a brilliant influence on me.

How did your distinctive Burundi style drumming come about? It appears something that you had been using with the Ants, that was carried over to BWW.

I think I always liked the toms. Recently, I’ve been listening to Dirk and was surprised at how much tom work I’d done on it. The ‘Burundi’ thing? Malcolm made us listen to all sorts of world music for inspiration, and it worked. To be honest, my beats owe as much to Mud and The Glitter Band as any obscure tribe up the Amazon.

The male members of BWW were significantly older and more musically experienced than Annabella. Did this cause any major problems with the music and also the general day to day existence of the band?
Yes, it was complicated. She invariably had a chaperone. The job got done, always. We were very professional.

I was lucky enough to catch BWW at the tribute gig to Matthew Ashman in 2010, with the remainder of the original line up reuniting for the night. So what's you take on the present situation where Leigh Gorman is touring in the US, under the name BWW, but without you and Annabella?
It has nothing to do with me. Any member can use the name. Cool.

Given Adam's almost stratospheric rise to stardom in the early eighties, did you ever have any regrets about leaving the Ants?
None. I am not a ‘sideman’ kind of drummer.

Is it right you supported Adam for his "Wonderful" tour in 1995 with your own band Ping Pong?
Ha ha, it is true.

You then seemed to be a bit of a "drum for hire" over the following years, providing the backbeat for bands such as Republica, Chicane, Beats International and Drizabone. Did you see yourself as a session musician at the time?
I suppose I was, reluctantly. Needs must. A worthwhile thing to do on a professional level.

Latterly you seem to have been involved with bands such as Guilty Fawn, Scant Regard and now Cauldronated which you have been responsible for forming. Whilst you clearly still relish playing, do you now want more control over the musical direction of your band?
Love playing. Cauldronated is my passion. Yes, I like to steer things a little more than I did.


You've also become an author with the novel Mud Sharks. What prompted you to do it and, whilst not directly autobiographical, I take it that you drew on personal experiences when you came to write it.
Yes, it is a story about my story, a fictional account of my school days, family and early years in a band. I have always felt I had a book in me, arrogant pillock that I am.

Do you envisage writing any further novels or perhaps an actual autobiography?
I shall never write a biography. I am writing a second novel.

I will shortly be attending the Hammersmith Apollo gig when "Dirk Wears Whit Sox" will be played in its entirety. I was pleasantly surprised to see that both you and Leigh Gorman have signed up for the project and the preceding tour. How did this come about and is it a permanent rejoining of the Ants?
I received a very charming phone call from a very old friend and could not refuse. Not permanent.

Final Question. Tim Sherwood...is he the man to bring back the glory years to Spurs?

Just keeping us in the division will be glory enough.

A genuinely nice bloke and still enthusiastically involved in music both by refreshing old projects and creating new vibrant bands. Dave's book Mud Sharks can be purchased via his website and you can see him live either with his new band Cauldronated or temporarily back where it all started drumming for the Adam and the Ants in their upcoming UK tour.



wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?