Posts Tagged With: Fox News

Political science

BreitbartPut a book out into the world and you just never know where its ripples might surface. For example, “Losering” has been popping up in the conservative political blogosphere, believe it or not.

As you probably know, Ryan Adams covered Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” the other night at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, the same hallowed hall where he did not respond well to a heckler’s request for that same song way back when. As you’d expect, this was widely reported in the usual places — but it was apparently a big-enough deal to attract attention from politically slanted sites that dabble a bit in pop culture on the side. So it is that my book is now enshrined on (the conservative network founded by the late conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart with an agenda of “the destruction of the old media guard”) as background source for an item about it:

In October 2002, Ryan Adams ejected a fan from his concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for repeatedly requesting a cover of Bryan Adams’s “Summer of ’69.” The show was part of the singer’s intimate “Demolition” acoustic tour; the heckler’s repeated shouts for the song were an annoying distraction.

The incident haunted Adams through the years, according to Ryan Adams: Losering, a Story of Whiskeytown by David Menconi.

“Over the years, the Ryman ‘Summer of ’69’ incident has come to be Ryan’s equivalent of Bob Dylan getting called ‘Judas’ onstage in England in 1966,” Menconi writes. “It’s the one thing that everybody seems to have heard about Ryan, even nonfans.”

Golly. Oddly enough, however, isn’t the first right-wing site to have cited “Losering.” In the fall of 2013, Ryan got into a Twitter dust-up with Fox News blowhard Sean Hannity. That inspired the folks at Moonshine Carolina — a political blog that lists keywords like “Obama” and “ACA” under the heading “Prohibited thoughts” — to opine on “celebrities as role models,” and to summarize Ryan’s career via my book thusly:

The Jacksonville boy Ryan Adams, who made a name for himself as frontman of Raleigh’s alt-rock band Whiskeytown, has lived every inch of the clichéd rockstar lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock and roll. As David Menconi details in his book Ryan Adams: Losering, a Story of Whiskeytown, Adams dropped out of school as a teenager to start up the band, and quickly became dependent upon a variety of illicit drugs and alcohol. The band was notorious for smashing up equipment and generally behaving badly. Once, the whole band was fired from a gig in Texas; alcoholism treatment was on the cards for Adams shortly after that. Following more stints in rehab and a successful solo career, Adams has calmed down – he married the very lovely singer and actress Mandy Moore in 2009, they have adopted a puppy, and are both committed to their careers, with Adams running a successful recording studio. Importantly, he has his addictions under control – he made mistakes, and learned from them.

Scoldy! Well, sir, there was a little more to it than that, but so it goes. In any case, we’d better not tell Moonshine Carolina about this.

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Who is the “real” Ryan Adams?

PatrickCooperI happened onto an interesting essay inspired by “Losering” the other day, in a blog called Greetings From Evanston, Ill. It was a post with a beguiling title: “Every biography is a Strangers Almanac.” I could tell right away that this blogger and I would get along just fine, because there are two kids of people in this world: Those who get Whiskeytown’s Strangers Almamac, and those who don’t. “Losering” was written for those of us who get Strangers, an assemblage that is somewhere between cult and flock. Greetings, all. How you?

Anyway, the post began with author Patrick Cooper wondering if he had “just read the biography of a horrible person,” then ruminating at length about the impossibility of capturing a truly accurate representation of anyone in a biography. I think that’s about right. In my case, all I know of Ryan is what I’ve seen, heard and read over the years. A lot of that comes down to what he chose to reveal. Yes, Ryan has certainly had horrible moments over the years (as has everyone, your humble correspondent included), some of which are recounted in “Losering.” It would have been easy enough to write this book as the “Ryan Is A Douchebag” biography; there are plenty of folks out there who subscribe to that point of view, just as there are plenty of folks who believe he can do no wrong.

But I wasn’t interested in writing either a hatchet job or a hagiography, so I tried to chart a middle course that would be (in the parlance of Fox News) fair and balanced. While Ryan’s less-than-stellar side is certainly in there, the book also depicts him as someone with an immense amount of charm and personality. I feel a lot of empathy toward him and I hope that comes through. Whether or not it does, well, that’s not for me to say. But one early reader told me that I showed an “almost fatherly compassion” for Ryan, and most of the reviews so far bear that out. I expect Ryan would have a different opinion, of course. That’s okay because I wasn’t writing the book for him. So it’s all good.

Patrick followed his original post with another titled, “The time Ryan Adams wrote a cover letter to a newspaper,” about one of my favorite passages in the book — when Ryan applied for a job at the News & Observer with a rather astonishing cover letter that might be the closest he’s ever come to writing an autobiography. I originally wanted to reprint his entire resume in the book, but circumstances dictated that I settle for choosing a couple of paragraphs, which you’ll find in chapter two (pages 16-17). If you’d like to see the whole thing, go here.

It’s somewhat confusing in that a number of different writings are lumped together on the same page. The “resume” part that he submitted to the N&O is everything below the header “WORK EXPERIENCE.”

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