Posted by News Express | 21 January 2013 | 7,356 times
A man who became mad midway into his music career has returned to the studio to record a new album after 17 years’ absence from the scene. His story is one which makes the point that you can always bounce back no matter what you go through in life.
“You should never feel ashamed of madness,” says 58-year-old Stuart Goddard, better known to the world as Adam Ant, in an interview he granted Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
The London-based Adam Ant (shown in photo), according to the paper, “was the world’s biggest pop star, until mental illness derailed his life.”
Following a decline in his fortunes, Adam Ant “disappeared after his poorly received eighth album, Wonderful, in 1994,” according to the report. “I needed a break from the music industry,” he claims, “but I didn’t plan it. It just worked out that way.”
Goddard’s long absence was compounded by the mental health problems he had been suffering since youth (he attempted suicide at 21 and was briefly sectioned). Following a series of incidents in 2002 and 2003 when he was arrested for causing affray and ordered to undergo mental health treatment, Adam Ant is probably as well-known now for his illness as his pop career.
“It’s the elephant in the room,” he says.
When he embarked on a comeback with well-received live shows in 2010, he made a decision to be candid about all of this. “They call it bipolar disorder, that’s the modern term. 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 poor house – and worse than that is the mad house. 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.”
The comeback album, with the unusual title Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar In Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter, is to be released on Goddard’s own label, Blueblack Hussar Records.
Two songs on the album address other singers who suffered mental health problems, Marvin Gaye and obscure British rock and roller Vince Taylor, a figure now remembered more for his breakdowns than his music.
Pulling an old 7in single of Taylor’s out of an overstuffed box, Goddardsays: “He took too much acid and went on stage claiming he was Jesus Christ but he was really an impressive performer. I thought ‘that’s me. I nearly did a Vince Taylor.”
Among the teetering piles of historical and showbusiness biographies in the room where Mr. Goddard was interviewed were books about such troubled singers as Johnny Cash and Nina Simone.
Hear him: “I made some bad mistakes and got into trouble with the police, it was such a shock to me, then you read about some of these old rock-and-roll stars and that’s like an average week for them. When you are constantly working on a creative level, the pressures are sometimes overwhelming. It’s good to find out you’re not going through these things alone.”
For many years, Goddard felt his prescription drug regime stifled his creativity but whenever he stopped taking medication, breakdowns were liable to occur. Now he works closely with psychiatrists and his GP to get the balance right.
“Everybody’s condition is unique and the kind of treatments available are quite varied. It’s a very personal thing. But I’m writing again, performing again, and I appreciate how lucky I am.”
I wish I could report that his new album was an artistic triumph. Actually it’s an odd, ungainly set of songs, almost a throwback to his art school punk days, the revealing lyrics too often let down by lo-fi production, haphazard arrangements, wayward melodies, muddy mixes and a general sense of trying to cram too many ideas in.
“I had a lot to get off my chest,” he says and the result is as messily fascinating as his home office space, where books about Nelson and Napoleon are stacked beneath lurid paintings of big-breasted rockabilly women and a photo of Adam with Pop Art hero Andy Warhol nestles alongside a framed topless shot of the actress Jamie Lee Curtis. “We dated for a while,” he explains, “and she gave me that.”
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