By Fred H. Berger
By Fred H. Berger
Style in 2002
Debbie Harry photographed by Brian Aris, 1979
John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers photographed in LA by Bruce Weber, 1991
Adam Ant the Ants- Kings of the Wild Frontier (Top of the Pops 1981)
RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT MUSIC WHILE LISTENING TO ADAM ANT (feel free to skip)
A lot of people who I follow on Tumblr are beholden to the music of the 1960s and 1970s, and I get that. It was an amazing time in music. And I’m sure that it might seem odd to people that I post about the Monkees and then a band like Oasis or Adam Ant or Tame Impala. But to me, all of these bands are very connected and important in their own way.
Music is so interconnected that to me, liking something outside of that small parameter of time isn’t that weird. Adam obviously named the Ants as an homage to the Beatles, and his influences are clearly T. Rex, Roxy Music, Motown records, and the same music of the 50s that influenced people like the Beatles.
This particular song uses two drummers playing the burundi style of drumming made popular by Bo Diddley in the 50s, and the guitar riffs not just on this song, but on their first album are a direct nod to “Rumble” by Link Wray, which is also, as we all know, a favorite track of Jimmy Page.
Adam’s fashion sense is also a mix of the sort of freak clothes that the GTOs and the dandies in the UK in the 60s wore, but obviously with more of a punk/ugly aesthetic.
I don’t really know my point except to say that there is good, fun, well-crafted music from every decade. The 60s gets a lot of press for being an amazing decade, but every decade has valid cultural movements that make society change for the better.
Like Syd Barrett wearing eyeliner in the 60s and then David Bowie and the glam kids following his lead, and then Adam Ant and the punks doing the same but twisting it so it was “ugly/pretty”, and then Adam Ant influencing people like Boy George to feel comfortable enough with himself to wear makeup, etc. It’s all important. If the 60s was a renaissance for the women’s movement and civil rights, I’d like to think that these male popstars being so open about their sexuality and wearing makeup and still being considered sexy and desirable and that it was OK to be a little femme was helpful in the major movement in the 80s, the gay rights movement.
And then Adam influenced the next generation of British musicians like Suede and Blur who definitely took a similar approach to gender roles in the 90s.
But like all of our 60s heroes, these are still catchy 3 and a half minute pop songs. This is still a person who has the same influences and background as many people from the 60s. All he was doing was just modernizing it for the times and twisting it around a bit.
I know it’s easy to get stuck in one frame of mind in terms of music, but when you really think about it, whether it’s Jimmy Page in the 70s or Adam Ant in the 80s or Blur in the 90s or Jack White, all of these dudes are all musical peers who are worthy of attention, in my opinion.
Anyway, just started thinking about this last night and wanted to put it out there as a topic for discussion. Keep in mind I’m not singling anyone out, and that the great majority of my followers are open-minded and genius and awesome and I love you all. Just trying to spread some KNOWLEDGE.
16-year-old Courtney Love photographed by Jon Sievert, 1981.
“When I was fourteen, I was so bloody ugly and I thought I was Kate Moss. I chased this guy named Mark Rennie, who was the hottest photographer in Portland, around, convinced him to [take pictures of me]. I had this big schnoz, I had blusher on, I’m wearing white gloves, and I [was] making new wave faces, and, like, voguing… there was a gap in my teeth, and I was 180 pounds. So if someone calls me ugly, it sort of rolls off my back because it’s not about looks, it’s about attitude—you get laid on attitude.”
— Courtney Love
Courtney Love with her father Hank Harrison and Robin Barbur in 1981.
Photo by Jon Sievert
Courtney Love photographed by Kevin Cummins, March 1993.
The Runaways pose for portraits on the beach in Los Angeles,