Adam Ant - Unplug the Jukebox

Published: 20 April, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 198, May, 2011

It’s not everyday that you’re made an offer you can’t refuse...Over in High Wycombe, Woody’s Tattoo Studio has found itself a new home right in the middle of the high street - and it’s a peach. It comes with all the normal paraphernalia you’d expect from the Woody: motorbikes inside, being graced with your birth chart (whether you asked for it or not) and regular customers with sprawling sleeves and backpieces. 

You get the picture...

It’s a beautiful studio that’s for sure - it’s a good thing I got to see it all in the daylight because some few hours later, my attention would have been somewhat diverted by Adam Ant showing up to play a totally off the radar gig for the forty or so people that had gathered here to check out the joint.

I’ll write it again just so as you know it’s not a mistake.

Adam Ant. Yeah - that Adam Ant. 

While it may not mean a whole lot to those of you under 35, you will at least have heard of the legend. For those of you who breathe the same air as me, you can imagine this was a pretty big deal. Not for any fanboy reason, but simply because it was so unprecedented and cool. Woody sure knows how to throw a party - and shame on the local press for thinking it was an elaborate April Fools Day gag. Mind you, I think there were a few moments there when Woody himself wasn’t quite sure either...

Being ‘old’ has distinct advantages sometimes and none more so than being old enough to remember the Dirk Wears White Sox album from which he (Adam not Woody) pulled the majority of his material this evening.

To be honest, we were all more than happy to be along for the ride. I think I would have been disappointed if he’d pulled Kings, Stand, Charming et al out of the bag. The reality of the situation is that Ant is well aware of his heritage, where he came from and his current standing - by pulling the likes of Cleopatra and Cartrouble out of the hat, he also gave the crowd the respect that they deserved. A nice touch which was matched by respect in return.

Upshot? This was punk rock n roll as it was always meant to be and hasn’t been performed quite like this since... well, since Adam was kicking about at the Marquee back in the day.

Post show, a combination of studio regulars and some of us ‘networking’ types got together for a few drinks as Woody, Sharron, Jammes and Co did what they were supposed to be doing. 

It’s not normal for a tattoo studio to double as an impromptu gig venue for one of the nations rock icons, not normal for it to be successful either, but then Woody’s Tattoo Studio isn’t your normal type of studio.

If anybody is interested in viewing the songs from the show, I took the liberty of filming all of it for prosperity and you can find it loaded up to me personal youtube channel here:


Text & Photography: Sion Smith


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