As recounted in a couple of places in “Losering,” I would sometimes get Ryan to autograph his CDs when I interviewed him. While that’s not exactly strict journalistic protocol — in fact, I’m sure the very idea makes some of my more hardcore colleagues cringe — I’ve discovered that it can be a useful way to soften interview subjects up. Not that Ryan ever needed softening up back then, but it would always get the conversation off to a good start.
Anyway, below are two that I’ve hung onto. The one on the left is on the cover of the original Mood Food Records version of Faithless Street, which Ryan and Skillet signed (their bandmate Caitlin Cary did, too, on the inside of the booklet next to the lyrics to her song “Matrimony”). That was at Sadlack’s in late 1995, the interview where Ryan brought along that receipt. The one on the right is on my advance copy of Strangers Almanac, circa spring 1997, which Ryan signed over drinks at the Comet Lounge (a place namechecked in the lyrics to the Strangers song “Yesterday’s News”).