Adam Ant loves Arizona. It’s when he arrives in the Grand Canyon State that he really feels like he’s in America.
“It’s like a Western movie to me,” Ant says via telephone from England. “I remember the first time I was there. It blew me away.”
Ant will return to Arizona to perform Adam and the Ants’ classic album “Kings of the Wild Frontier” in its entirety on Saturday, February 11, at The Rialto Theatre in Tucson.
“I’ll be performing ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ in sequence, as I recorded it on the album,” Ant says. “I did it last year in the U.K. and now I’m going to bring it to the States and do it that way. It’s a bit of a challenge. Everybody knows the album, so it has to be very accurate.”
“Kings of the Wild Frontier” kicks off with the hit “Dog Eat Dog” and continues with “Ant Music.” The title track and “The Magnificent Five” also appear on the 1980 release.
“It’s nice to do a piece of work like that from start to finish,” he says. “I’ll also do selections from the catalog. It makes for an interesting evening.”
He understands the importance of playing hits like “Strip” and “Goody Two Shoes.”
“It’s nice to play what people have enjoyed in the past,” he says. “If I see a band I like, I’d want to hear the hits. It’s slightly different, though. I think ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ stood the test of time and fits in with the songs I recorded.”
So, who has Ant seen recently?
“The Foo Fighters, they were very good,” he says. “I saw Aerosmith in the park in London. I really enjoyed that, too. That was interesting day out. I’ve done some of the European festivals, like The Isle of Wight, and you see some other bands around. I did a festival with Iggy Pop, who is always great to watch.”
As a whole, “Kings of the Wild Frontier” is a complete piece of work, he says, that makes him proud.
“I suppose every writer looks at an album as a story,” Ant says. “‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ had very heroic characters on it. It was a reaction to the punk music that got very gray, political and sad. It wasn’t really the force it once was.”
Because of this notion, English music media have described Ant as someone who changed the face of pop music.
“It’s nice to hear that,” he says. “If you start tapping into that, though, your ego gets a bit big. I think that pop music, if you like, changes all the time. You go in with the intention of doing something that doesn’t sound like anybody else, therefore, it’s a hybrid.
“I wanted to go up a different musical stream with songs like ‘Ant Music.’ Pop music got a bit stale in 1980. I added a bit of color, a bit of heroism to it.”
Now the torch has been handed over to the women of rock, like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, Ant says.
“They have theatricality in their work,” he says. “They’re putting on a very big show.”
Similarly, Ant was an innovator in the world of music videos.
“Video was part of a very important revolution in music and the way it was appreciated,” he says. “I was lucky to be able to use the art school training I had to story board and come up with concepts of the videos to accompany the songs. It gave me access to America before I arrived there to do the tours.
“It gave me a bit of a head start, if you know what I mean. The theatricality of it is what captured people’s imagination before they came to see the band.”
He hopes that the audience here will appreciate him the way he appreciates the United States.
“It’s a great audience over there,” he says. “I’ve always felt a great sense of welcome. I think they come and they expect a good show. If we do a good show, they come again. There’s a great deal of enthusiasm in the States for my music and I appreciate that.”
Adam Ant, Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress Street, Tucson, 520.740.1000, rialtotheatre.com, 8 p.m. Saturday, February 11, $32-$130.