Kings of the Wild Frontier

Kings of the Wild Frontier

This started as a Facebook status to say I’m off to see Adam and The Ants perform their second album Kings of the Wild Frontier in its entirety tonight. But the tale went on a bit, so I thought I’d elaborate a little on what I was going to say and post it here.

So, Adam & The Ants’ Kings Of The Wild Frontier. I first heard the title track of this album at Greenheys Youth Club when I was 10 (circa 1980/81). I nervously ventured into the disco room. I say nervously because the disco room was dark and where the cool kids hung out (the ones who wanted to hide from the prying eyes of the clubs workers/volunteers). The only thing I remember is hearing the song playing and seeing some lad who was probably a few years older than me dancing pretty damn well to it with all the girls watching him. First thought was ‘he’s brave’, not cool, just brave. Attention for anything but being a bit of a scrote wasn’t something you wanted in Little Hulton in them days. Little Hulton is at the arse end of Salford and was built as the over-spill for the rest of Salford, so we were looked at by the rest of Salford as the ones that even Salford didn’t want. To say it had a reputation would be an understatement. If you ventured out of LH as a teenager you’d probably end up in a fight. The nearest enemies were Farnworth (who were in Bolton but only separated by a motorway bridge), regular battles on the motorway bridge took place, and they weren’t just kids having a bit of a scrap, they we’re nasty, bottles, bricks, you name it.

So the reason I thought this lad dancing to Kings Of The Wild Frontier in the youth club disco room was brave, was because there was an unwritten expectation in LH that you were meant to be ‘a lad’, a fighter, not a dancer who the girls thought were cool, you were meant to have the respect of the males not the females, and I knew this even at 10 years old. It’s a vivid memory even to this day, the immense drumming in the song pretty much stopped me in my tracks.

Around that time I got my first radio, a hand-me-down from my dad when he got a new one, I’d also made a couple of new friends (Karl and Woody) who seemed to be just as intrigued by music as I was. Within a few years, and after trying not to stand out too much or gain attention on the streets for being different (you’d be surprised how much grief I got for having a bleached fringe), we got the punk bug (Woody more the goth bug, we tried not to judge too much). The music wasn’t just music, a lot of it told us we didn’t have to conform, so we didn’t. Did we get a lot of grief? Yes. Did we get chased and threatened? Yes. Was it worth it all as youngsters to feel scared every time you stepped outside the house? Yes. What made it worth it was the music, and the friendships. We’d go to places where bands were playing, not to see the bands, but it was just where we went, we went to places that had great juke boxes, so we were surrounded by music, new and old, we discovered new music by accident I suppose, just like I did when I was ten at the youth club.

At tonight’s gig there will be fans there dressed as an 80s Adam Ant, this doesn’t bother me. Will I be doing it? No. There’ll also be people there who say all new music is crap, you know the ones, the ones who only listen to radio stations that play music from the 80s or other decades. Am I one of those? No. New and old music are both music and just as important as each other.

I’ve always been intrigued and slightly perplexed by these people who rant on about there’s no new music that’s any good. If I had the time I’d do a full on study on what I refer to ‘getting stuck musically’. It’s deep and quite possibly psychological. Maybe some of them feel protective about the music they loved so much decades ago and are unwilling to let it be replaced by anything else. I don’t know the answer. But then again there’s also the younger people who think all old music is crap too.

I’m not a nostalgia junkie, Kings Of the Wild Frontier isn’t even my favourite Adam & The Ants album, that goes to their debut ‘Dirk Wears White Socks’ (funnily enough something you got bullied for at my primary and junior school) which is one of my all-time favourites on the basis that I have never yet got bored of listening to it. Is it the best album ever? I hope not, because that would mean my quest for new music is over, and it’s far from over, unless I decide to jump on the ‘all new music is crap’ train and become a fully paid up member of the music snobbery club.

Simon Zaccagni

‘Accidental Editor’ of Silent Radio from its inception in 2009 through to 2020. None of this was planned; I’ve never been in a band, never been part of the ‘music scene’ and never expected to be the gaffer of a music website with loads of dedicated music loving writers. I bought my first record when I was 8 and haven’t stopped buying since. I love crate digging for bizarre and weird stuff, but equally happy ploughing through press releases looking/listening for something I’ve never heard before.