Posts Tagged With: Summer of ’69

Welcome to Bypass, North Carolina

NCUSAI heard from a fair number of people yesterday, all asking some variation of the same question: Do you think Ryan Adams will turn up at the Jenny Lewis show tonight?…

Aw, bless your hearts, you crazy naive kids.

And yet the question did have some apparent plausibility, all things considered. Lewis and Ryan are chums, he produced her 2014 album The Voyager and she accompanied him to the Grammys this past spring. More to the point, Lewis is the support act on the current leg of his tour, in which capacity she opened for Ryan Sunday night in Charlottesville and will do the same Tuesday night in Charleston. Yes, it’s hard not to notice that his tour routing seems designed to surround North Carolina without playing it, hitting every adjoining state except us with such deliberation that it has to be on purpose (and we’re coming up on the 10-year anniversary of the last time he played Raleigh).

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.08.16 AMAnyway, Ryan again bypassing the state that lies between Virginia and South Carolina left a hole in the tour schedule Monday night. So Lewis took the opportunity to play a headlining show of her own at the Haw River Ballroom, in the old mill town of Saxapahaw about an hour west of Raleigh. And if Ryan were to get a wild hair and decide to make an impulsive settle-up gesture with the Old North State, sort of like what he did with “Summer of ’69” at the Ryman last week, an unannounced cameo some distance away from his former downtown Raleigh stomping grounds seemed as likely as anything else.

So of course, it didn’t happen. Lewis played her show and it was quite fine, but Ryan did not appear. The only mention of him onstage was a story Lewis told at the end of her set about Ryan forcing her to write one more song for The Voyager — which he didn’t like, so she made it the album’s title track (ha!). Gotta say, I do like The Voyager a lot more than Ryan Adams, and hearing its songs live underscored that; especially “The New You,” which is still bouncing around my head a day later.

As for where Ryan was last night if not Saxapahaw, if his Twitter feed is to be believed, he was already in Charleston and seeking pinball machines:

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 9.49.22 AM

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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 Breitbart.com (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, Breitbart.com 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.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In the spring of 2015, Ryan Adams plays “Summer of ’69”

In October of 2002, Ryan Adams played Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and it did not go well. A heckler kept yelling for “Summer of ’69,” Ryan threw something of a fit and it’s been following him around like an albatross ever since — still the one thing everybody seems to know about him, even non-fans (see Chapter 15 of “Losering” for more on this). In a long-overdue settling-up, however, Ryan played the Ryman again last night and actually played a right nice solo acoustic rendition of Summer of ’69.” Take a listen; and there’s more about it herehere and here.

So, wow. Do we dare hope a Raleigh date on his tour schedule is next?

ADDENDA: This actually wasn’t the first time Ryan played “Summer of ’69” in public. In a July 2005 show with the Cardinals, Ryan kind of burned it to the ground. And here are Bryan Adams’ thoughts about it.


While I’m at it, the night before Ryan brought Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires onto the Ryman Stage for a drop-dead gorgeous run-through of Whiskeytown’s Pneumonia song “Jacksonville Skyline” — check that out, too.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Losering 2” — the lineup

Losering2headerMajor kudos once again to Dave Rose, proprietor of downtown Raleigh nightspot Deep South The Bar, for executing another stellar poster-design job for “Losering 2: A Tribute to the Songs of Ryan Adams” — happening at Deep South on April 11 as a sequel to the first “Losering” tribute show that happened back in May 2013. I’ll be your host for the evening, introducing the acts as they delve into the Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown songbook. As to who will be performing, the lineup goes like this:

Members of I Was Totally Destroying It
Members of New Reveille
Debonzo Brothers
Stephen Chandler Wilson (The Arcane Heart)
Season & Snare
Kasey Tyndall
Aslan Freeman (Unifier)
John Massengill (Old Quarter)
Charles Marshall (Balsa Gliders)
Ryan “Showtime” Kennemur (Dragmatic)
Mark Cimerro (Meatbox)

No word yet on repertoire, who will play what — but it did not take long for a “Summer of ’69” joke to pop up on the event’s Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 9.55.16 AM

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ryan and Bryan Adams: It’s a 1984 thing

1984So this week has brought the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual World of Bluegrass festival/convention to Raleigh, which has kept me insanely busy (whew; I enjoy IBMA, and yet I’m also glad it only happens once a year because I need more sleep than this). But I still had an amusing little Ryan Adams moment the other night, listening to a band from Minneapolis called Monroe’s Crossing playing a deadpan bluegrass version of Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” — and thinking about past fits Ryan has thrown over that very song. Could not help but giggle, especially given the Monroe Crossing frontman’s introductory description of Bryan Adams as music harsh enough to annoy parents.

What made it even funnier in retrospect was hearing that Ryan himself dipped into the Bryan Adams catalog the same night, performing “Run to You” onstage at a show in Santa Barbara, Calif. Someday, maybe he’ll deign to do “Summer of ’69” and the circle really will close.

(ADDENDUM, 4/29/15: The circle is now closed — and at the Ryman, no less!)

Meanwhile, Ryan also recently unveiled yet another 1984-vintage cover, I Want To Know What Love Is,” the super-maudlin and epic power ballad by Foreigner; to go with his earlier Pointer Sisters “Neutron Dance” cover and acoustic version of Ratt’s “Round and Round.” Given his current Orwellian predilection for that era’s artifacts, can accompanying covers of “Purple Rain,” “Footloose” and “What’s Love Got To Do With It” be far behind?

ADDENDUM (3/5/2015): Ryan’s latest ’80s artifact isn’t from 1984, but a few years later, a cover of Patrick Swayze’s “Dirty Dancing” hit “She’s Like the Wind” with Natalie Prass. Um, really?…

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ryan Adams gets reckless

Multiple reviewers, including yours truly, have pointed out that some songs on the new Ryan Adams album sound strikingly similar to Ryan’s name/birthday doppelganger Bryan Adams. And in an email discussion, a critic colleague of mine mentioned that the Ryan-and-Bryan similarities extend to the area of typography, too — most notably the cover of Bryan Adams’ 1984 album Reckless (from whence came “Summer of ’69,” a song Ryan hates hearing about).

So I decided to take a look for comparative purposes, and…well, see for yourself. Compare the typefaces and, except for Bryan’s use of italics, they don’t look similar so much as identical. Maybe it’s just coincidence; but don’t forget that Reckless came out in what seems to be Ryan’s favorite year, and Ryan is an unabashed Bryan Adams fan.

No doubt, Ryan will also be picking up the Super Deluxe Edition four-disc box set of Reckless when it comes out on Nov. 25.

ADDENDUM (10/17/14): According to Ryan, the similarities between these two covers are entirely coincidental.


BryanRyan

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ryan Adams, on the short list

Ryan10BiggestButtsYou know, there are times when I really do feel kind of sorry for Ryan Adams (or at least understand his paranoia about the negativity of haters). Consider “The ten biggest assholes in rock,” a listicle that’s been making the rounds after it originated in the Denver-based weekly Westword last month.

It’s very thin in both conception and execution, but I’ve certainly got no beef with the top choice; and it’s also hard to argue with the likes of Axl Rose (No. 2) and Courtney Love (No. 6) being on such a count-down. As for Ryan, he comes in at No. 9, the meat in a Brit sandwich between No. 10 Liam Gallagher and No. 8 Lily Allen. And what is cited as proof of Ryan’s assholery? The only thing the author came up with is the “Summer of ’69” blowup from way back in October 2002, which ain’t exactly new news.

Now granted, that was a regrettable moment and it certainly painted Ryan in a robustly asshole-ish light (see Chapter 15 of “Losering” for more details). Still, take it from someone who has witnessed far worse (and is also familiar with plenty more), it’s hardly definitive and it might not even rank in Ryan’s personal top-10. But if you’re going to claim that Ryan belongs in the pantheon of buttockal behavior — over Lou Reed, Aretha Franklin, Gene Simmons and numerous other certifiable legends of raging egomania missing from this list — it seems like you’d need to present a bit more than a single incident from over a decade ago. Just sayin’.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Remembering the “Summer of ’69” at the Ryman

Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium figures into Ryan’s story as site of one of his most infamous onstage meltdowns, the “Summer of ’69” incident. Reports vary as to just what happened that night in October 2002, when Ryan played the former home of the Grand Ole Opry. But it started with somebody in the crowd keeping up a line of heckling that culminated with a mocking call for the mid-’80s Bryan Adams hit. Ryan got angry, words were exchanged and the heckler was either thrown out or moved to a seat farther from the stage, with Ryan reportedly giving the guy his money back.

Critic Peter Cooper reported on the incident in his review of the show in the Nashville Tennessean (visible here), which went out over the wire and caused a minor sensation that rippled far and wide. For a while back in Ryan’s former hometown, it became fashionable to yell out “Summer of ’69” at shows in Raleigh, as a mocking stand-in for “Freebird.” And Ryan’s alternative-country peer Robbie Fulks, who is always up for a joke, offered to reimburse the ticket price for anyone who made Ryan mad enough to get themselves thrown out of a show. A decade later, it’s still the one thing even non-fans seem to know about Ryan.

In one of his online post-mortems about the incident, Ryan later claimed that Cooper made the whole thing up for the purposes of sensationalism (which I don’t believe). He also had some harsh words for the Ryman, the fabled cradle of country music, swearing he’d never play there again (nevertheless, he has). See Chapter 15 in “Losering” for more on this. Nobody asked me, but I thought Ryan could have defused the whole thing by working up a speed-metal version of “Summer of ’69” to break out for hecklers; sort of like the black metal “16 Days” he did onstage last year. Oh well.

I don’t know where Ryan was on Wednesday night, but Cooper was back at the Ryman — onstage, one of several-dozen performers playing the Americana Music Association awards show. I’d never been to the Ryman before, so I had a fine time wandering around drinking the place in. It’s not too long on creature comforts, and the seating is hard wooden pews (it is a former church, after all). Nevertheless, the Ryman has a living, breathing vibe you can’t help but get caught up in, imagining all the legends who have played there over the years. The Opry  broadcasts moved elsewhere long ago, but here is where that spirit still lives.

I would have been content seeing anything at the Ryman just to go there, but man, did I get lucky. The AMA show was the stuff of dreams, a fantasy all-star revue: Bonnie Raitt, Richard Thompson, John Hiatt, Rodney Crowell, Brandi Carlile, Alabama Shakes, Guy Clark, Punch Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Jason Isbell…On and on.

It left me wanting to hear more from pretty much all of them, but still — wow. Coolest live event I’ve been to in recent memory. Highlights included the Punch Brothers’ acoustic skitter, as appropriate for a conservatory as a folk festival; the always-wondrous Thompson, one of the few guitarists I’d dare mention in the same breath as Doc Watson; and Alabama Shakes, who I’m still not completely sold on, but what a voice.

Best of all was the all-hands-on-deck finale, a version of “The Weight” led by Amy Helm in tribute to her late great father Levon. Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard blew the place out with her verse, but Raitt’s more restrained closing verse was even better, ringing loud and clear up to the heavens. I was misting up by the end, and I don’t think I was the only one.

ADDENDUM (2/9/2017): Ryan’s version of the incident.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.