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Old 06-17-2007, 09:32 AM   #136
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/ar.../Q&oref=slogin

Ryan Adams Didn’t Die. Now the Work Begins.

One afternoon, as Ryan Adams was recording his new album, “Easy Tiger” (Lost Highway), at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, the singer-songwriter Steve Earle dropped by to visit. Jimi Hendrix had built Electric Lady in the late 1960s, and Mr. Earle pointed out that “there are some good ghosts here.”

Ryan Adams in May, has a new album, “Easy Tiger,” which he is touring behind and which features a vocal contribution from Sheryl Crow.

“Yeah,” Mr. Adams blithely responded. “There are the ghosts of about 45 speedballs from when I was recording here a year or two ago,” referring to a mixture of heroin and cocaine.

At once self-deprecating and self-mythologizing, the remark is characteristic of Mr. Adams, who is in the process of shoring up a career — and a life — that he had done his best to blow up. “There was intense loneliness, end-of-the-world stuff going on in my mind, bottomless depression,” he said, describing an extended period of substance abuse that ended a little over a year ago. “Without exaggerating, it is a miracle I did not die.

“I snorted heroin a lot — with coke. I did speedballs every day for years. And took pills. And then drank. And I don’t mean a little bit. I always outdid everybody.”

Among Mr. Adams’s friends, colleagues and fans the hope is that “Easy Tiger,” a title that speaks wryly for itself, will complete his restoration. It is focused — read: not insanely self-indulgent — in a way that recalls albums of his like “Heartbreaker” and “Gold,” high points in a catalog that defines the term checkered. In one among many orchestrated signs of Mr. Adams’s stature, Stephen King wrote the record company bio that will accompany the album’s release on June 26. Mr. King calls it “maybe the best Ryan Adams CD ever.”

The plan is for it to be his biggest seller as well. Mr. Adams is touring to promote it, and “Two,” which features a harmony vocal by Sheryl Crow, has been released as a single. Starbucks will carry “Easy Tiger,” and pre-order campaigns have been set up with iTunes, Amazon and other outlets. For an artist whose notoriety has far exceeded his sales to date, it’s a full-on marketing push.

Mr. Adams has also reunited with his former manager, John Silva, a veteran who has worked with the independent-minded likes of Nirvana, Sonic Youth and the Beastie Boys. ”I just crawled back and said, ‘Look, I made a mistake, many mistakes — I don’t know what to do,’ ” Mr. Adams said.

“I got good advice on what tunes seemed to be working, and how to pace myself,” he said about Mr. Silva’s help in putting together “Easy Tiger” from the dozens of songs he was considering. “He led me to view that process as a type of discipline — like going to the gym or something. Focus. Work on one thing. Make the one thing really good.”

Meanwhile Mr. Adams’s contract with Lost Highway is coming to an end, and his erratic and willful ways, while enhancing his status as a cult figure, haven’t exactly made him an industry darling. Nor, for that matter, have his public denunciations of his label, which is generally known for being sympathetic to artists. In that context “Easy Tiger” is a virtual case study of Mr. Adams’s ability to make the sort of record that people once routinely expected of him: smart, accessible, fun, poignant and potentially commercial. It’s an advertisement for the once-unthinkable possibility that, at 32 and sober, Mr. Adams might finally have matured.

Luke Lewis, the chairman of the Nashville division of the Universal Music Group, of which Lost Highway is a part, seemed wistful as he pondered the departure of his old nemesis. “He’s like a kid to me,” Mr. Lewis said. “I’ve always loved him. We’ve had a couple of fights, and we’ve actually contrived a few fights, to be honest. It wasn’t lost on either of us that it’s not a bad thing for him to be the petulant child of a record label.”

So will he try to convince Mr. Adams to stay with Lost Highway? “If you love him, set him free,” Mr. Lewis said with a laugh that suggested a former partner who recalled the bad times as well as the good. “Do I want to stop being friendly with him? Never. Is he a valuable asset to a label? Yes, no question. Did we make money? Yes, both of us. I have no sour grapes about it at all.”

A native of Jacksonville, N.C., where he played in punk-rock bands as a teenager, Mr. Adams became an alt-country sensation with the group Whiskeytown in the mid-’90s. After going solo in 1999, he briefly flirted with “next big thing” status with the release of “Gold” in 2001 — on Sept. 11, to be exact. “Gold” coincidentally featured Mr. Adams posing in front of an American flag (albeit an upside-down one) as well as a rousing anthem to his adopted hometown, “New York, New York.” His irresistible optimism, energy and sheer talent provided a bracing tonic.

Then things began to get weird. He started making records at a blazing clip, at least by the rules of an industry that at the time preferred releases every two or three years. He put out at least an album a year — three in 2005 — and vilified Lost Highway for not releasing even more. Mr. Adams posted dozens of songs on his Web site, some ridiculous and some drawing comparisons to his best work. Whether he could tell the difference began to emerge as a question.

His official albums drew similarly polarized responses. “Heartbreaker” (2000), “Gold” (2001), “Cold Roses” (2005) and “Jacksonville City Nights” (2005) live up to his promise. His other four albums — “Demolition” (2002), “Rock N Roll” (2003), “Love Is Hell Pt. 1” (2003) and ”Pt. 2” (2004) and “29” (2005) — are mixed bags at best. “Gold,” his most commercially successful album, has sold fewer than 400,000 copies; “29,” his most recent, sold about 81,000.

More disturbing was Mr. Adams’s strange behavior. A heckler’s sarcastic request for the Canadian rocker Bryan Adams’s “Summer of ’69” at a New York show in 2002 incited an onstage meltdown. A negative concert review prompted Mr. Adams to leave a caustic message on a critic’s answering machine, which widely circulated on the Web. Mr. Adams’s shows took on a shambling quality that left many fans befuddled or angry. By the time he fell off a stage in Britain in 2004 and shattered his left wrist, both supporters and detractors began to worry about him. With good reason, as it turned out.

Mr. Adams sat on a chair on the tar roof of Electric Lady, as traffic sounds blared from the street below. Wearing a red MTV T-shirt and torn jeans, he squinted in the sunshine as he struggled to recount his descent.

“My behavior was getting extreme,” he said, smoking an American Spirit. “I was running the risk of becoming one of those people who talks to himself all the time. I was about to walk over this line that there was no coming back from, and I could feel it. I was seeing ghosts and hearing stuff. Having horrible nightmares. I was creating as much distance from people as possible so that, in the event that something terrible happened, it wouldn’t hurt them.”

Mr. Lewis of Lost Highway worried that he was going to die. “I think anybody who knew him well and cared for him went there,” he said.

Mr. Adams said that people were imploring him to clean up. “I got a call one day from two people who have looked out for me for a long time,” he said. “They said, ‘We think you need to go away.’ I said: ‘Look, I can do this myself. And if I don’t succeed, I’ll agree to that.’ ”

So he did not enter a rehab program; instead he did a modified cold-turkey cure with the help of his girlfriend, Jessica Joffe, a writer who has also modeled, most notably in a prominent Banana Republic campaign. “I could have done it alone, but it would have been harder,” Mr. Adams said. “I got some valium, which sounds like cheating, but it really wasn’t.”

As the agony of withdrawal kicked in after a few days, he went out, got drunk and then called Ms. Joffe. She fetched him from the bar and brought him back to the apartment they share. “That was it,” Mr. Adams said. “That was the last time.” He now occasionally attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

With more than a year’s sobriety under his belt, a new album and an open road ahead of him in terms of how he chooses to release his music, Mr. Adams nonetheless continues to dream of a world better able to accommodate his particular brand of unfiltered creativity. It’s evident that a conventional record contract will never satisfy him. It’s even possible that he could end up epitomizing the recording artist of the future: making music available online at will, performing theater-size shows for a devoted core of fans and leaving it up to his audience to decide which of his songs they care to own.

“It’s not, like, ‘He’s over-prolific because he’s wasted,’ ” he explained. “No, man, you haven’t heard anything. You think that’s prolific? That’s just what trickled through. But that’s the whole thing. It’s a marketplace. I wish it was more like a museum of wack ideas.”

Those wack ideas were prominently on display at Electric Lady as Mr. Adams grew distracted while working on “Easy Tiger.”

“Obviously keeping up with him is a big part of the job,” said Jamie Candiloro, who produced the album. Mr. Adams was preparing to record his guitar part for “Locust Pocus,” a song he’d written minutes earlier for “Numb Chunks” (or maybe it’s “Gnome Chunks”?), a fake-metal album he’d conceived a few minutes before that.

Mr. Adams, Mr. Candiloro and the drummer Brad Pemberton had been listening to the background vocal Sheryl Crow had recorded for the ballad “Two.” Mr. Adams had first been enthusiastic and obsessive during the playback (“God, she can sing. Take my vocal down, and bring hers up”), then restless, then bored. As he listened over and over, he drew a caricature of himself holding an acoustic guitar and singing lyrics that parody the song’s aching chorus. The caption read, “Blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine/It takes two when it used to take one.”

It was midafternoon, at least two hours before rehearsals at another studio. By Mr. Adams’s standards, that’s easily enough time to get a couple of new songs written and recorded.

As Mr. Candiloro adjusted settings at the console, Mr. Adams stood at the microphone, played a blistering riff and screeched a placeholder vocal: “This is where the verse is gonna go/And it’s gonna be emo.” He came back into the control booth, wrote the song’s actual lyrics (“I am the wizard ... . The world is at your command”), recorded the vocal and the song was done. On to the next one: “Cobra Kadabra.”

A week after the conversation on the roof of Electric Lady, Mr. Adams vanished from a rehearsal minutes before a reporter was set to arrive for an interview. No one could locate him, and he never reappeared.

While par for the course a couple of years ago, this is precisely the sort of thing the new, improved Mr. Adams is supposed to have grown out of. A few days later at his apartment in a Greenwich Village brownstone, he is, if not apologetic, at least at pains to manufacture some sort of comprehensible excuse, an effort at which he pathetically fails. Yawning between manic bursts of words, he was clearly uncomfortable. “All these different lines of communication got messed up,” he said sheepishly.

When Ms. Joffe entered the room, he brightened. “I met someone who has become my closest friend,” he had said of her earlier. “She’s nothing like me — two different worlds. She’s a person rooted in reason. Imagine that. She’s very kind.” She said she had gotten sober a short time before Mr. Adams did. “It sounds so cheesy, but we have these miniature A.A. meetings with each other,” said Ms. Joffe, who agreed to discuss their relationship at his request.

In jeans and a black top that she fiddled with constantly, Ms. Joffe struggled in a perfectly enunciated British accent to find the terms in which to encapsulate their relationship. Mr. Adams, meanwhile, repeatedly left and re-entered the room, flattered and teased her and succeeded in derailing her train of thought.

“We went from being Sid and Nancy ...,” Ms. Joffe began at one point, alluding to one of punk’s most famous doomed couples.

“Not that cool,” Mr. Adams insisted.

“No, darling, not that cool,” Ms. Joffe agreed, laughing. “More like, a low-rent, mall version of Sid and Nancy. Or, like, romanticizing that sort of debauchery and excess. At least for me there was a weird aesthetic enjoyment of it. Then we flipped it over 180 degrees.”

Mr. Adams said: “We were holding each other together. Or should I say you got me through it? It was sweet, even though it was messed up. But we had skills.”

Ms. Joffe acknowledged, “Toward the end it was getting a little worrying.”

“Everybody says that!” Mr. Adams declared in cheerful frustration, the prospect of his own demise having become, at least for the moment, merely a punch line.
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Old 06-17-2007, 02:23 PM   #137
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i read that yesterday, crazy stuff
glad to know he took the difficult but better choice of getting sober, i wish him the best.

also, i hope the talk of the boxset is true
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Old 06-17-2007, 03:12 PM   #138
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I'm on about the third listen through and really enjoying it. It's like Heartbreaker meets Cold Roses, with the occasional rawk song like "Halloween Head." I don't anything will ever replace Cold Roses as my favorite Adams album, but I do think this is close. It's definitely more consistent than anything else of his, including the aforementioned Heartbreaker. I think the running time of 40 minutes helps out, too.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:29 AM   #139
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Quote:
Originally posted by elevation2u
also, i hope the talk of the boxset is true
I swear, that stupid box set has been dangled in front of us for so long that I've completely given up hope, despite these latest stories. I keep joking that I'll release a box set before Ryan does...but I hope I'm wrong.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:40 AM   #140
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I think some were worried that sobriety may hinder Ryan creatively, but it sounds like it's done quite the opposite!!!
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:13 AM   #141
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More dates:

Thu, 07/19/07
07:30 PM Wilshire Theatre Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills, CA Gad Elmaleh - "L'autre C'est Moi"
currently not on sale

Sat, 07/28/07
08:00 PM Orpheum Theatre
Vancouver, BC Ryan Adams
presale begins:
Thu, 06/21/07 12:00 PM
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:32 AM   #142
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I thought the album came out this week, not next week

I'm going to be visiting one of my best friends next week. There's a great little independent music store in his town, so I can pick up this album (along with a big stack of used CDs, I'm sure) and have it to listen to on the drive back.
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Old 06-18-2007, 03:47 PM   #143
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Easy Tiger is now streaming at NME's site:

http://www.nme.com/artists/ryan-adams
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Old 06-18-2007, 03:55 PM   #144
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http://www.kink.fm/pages/131389.php

Scroll down...

Ryan Adams
July 26, 2007 at noon
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Portland, Oregon

~~~

There is also supposed to be a regular show in Portland and one in Seattle. Sounds like he will be at the Aladdin in Portland. Someone called the Moore in Seattle, and they confirmed there will be a show, and tickets go on sale 6/21 at 10:00 a.m.
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Old 06-18-2007, 03:57 PM   #145
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Fri, 07/27/07
08:00 PM Moore Theatre
Seattle, WA Ryan Adams

presale begins:
Thu, 06/21/07 10:00 AM
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:03 PM   #146
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i'm both very excited & very nervous
about the Beverly Hills date
because I'm deathly afraid i won;t get any tickets
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:19 AM   #147
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06.19.2007
New Tour Dates

July 19th – Los Angeles, CA – Wilshire Ebell
On Sale Saturday, June 23rd at 10am

July 24th – Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst
On Sale Wednesday, June 20th
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Old 06-19-2007, 12:57 PM   #148
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http://citypages.com/databank/28/138...577.asp?page=1

In the dark with Ryan Adams
Cedar Cultural Center / June 18, 2007

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals played a low-key set at the Cedar Cultural Center Monday night. At least, I think that was Ryan Adams. Unfortunately for those hoping to see the alt.country star live and in person, Adams requested that the Cedar's lights be kept painfully low, making it difficult to see his face or even where he was on the stage. Adams joked about the lighting throughout the set, peering out from behind his sunglasses and pretending to shoot at the barely-glowing spotlights above the stage.

Accompanied by his backing band, the Cardinals, the group eased into songs at a slow pace, creating a lush, organic country vibe that was punctuated perfectly with a heartbreaking pedal steel twang. Adams sat in line with the rest of the musicians and fidgeted while he sang, unsure of what to do with his hands in absence of his guitar. "I sometimes wish I was in Iron Maiden," Adams joked between songs. "Who could get nervous playing 'Aces High'?"

The musicians worked their way through a nice selection of Adams' range of solo material, including a somber "Winding Wheel" and a particularly transcendent version of "How Do You Keep Love Alive?" At times, the band would slow down to a halt and let Adams wail away on a high note, and it was his most vulnerable, quavering moments that made this close-quarters performance memorable.

It seemed at times that Adams was nervous playing the intimate venue without the aide of alcohol, the universal loosening agent. (Following a reported "extended period of substance abuse" that ended late last year, Adams has come clean, and this was his first major tour sober.) In the end, though, Adams's calmness and outright bashfulness toward the audience was quite endearing, not to mention surprising for those in the audience accustomed to his more raucous stage presence.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Ryan Adams' Gold was on a constant loop in my dormroom freshman year of college, serenading my overly-dramatic, homesick breakdowns.

Random Detail: Local songstress JoAnna James told me her friend described the concert perfectly: "like one big, soothing massage."

By the way: The show was part of a small-venue tour in support of his latest album, Easy Tiger, which is due out June 26.

-Andrea Myers
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:57 PM   #149
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Do you think there's a possibility that between LA's 19th date and Santa Cruz's 24th date, there can be a San Diego date?
i guess it doesn't make sense to go south and right back north to santa cruz, but a San Diego date would make things easier...
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:09 AM   #150
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On Ticketmaster's site...

http://www.ticketmaster.com/ryanadam...k=tm_home_4_f1

...San Diego is listed at the bottom as one of the cities in the "Ryan Adams & The Cardinals fall tour is expected to stop in the following cities" list. I'd say it's definitely a possibility, but I also wouldn't put complete trust in that.

Also, just a reminder that the Santa Cruz pre-sale is today. Here's more info:

July 24th – Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst

Pre-sale Wed., June 20th at 10am PDT

Ticket Link:

http://www.ryanadams.tickets.musicto.../calendar.aspx
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