May 1977, the newly formed band, The Ants perform for the first time in public at the ICA restaurant, The Mall in central London and are told to stop after performing just one song Beat My Guest in front of what was said to be a stunned audience.
They continue their set in the ICA theatre, next door, before comedian John Dowie took to the stage. The photographs below were taken during the restaurant performance and the subsequent theatre show, they were first published in Ant News Today issue 9 in 1987. The Ants followed this debut with a couple of shows in the basement of the Man in the Moon pub on Kings Road supporting X-Ray Spex before headlining their own show there on May 25th. It was after this last show that SEX shop assistant Jordan took on the role of manager for the band and also later as a part time vocalist during The Ants set for the song Lou.
Soon afterwards, through Jordan’s contacts, Adam got involved in the film “Jubilee”. He was given the acting part of The Kid and the band got to play a version of the song Plastic Surgery, which was featured in the 1978 release of Derek Jarman’s film. The song is also included on the soundtrack album for the movie along with Deutscher Girls, (original version rather than the overdubbed lyric release from 1982). It was to be the debut release for the band that would then be known as Adam and the Ants.
The band at this time featured Adam (vocals and occasional guitar), Andy Warren (bass), Dave Barbe (drums), Mark Ryan (guitar) and Jordan (vocals).
They began to pound the gig circuit in their home ground of London playing such venues as The Vortex, The Roxy and the Marquee. They also started to get gigs out of the capital and played as far afield as Liverpool, Birmingham and Plymouth.
By October Mark Ryan was out and John Beckett, who was to be known as Johnny Bivouac for the 7 months that he is was the band, took his place. For this change of band members The Ants are no more, the band were then to be called Adam and the Ants. By this time the production company for the film “Jubilee”, Megalovision, were organising things for the band. They managed to secure a three month residency at the infamous Marquee club on Wardour Street during November, December and into January 1978.
Throughout the start of 1978 Adam and the Ants played around England building up a solid fan base. They also managed to record four songs (Puerto Rican, Deutscher Girls, It Doesn’t Matter & Lou) for the first of their three BBC Peel sessions for Radio 1 in January.
After this they completed the tracks Plastic Surgery and Deutscher Girls, which were to be used for the Jubilee soundtrack album. In May they played at the Roundhouse in Camden supporting X Ray Spex. It was another major turnaround in the band’s career as it is the last show featuring Jordan on vocals and Johnny Bivouac on guitar. Shortly after this show auditions took place and 17 year old Matthew Ashman was enrolled as the new guitarist. He was thrown in at the deep end as within two months of joining the band they had recorded their second BBC Peel session (Zerox, Friends, You’re So Physical & Cleoptra) and had signed to Decca Records for a one year deal.
The deal with Decca produced a batch of demo recordings and the Adam and the Ants debut single; Young Parisians b/w Lady which was released in October and coincided with a short European tour successfully taking in Belgium, Germany and Italy.
On their return to the UK, the band played a few shows around the UK before finishing with a 2 night residency at the Marquee club, the final time that they were to perform at the venue after having played a total of 14 times in just over a year. In January 1979 the band set out on their first full national tour; The Parisians Tour starting in Leeds and working their way around most of England and Wales over the next two months.
In February the problems that had been brewing between the band and the record company came to a head and as a result they were released from their contract with Decca.
The UK tour was finished with a few more dates spead around England and the following month saw them sell out the Lyceum Theatre in London, which at the time Adam and the Ants were now possibly the biggest and most popular unsigned act in the country. Two shows in Berlin followed before the band returned to London to rest and formulate plans for their future.
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