Ryan Adams is considering recording a new album with his former band, Whiskeytown, according to a recent posting on his own message board. In the message, Adams claims to be “thinking about doing something with Caitlin [Cary] and Skillet [Gillmore], a secret record, a Whiskeytown record for ourselves.”
This announcement comes less than one day after Adams claimed that his forthcoming box set is official: “It is now a matter of the artwork being finished.” Tentatively titled Love Is Hell, the collection will gather four discs of unreleased material, including two albums with his group, the Pinkhearts.
At least this is what Adams claims on his website’s message boards where he’s been known to go off on drug-induced tirades about anything and everything. One of his favorite topics seems to be bashing other artists. He recently wrote, “Robbie Fulks wittles records out of driftwood […] That’s why only seven people own one. Boy is Chicago one huge fucking mud puddle of overzealous garbage. Thank god for Wilco. Oh wait…” That’s actually pretty funny, and it’s fine to poke fun at the earnestness of the Chicago rock scene. But to criticize Fulks for not selling many records? Come on. Not only does it seem bitchy and petty, but it also seems rather inappropriate coming from someone whose combined sales of all three of his albums is “just over 500,000” according to Rolling Stone.
In a series of unsuccessfully poetic posts from the evening of May 28, Adams added some fuel to the fire of his on-again/off-again feud with the White Stripes’ Jack White. In the cold cold night:
once every show, in an act of humanitarian goodwill, he lets her out of her roadcase to bore her way through and yet another song about absolute fuck-all. I wonder what size attic it is he keeps her in with all those monkey skulls. Sell it back to canada its only a fucking a river.
jack is a fucking nothing. people with little teeth are scary. good thing he dosent do drunks, there wouldnt be anthing left to dilute. the crocadile dundee of rock.
hey everybody look, here comes the whbite stripes………hey everybody look…..there goes the white stripes. a gimmick in any other color…….i guess its true. your record company/ publicist can buy you covers but you cant make em like it. sad little band.
how nice of jack to finally let meg date. of course it had to be somebody from a band he ultimately is the only fan of. ah, divorcee bliss. it must be so fun. wuthering fucking heights. bring it on boys
My wife suggested that we add a “Words of Wisdom from Ryan Adams” feature to Glorious Noise, which sounds like a great idea but would require a whole lot of work, and I didn’t think I was up to the task of sifting through all those interviews and posts to his message board to find the occasional nugget of gold. But the more I searched, the easier I realized it would be, since every fucking thing he says is hilarious.
Just like with his recorded output, he could really use a good editor to help him decide what he should release to the public and what he should not. (He might at least attempt to spellcheck.) Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut.
I honestly believe that Ryan Adams is a good songwriter. He’s written some truly amazing songs, and he’s made some great recordings. The highpoint of his career so far was 2000’s Heartbreaker (Bloodshot). That album surpassed all of his Whiskeytown recordings which sounded like he couldn’t figure out if he wanted to be Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Uncle Tupelo or a schlocky radio-friendly balladeer, so on each track he’d choose a different style to mimic. Then there was Gold (Lost Highway, 2001), which despite its title and its slick production qualities, hasn’t yet been certified as a gold record by the RIAA. Surprisingly, this disappointing album was produced by the same man who produced Heartbreaker, Ethan Johns. Guess he forgot how to record a good record somewhere along the way, because Gold polishes off all of the rough edges that made Heartbreaker so fucking awesome. Right after Gold was released, Glorious Noise had intended to do a detailed analysis of what made it so much worse than Heartbreaker. We planned on bringing in audio engineers, songwriters, and regular music fans to try to outline the differences and difficiencies, but we never got around to it. Maybe someday…
I get disappointed when someone I think has the potential to be a great artist floods the market with miscellaneous bullshit. Ryan Adams is someone who should release no more than 14 songs per year. Congress should pass a law. I seriously believe that he has 14 great songs in him each year. Unfortunately, Adams seems to think that everything that he comes up with is brilliant and deserves to be heard. He’s wrong. We don’t need to see his first drafts. We don’t need a collection of outtakes and demos. Who does he think he is, Neil Young? Neil’s been making music for 40 years and he still doesn’t think it’s appropriate to release his outtakes to us yet! And Ryan Adams has a long way to go before he’s half the songwriter that Neil Young is.
Since Ryan Adams is notoriously snobby about granting interviews to independent publications, I decided to go indirectly to the source by posting my own feelings to his message board, basically summing up everything I said in the previous paragraphs. He bit:
Fuck yourself with a dirty stick. If I wanted your opinion…..oh wait, I dont actually need it seeing as a fuck load of people disagree with you including most rock magazines, every ssold out theater house in europe and the united states and the two million dollar corner apartement you wouldnt bee able to buge past the doorman in. so fuck it. fuck the dirty stick asshole. its all yours bitch.
To say his response didn’t immediately fill me with glee would be a lie. It confirmed every asshole story I’d heard about him, and it’s just so fucking hilarious on so many different levels. To do a little guerilla fact-checking, I consulted the helpful folks at the Velvet Rope, and the consensus was that it would indeed be possible for Adams to live in a two million dollar “apartement” since 1) apparently that’s not that steep in Manhattan; 2) he brings in a lot of money touring; 3) The Corrs (with Bono) covered “When The Stars Go Blue” on a recent live album; and 4) he’s living with his “shipping-heiress girlfriend,” Leona Naess. But that’s enough gossipy bitchiness for one day.
Just think: with the upcoming box set, the new recordings with Ethan Johns, and the potential recordings with Whiskeytown, we might have six new cds of Ryan Adams material to look forward to this year. And across those six cds, I guarantee there will be 14 really great songs.
Check out the Glorious Noise review of Demolition.