Wednesday 14 September 2022

Car Trouble

Owning a car is the final step towards self-mobility, freedom and adulthood (note: I didn't say anything about growing up).
But to achieve this, one first needs to pass the driving test.  I managed it eventually (after 6 failed attempts), and soon threw £700 at a 1980 white (and rust coloured) Vauxhall Chevette GL
(the GL meaning I got a cigarette lighter, a clock, a heated rear window, and cloth and fake leather seats).
In fact, by the time I'd finished with it, the rear of the vehicle read "Vauxhall Chevette 2.8i Ghia Turbo"

And I was free to get my motor running and head out on the highway ... briefly

I think it spent as much time up on ramps as it did on the road - if something could go wrong, it did go wrong.  Eventually, just about every component under the bonnet was replaced.

Car Trouble ... oh yeah!

Adam Ant played bass for London Pub Rock band Bazooka Joe (which also included John Ellis - later of The Vibrators, Arrabella Weir - later of The Fast Show, and Dave Barson - brother of Madness keyboard basher Mike).

Vibrators Trivia Note: The original bassist for Bazooka Joe was Pat Collier, who would join up with John Ellis to form The Vibrators.  Collier's replacement in The Vibrators was Gary Tibbs, who in 1981 would join Adam & The Ants - it's a strange circular world ...

Their place in history was secured when they headlined a show in 1975 at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.  The support band that night (playing their first ever show) was the Sex Pistols.
Adam Ant left Bazooka Joe soon after to form his own band - The Ants - with encouragement from Jordan (who he appeared with in the film Jubilee) and later support for Malcolm McLaren.

Touring, radio sessions, and positive reviews led to a one-off single - "Young Parisians" - with Decca Records.  However, commercial failure led to Decca dropping the band, and they signed to independent Do It Records.
Do It released a re-recorded version of the planned second Decca single - "Zerox" - followed by the recording an release of first album 'Dirk Wears White Sox'.  The album was a mix of punk, glam, arty affectations - sort of Roxy Music meets Siouxsie & The Banshees.

However, by the end of 1980 manager Malcolm McLaren had nicked the band (to set up Bow Wow Wow) leaving Adam in search of a new band.

And he found one with Marco Pirroni (providing both bass and guitar), Jon Moss filling in on drums, and Chris Hughes (later to become Merrick) producing.  They de-camped to Rockfield Studios and re-recorded "Cartrouble" (or "Cartrouble Part 2" as it was on the album) with a cleaner more commercial sound in an attempt to beat McLaren's Bow Wow Wow to the charts.
Unfortunately it didn't bother the charts, but with the addition of Kevin Mooney (bass), Chris Hughes (Merrick) and Terry Le Miall on twin drums, and a CBS contract, they were soon unplugging the jukebox and doing us all a favour.

Why did the Chevette GL have a heated rear window?
To keep my hands warm when I was pushing it.



  1. Is this the beginning of a car series? Go on...

    (I remember I took an old car of mine to a dodgy local mechanic once because a bit was dropping off underneath. He welded an old frying pan on and it was fine after that.)

    1. Could be ... starting with generic "Car" musings

  2. Good to read your references to the early Ants. Quite a different beast to what came later. I was fortunate enough to see them in the Spring of 1979, just 6 months after the release of the Young Parisians single and before Dirk. Interesting times. I still love Dirk, and especially Car Trouble.