Friday, February 15, 2019

Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker Leaves Me Heartbroken

My first ever show at the Casbah was Whiskeytown. My iPod had a seemingly endless mix of Ryan Adams' catalog that I made my friends listen to as we drove from California to Texas for SXSW. He doesn't come to San Diego often, but I think I've been to every show he's ever played here. I deeply cherish Ryan Adams' music.

And this week has fully sucked.

I'm a member of a Facebook group called "Ryan Adams Archive." Most of the conversations are obsessive fans arguing about Ryan's best records or people trying to get their hands on every color vinyl issued of a particular record. But this week has been different. First of all, everyone was buzzing about this super annoying podcast wherein two women comedians talk for two hours about their respective relationships with Ryan Adams, without ever saying his name, but detailing his douchiness and manipulation. I'm not saying what they say didn't happen, it's just that they are annoying AF and I listened to all 2+ hours of the damn thing. But then yesterday morning, Ryan was tweeting about the New York Times and eventually, the bomb dropped.

"'Ryan Adams Dangled Success. Women Say They Paid a Price.'
Several women say Adams offered to jumpstart their music careers, then pursued them sexually and in some cases retaliated when they spurned him. He denies the claims." - New York Times

(more after the jump)

It's not surprising. It's an open secret in the music business that stuff he's accused of happens often, perpetrated not just by musicians, but promoters, agents, labels, and through all levels of the industry. I have to agree with Best Coast on this one--
And Ryan specifically is a known asshole in the biz. Discussions about his ego, his mental health, his attitude, his alleged addictions, his erratic behavior, and on and on have been circulating for years. But we loved him anyway. He wrote the words we wish we had. But there has to be a limit. And I think we have reached that limit. At least I have reached that limit.

I don't need to make a big public boycott of things, but I am not the kind of person to separate the artist from the art. I am maybe not as reactive as some people...I don't think what Aziz did comes remotely close to what Louis did, for example, just like articles lumping Ryan Adams' behavior to R Kelly's loses credibility with me. Abuse is unacceptable in all it's forms, but there's a different level of evil with Kelly. And being manipulative and being a gross person aren't necessarily illegal, either.

If you haven't seen all the fallout, here's just a handful of articles covering the whole situation. And even though she isn't mentioned in the NYT, I don't think there's any coincidence that Jenny Lewis dropped a new single, Heads Gonna Roll.

PASTE: Ryan Adams Accused of Sexting a Minor, Emotionally Abusing Multiple Women 

Variety: Ryan Adams’ Album Release Pulled Amid Misconduct Allegations

New York Times: F.B.I. Opens Inquiry Into Ryan Adams’s Explicit Communications With an Underage Fan

NPR: Ryan Adams Accused Of Psychological Manipulation, Professional Retaliation By 7 Women

The Lefsetz Letter: Ryan Adams

Spin: Liz Phair Suggests Her Working Relationship With Ryan Adams Did Not End Well

The Guardian: The Ryan Adams allegations are the tip of an indie-music iceberg

The Telegraph: If Ryan Adams can be ruined by his creepy behaviour, most of rock will go down

The links keep rolling in...

Brooklyn Vegan: Ryan Adams’ guitarist & former tour manager speak out against him following allegations

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