drummer with Adam Ant
Interview by Bones, May 2014

Adam Ant's renaissance as an artist has continued unabated over recent months, culminating in a sold out gig last month at the Hammersmith Apollo. Whilst clearly always holding centre stage, Adam appears to understand the necessity in additionally surrounding himself with excellent musicians to ensure the quality of his recordings and live performance.

This fine tradition has continued with the latest line up of the Ants that sees, arguably, their greatest dual backbeat combination of Dave Barbarossa (R*E*P*E*A*T interview here) and JOLA, his female drummer who combines both beauty with musical brains and ability.

So it was a pleasure to recently catch up with her to learn a little about her background, life with Prince Charming and her other band, Blow...

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 Jola?
Excellent thanks.  I’ve just completed a tour with Adam Ant.  New Killer Shoes were supporting and not only are they a great live band but thoroughly nice chaps to boot. We included a smattering of Dirk tracks in the set during the tour which culminated in the album Dirk Wears White Sox being played in its entirety and in the same order as the original album listing. 

* Tell me something about your earliest musical influences and how you started playing the drums?

The first drummers I remember listening to and being gobsmacked by were Mitch Mitchell and Ginger Baker. I also began listening to jazz drummers such as Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams. I was self-taught initially.  I studied music for 3 years and had two brilliant drum tutors; Pete Cater who taught jazz and Paul Elliott who taught technique and contemporary genres.  Prior to joining Adam, I’d never played with another drummer before and had never seen a live band with two drummers, then I came across a jazz band called Fraud and read they had two drummers, Tim Giles and Ben Reynolds.  Fabulous band and the drumming was volcanic.  Then I joined Adam and also had the opportunity to interact with another drummer.

With Adam Ant, Buffalo, NY, USA 2013, photo by Tim Simmons

* I see that you played your first gig with Adam Ant in October 2010. How did you come to join the band?

A friend of mine, Miles Landesman, was Adam’s guitarist at that time.  Adam was looking for a drummer and Miles put my name forward. I’ve been in his band since then.
* What was your initial perception of Adam?  
Very creative.  An excellent singer with a huge range and power.  His phrasing of lyrics is fantastic; sometimes quirky and always interesting. Plus we had a right laugh which is never a bad thing.

With Adam Ant at The RoundHouse

* You've played with a few other drummers with Adam Ant (Andy Woodard, Dave Barbarossa).  Is it more difficult to play with another drummer and do you have to adapt your performance to their style/ability?

It’s fun playing with another drummer.  There has to be an element of compromise but the end result is always interesting to listen to and exhilarating to perform.  Playing with another drummer is not more difficult than playing alone; it’s just different, a different challenge requiring different disciplines.

* You've toured a fair few places whilst in the band.  Do any gigs particularly stand out in your mind?

The recent Hammersmith Apollo gig for sure.  There are too many other highlights to mention, but amongst them would be Hyde Park.  It was a scorcher of a day and when we walked out on stage, there were thousands of heads bobbing around as far as the eye could see; surreal. I also remember the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles 2012.  A lovely venue and it was packed to the rafters. My first gig in the states.  Unforgettable.

* How did you enjoy the Adam Ant gig at the Hammersmith Apollo gig last month, where you played his debut album "Dirk Wears White Sox" in its entirety?  Did it feel that much more special to have original Ants Leigh Gorman and Dave Barbarossa back in the band?

Superb. The fans were fantastic, you could feel their enthusiasm on stage.  They were really up for it.  
It was great to have Leigh and Dave in the band for the tour.  They’re great musicians and top of the range lads and we had a lot of fun.

* Following that, Adam did an acoustic gig at London's legendary 100 Club. What was it like to play the spiritual home of punk? I hear you fulfilled your duties by playing bongos and on a box!
I played at the 100 Club with Adam in 2011 so it was a return to the venue.  It’s a great place to play.  Playing on a box would be very interesting; I’ll put that idea on the backburner.  I actually played on a doumbek, which is a hand drum of Middle Eastern origin.  Some of the numbers, Zerox and Cartrouble spring to mind, worked surprisingly well with it.

What drum kit do you use?
I use a Gretsch New Classic. The tom sound is massive, a lot of resonance.  My snare is a vintage Gretsch chrome snare, with the second of the ‘Stop-sign’ badges on it, which dates it to having been made between 1970 and 1978. 

* Your stage image with Adam is quite elaborate.  Are your costumes specially made for you?
Not all my costumes are made for me.  Some are just bits and pieces that I put together and if I think they’ll work on stage, I’ll wear them.  Then there are costumes specially made for me by two very talented ladies, Caroline Dacre ( and Naomi Gibbs (@naomi_gibbs).  I come up with a simple design and sketch it and Caroline and Naomi then bring my ideas to life.  They’re both incredibly hard working.

* How do you spend your time away from the band and what do you do with yourself between gigs and recording?
Music’s never far away.  I play in a band called BLOW.  We play garage blues with some quirks and twists thrown in.  I also have a project going with Stacey, a friend who’s a guitarist.  We’re working on some songs as a duo and there’s some good sounds coming together there.  I’m always interested in new collaborations and putting together drums parts to new sounds.


* Adam has had quite a high turnover of band members since his resurrection in 2010.  However, you seem to be a constant.  Are you happy to remain as long as required or do you wish to branch out an do other things? 

I’m very happy being Adam’s drummer and remaining so. 

With Adam Ant, Honda Centre, Anaheim, California 2013

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?