Ryan Adams’ Musical Output Rivaled Only By His Drug Intake

Jun 18th, 2007 // 11 Comments

adamszz.jpgRyan Adams has taken all the steps necessary to ensure that his 326th album, Easy Tiger, is a full-fledged comeback hit: He’s partnered with Starbucks. He’s recruited Sheryl Crow for a duet. And he’s spilled his guts to the New York Times, letting fans know that his erratic behavior of the last few years were due in part to his crazy-even-for-a-rocker drug abuse:

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.”

“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.”

Adams says he went through self-administered detox, and that he’s occasionally going to AA meetings; he also claims that the drugs had nothing to do with the fact that he’s released a new record seemingly every third Wednesday. Such timed-to-release “redemption” stories tend to make one of your Idolators a bit queasy–especially with someone like Adams, who’s always seemed eager to play up his bad-boyness–but here’s hoping that his speedball days are behind him, and he can now get around to reuniting Whiskeytown and/or making a record as good as Heartbreaker.

Ryan Adams Didn’t Die. Now the Work Begins. [NYTimes]

  1. Ned Raggett

    More than anything else I’m kinda amused at Adams trying to be all blase and seen-it-all about drugs around Steve Earle.

  2. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    No more talking about drugs.

    Do as much as you want. Just don’t talk about it.

  3. Chris N.

    Never boast about your drug intake to a man who once smoked crack in front of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  4. xtianrut

    I’m sure Steve was like, “Pussy.”

  5. 30f

    Is this the album entitled “A Million Little Pieces,” or was that the last one?

  6. indiefolkforever

    This would help explain the recent Alice in Chains cover…


  7. drjimmy11

    him and Amy Winehouse should do an album together.

    They could call it “did we mention that we drink and do a lot of drugs and we’re really authentic?”

    Or maybe they should from a supergroup with Kid Rock called “The Posers.”

  8. Barry Lutz

    Ryan Adams has drug problems? That’s odd – he doesn’t really act like it. He seems so well-adjusted. His show in Knoxville last year (and the tantrum he threw at the show and afterward) seemed to me at the time to be the hallmarks of a secure, level-headed performer.

  9. maevro

    Well for his sake, I hope he is still clean. Getting off heroin is the hardest thing I ever had to do and I cannot imagine having all that dispensable cash, access to parties and women and not being too tempted to start using again.

  10. Hyman Decent

    Does he still go apeshit when someone yells “‘Summer of ’69′!” at him?

  11. leevilgenius

    Am I the only one that feels like this is a PR “work”? Self-detox? Adams has always understood the power of the rock n roll myth.

    I’m a longtime Adams fan, but there is something not kosher about his story.

    BTW, if you read the link to the NY Times article Lost Highway prez Luke Lewis claims both the label and Adams made money on his deal. Sorry, no chance Lost Highway has made a dime on this deal.

    Lost Highway spent a king’s ransom promoting him (and indulging his artistic whims). Sales were never there. Adams, OTOH, made enough money to support his heroin and coke habit while foisting increasingly mediocre albums on his adoring fans.

    By the time 29 came out only the most hardcore fans remained. Sales reflected that.

    Giving credit where due, Easy Tiger is a very good album. Easily, his best in years.

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