It be­gan with a mo­ment of swash­buck­ling des­tiny. But pop ex­haus­tion spelled the end.

Mojo (UK) - - Contents - Chris Mer­rick Hughes’s al­bum Eirenic Life is out now on He­lium Records.

“You have to get a new hair­cut,” he said. Chris Mer­rick Hughes re­mem­bers Adam And The Ants.


I was work­ing with [Liver­pool band] Dalek I Love You, learn­ing the ropes in pro­duc­tion. When I was wait­ing to meet the head of A&R [at Phono­gram], I got chat­ting to Ian Tre­go­ning, who along with his brother Max ran Do It Records. I went to see him in Cam­den and he played me a few bits and pieces by the then-line up of Adam And The Ants – he played cas­settes through an old An­sa­fone – and asked me if I wanted to see if I could do any­thing with them. When I came back with my tape it was the week that Adam had fallen out with Malcolm McLaren: Malcolm had got the rest of the band on­side and ba­si­cally they said they were go­ing to leave Adam and do Bow Wow Wow. Ian must have men­tioned what I was do­ing there, and Adam came in and just said, “Hello. Dunno who the fuck you are but if you think you’re any good we’re ready to go, I’ve got Marco [Pir­roni, gui­tar] in tow, let’s record.” I’d been work­ing at Rock­field with [pro­ducer] Hugh Jones, who I’d ac­tu­ally been at school with, so I gave him a call and by the end of the week we’d ar­ranged to go there and do a cou­ple of tunes, Cartrou­ble and Kick, with Jon Moss play­ing drums. Adam knew he had to put a band to­gether, and from day one he wanted two drum­mers. I’d been play­ing drums for years, and when Adam talked about Bu­rundi, heavy thug drums, I knew what he was talk­ing about be­cause I’d got the orig­i­nal French field record­ings. I went along to help au­dti­ion drum­mers, and at one point

I sat in on one of the kits, and when we were leav­ing, Adam just said, “Oh fuck it why don’t you do it?” I said, Yeah! And he said, “Well, you have to get a new hair­cut.” I had this av­er­agely medium length, non­de­script mid­dle-class hair­cut at the time, so he took me to the then-Ken mar­ket where he knew var­i­ous stylists and groovers that had an idea about the look. Very early on we used to meet up in a café at High­bury & Is­ling­ton be­fore re­hearsals, and one day we were there early. Adam said, “Chris, right now you have to lump all your own gear and all that, but in six months we’ll be house­hold names.” Six months later, we were on Top Of The Pops.


The band was fried. There came a point where we’d do a con­cert some­where in Europe, fly back to do Top Of The Pops and then fly back to Swe­den and do an­other. It was a crazy pe­riod but not unique, and there came a point when Adam needed to take time off. The last thing we did was prob­a­bly a live gig on the Prince Charm­ing Re­vue. It was fine, but the tour be­fore that, when we were do­ing Ja­pan, was a bit more like our per­for­mance on the Old Grey Whis­tle Test, do­ing Ants In­va­sion – I look at that and think, The band were pretty fine then. Since then, young kids had got into it and it was a pop sen­sa­tion more than an un­der­ground Cam­den punk thing. Adam wanted to take it to a flam­boy­ant, vi­brant, pan­tomime, fan­tasy place, and he’d done it. I think one day he just said, “I don’t want to do this any more.” He de­cided to break the band up.

There’s no doubt that Terry [Lee Miall, drums] was a bit lost and up­set by it, and I don’t doubt that Gary [Tibbs, bass] was dis­ap­pointed too, but he came from a bigger world and had worked with Roxy Mu­sic, so he dusted him­self down and car­ried on. Adam in­vited me to his club on Cur­zon Street and ex­plained that he still wanted to work with me and Marco. At this point I was quite in­ter­ested in get­ting back in the stu­dio and record­ing, so I said, Sounds great. We did [Adam Ant solo de­but and Num­ber 1 hit] Goody Two Shoes in Abbey Road, and a cou­ple more things, but Goody Two Shoes was the last thing I did that was suc­cess­ful. There was no ac­ri­mony. Af­ter­wards, I went head­long into do­ing some Tears For Fears stuff [in­clud­ing 1985’s global smash Songs From The Big Chair], so the ball rolled on. Since then we’ve talked about do­ing some­thing, and there have been a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions when it’s al­most-sort of-pos­si­bly hap­pened, but you know, he’s a busy guy. As told to Ian Har­ri­son


In­sect ap­peal: the band in late ’81 (from left) Chris Mer­rick Hughes, Terry Lee Miall, Adam Ant, Marco Pir­roni, Gary Tibbs; (bot­tom) in 1980; (be­low) Mer­rick to­day.

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