Adam Ant: interview

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From the capital's grimy scene to the glitz of Hollywood, Adam Ant was a genuine '80s superstar - but despite his success and celebrity girlfriends, he was fighting a losing battle with manic depression. With his remarkably candid autobiography published this week he talks to Time Out about music, madness and his 'beloved London'.

  • Adam Ant: interview

    A happier and healthier Stuart Leslie Goddard in September 2006

  • Four-and-a-half years ago, a clinically depressed Adam Ant wrote a lengthy letter to Time Out complaining about an off-hand remark we’d printed about his ex-girlfriend, the American actress Heather Graham. A few days later he went to the Prince of Wales pub in Kentish Town to confront a man who’d been threatening him. He got into an argument with some other men and threw a piece of car engine through the pub window before pulling out a replica pistol. He was later arrested at gunpoint by an armed response unit and sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

    Now promoting his autobiography, the artist born Stuart Leslie Goddard 51 years ago seems well on the road to recovery. A face-to-face interview with him was, at the last minute, cancelled and commuted to a phoner, although he eventually agreed to a photoshoot, which showed that he had lost the weight he put on through medication (which he is still on). Over the course of a long conversation, Adam was impeccably polite, slightly vulnerable and willing to talk openly about his life in his softly spoken, endearingly boyish voice.

    ‘Stand and Deliver: The Autobiography’ is quite a tale about the boy from the council estate in Marylebone who took art-school punk to the top of the charts. It’s a whirlwind story of sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, suicide attempts and deranged stalkers; it’s about his mum working as a cleaner at Paul McCartney’s house; about his early band Bazooka Joe, which featured the ‘Does My Bum Look Big In This?’ comedy actress Arabella Weir; about Bazooka Joe playing on the same bill as the Sex Pistols; about beating up Sid Vicious; about how Nancy Spungen used to smell of piss; about hanging out at a punk brothel in Buckingham frequented by MPs and lords; about being royally fucked over by Malcolm McLaren who poached his band; about his girlfriends, Amanda Donohoe, Heather Graham, Jamie Lee Curtis and Carole Caplin; about starstruck meetings with Muhammad Ali, Robert De Niro, Michael Jackson, Princess Diana and the Queen; about moving to Hollywood and battling with manic depression. He also writes at length about the events of January 2002…

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