Posts Tagged With: Ryan Adams Archive

Going deep on Come Pick Me Up, the new DRA archive

CPMUA number of Ryan Adams sites have come and gone in recent years, and you can find some of them at the Ryan Adams Reference Library link above. But a new one that shows particular promise in the online DRA fan landscape is Come Pick Me Up. Subtitled “The Ryan Adams Archive,” Come Pick Me Up is a worthy successor to the old RAA (which lives on in Facebook form) and Answering Bell (which is no more but was an invaluable fact-checking resource back when I was writing “Losering”). It’s also a nice compliment to Mega-Superior Gold.

Come Pick Me Up is the work of Michael Niebuhr, a dedicated and avid Ryan Adams fan from Copenhagen. He writes:

I’m a longtime Ryan fan going back to Whiskeytown’s “Strangers Almanac,” which is probably still my favorite album of his. I’m also an amateur songwriter (though non-practicing for the past five years due to parenthood), and I do software development for a living. So the actual coding of the site is a no-brainer. The only effort is the time that goes into adding the data. It is a big project for sure.

The idea is to cover everything: reviews, releases, recordings, interviews, collectibles, news, writings. I started the site in October with a group of “Superfans” — Luke O’Sheary, Thomas Bauer, Trond Andersen and Darren Combs — who supplied the initial data set (songs, shows, about 700 setlists), before I decided to take it solo after a few weeks. I aim to respect the wishes of Ryan and his organisation(s), and that’s why there’s no news about his divorce or girlfriends (which is the same story every time anyway), or unreleased recordings/bootlegs. I’m contemplating whether a forum will be a good idea, or just a place to slag the poor Shining.

As the site takes shape, it’s dawning on me how much material is out there. I want to “sweep Youtube” for Ryan content and do the same for concert reviews and photos. The possibility of connecting it all is too tempting not to reach for. I hope this site will grow into something great, a go-to source for Ryan fans — maybe even a place Ryan himself will check from time to time, such as to see what he played the last time he visited a city.

Eventually, there’ll be a credit section with a big “thank you” to Answering Bell, RAA and everybody who’s gone before, tracking the shows and setlists over the years. And to the tapers. And Ryan himself, of course. Somehow he never gets enough credit.

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Metrics, schmetrics: Quality, not quantity

LoserMeasureOne of this season’s regular happenings is a perennially angst-inducing rite of autumn, the annual sales update from the University of Texas Press accounting department. I recently received the latest recap, a bottom-line exercise that serves as a yearly reminder of just what a small (nay, tiny) fish I am in this world even though UTP’s number-crunchers are far too polite to put it that way.

Anyway, “Ryan Adams: Losering, A Story of Whiskeytown” was published in the fall of 2012, which means I’ve been getting these statements for a couple of years now. And while the book has certainly gotten some very nice attention and even sold respectably, for a university-press title, “Losering” hasn’t exactly set the best-seller lists on fire. If current sales trends continue, it will still take another two years or so for the book to “earn out” — generate enough sales income to recoup the (quite modest) advance UT Press paid me to write it, at which point I’ll start getting back-end royalties.

The bottom line is, it ain’t never gonna make me rich, although the day may come when it puts a little extra change in my pocket every year. And that’s fine. As I always tell people, don’t write books for money because you will most assuredly be disappointed.

As for good reasons to write books, we do it in hopes of getting responses like the one below. It’s from a fellow Whiskeytown enthusiast named Mark Cermak, who started a thread on the Ryan Adams Archive Facebook page last week to ask whether or not other people had read “Losering” and found it worthwhile. After the usual banter, Mark announced he was going to check it out — and came back with this a couple of days later. It pretty much made my day.

So yeah, it’s certainly easy to obsess way too much about the bigger audience I never got to with this book. But to see it resonate so strongly for the people who care the most, that’s the best validation one could ask for.

Thank you, Mark, and thank you, world.


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Today’s review: A Popstache ride

Happy black Friday; and what better way to mark it than with…another mixed “Losering” review, this one on Popstache.

Well, reviewer Evan Brown does have some nice things to say (“spot on,” “generally enjoyable literary voice,” “interesting insight”). But there are some less-positive things, too, including “nothing groundbreaking” and “excessive and ridiculous.” I guess the reviewer’s conclusion about sums it up: “…by no means an essential read, but it sure is a quick and fun one.”

Thank you. I think. No, really, thank you! Anyway, check it out.

Meanwhile, on the way-negative end of the spectrum is a nasty little takedown on the Ryan Adams Archive, which concludes thusly:

The second half of the book is simply appalling music criticism, fleshed out with the writer telling us which famous ex of Ryan’s he thinks the songs on Gold are written about and even, at one point, listing his own mix-cd that he made of the three 2005 albums! And he let this shit go to print! Surely, this web-site would be the appropriate forum to list a Ryan mix that you’ve made, and are proud of, NOT a professionally published book! This is the first book, proper, that has come out about (in my opinion) the most fascinating, prolific (yawn) and animated creative artist around today, and Menconi fobbed us off with this load of word-wank. Not good enough. Piece of shit.

Dang, dude, tell us how you really feel!

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Kind-ish words over at the Ryan Adams Archive

As mentioned previously, “Losering” has gotten kind of a mixed response from Ryan’s truly rabid super-fans. Over at the fansite To Be Young, someone called the book a “cash grab” some months back — which amused me greatly, given the very modest advance I wrote it for. Another tough audience is the Ryan Adams Archive. One regular there called my book “an exhausting read,” which I have to admit made cringe and laugh at the same time (well-done, sir!). But on the upside, someone else on RAA called it an “absolutely great read [that] only builds on the mysteriousness about DRA” in the same thread. Then there’s the assessment below, which I was very glad to see:

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