Something I have to keep reminding myself about the mid-’90s Whiskeytown period covered in “Losering” is just how young — I mean, how freakin’ young — Ryan was back then. He was a few months shy of turning 21 years old when we first met in 1995, but he seemed even younger because (a) he looked like he could have easily passed for a high school underclassman; and (b) he had such puppy-dog enthusiasm about everything that you thought he couldn’t possibly be old enough to drive, let alone drink. Below is visual evidence, two portraits of the artist as a (very) young man circa 1996-97, taken by Whiskeytown’s co-manager Jenni Sperandeo. That’s Peter Blackstock throwing gang signs in the picture on the left.
As it happens, Jenni and Peter are both in Austin this weekend to attend the Sept. 8 Grulkefest — a tribute concert to the late great Brent Grulke, one of the big movers and shakers behind South By Southwest. I’m an old Austin hand myself, and it kills me not to be there because so many of my favorite mid-’80s-vintage bands will be playing. Alas, I must settle for being there in spirit and making a toast. Salud!