Tom Edwards on Locking In with the Adam Ant Band's Tribal Beats

March 5, 2013

BACK IN THE EARLY ’80S, ADAM ANT’S juxtaposition of American Indian rhythms, punk song arrangements, and Duane Eddystyle guitars revolutionized the U.K. music scene and owned the pop charts. On Adam Ant’s triumphant 2012 tour, guitarist/ musical director Tom Edwards had to not only pay homage to original “Ant Music” guitarist Marco Pirroni’s punkish artistry, but also negotiate the thundering rhythms of two drummers slamming down tribal grooves on their toms.

“I don’t have the punk background that Marco did, so I like to lock right into the pocket with the drums, rather than push the beat,” explains Edwards, who plays just one guitar onstage—a customized Fender Jim Root Telecaster. “So I’m constantly tapping the tap tempo switch on my Boss DD-20 delay to ensure the delay timing is absolutely solid with the rhythm. We don’t perform with click tracks, so there’s a little ebb and flow in the groove, and I need to continuously update the delay timing. In addition, I’m using long, dotted- eighth-note delays to produce a kind of synth-y, new wave vibe, as well as to cover all the effects switching I’m doing in order to make my parts sound close to all the layering on the original albums. I do a lot of pedalboard dancing up there! Lucikly, I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s second nature. A lot of players tap their feet in time to the music, I just happen to do that on a switch.

“To ensure that I’m hearing the drummers’ nuances accurately, I spend a lot of time standing in front of the kit that’s on my side of the stage, but I also put the drums almost exclusively through my monitors. I don’t bother putting any of my guitar in the monitors. That’s not so much a rhythmic monitoring thing—I just hate how guitars sound pumped through stage monitors. I don’t see the point of working ages to get a tone I like, and then hear it coming from a 12-inch speaker.

“To change up the volume and gain staging through my Marshall DSL-100—which is usually on the Classic Crunch setting— I step on an MXR Micro Amp. Things are just moving too fast rhythmically for me to control my volume by adjusting it on my guitar. I need instant changes. I can’t leave anything up to chance that might compromise the groove.”

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